Lucee Clarke interviews Emilio Pinchi

With only 9 days to go for Emilio’s EP launch gig on the 17th I caught up with him for a chat about his new EP.

This five tracked EP is named ‘Popular Myth and Conflict’ it came about whilst Emilio looked through a media book and it all came together. Throughout this EP the songs and the artwork revolve around the theme of popular myths and conflict in everyday life. The artwork is spot on. It’s vibrant colours, cartoon like drawings and block text really give a personality to the EP.  It was mastered by a friend of his Tori McIntyre.

Previous EP ‘Kick Back’ was full of emotion and had a real soft beautiful sound to it so I asked Emilio has his new EP matured in sound, he reply was that its defiantly matured. The first EP was more acoustic this one has more of a band feel towards it. Each track Fireworks, Slow Down, You Said Too Much, Fifteen Thousand Lights and Sunday Night all have an individual story but correspond with the main theme.  He’s known to play each instrument that it heard and in this new EP it’s the same expect his producer helped out on the drums but it’s still the same unique sound which people love.

Whilst writing these passionate lyrics and recording Emilio doesn’t specifically think about influences as such but one that sprung to mind was Elliot Smith a folk punk singer/songwriter in the 80s and 90s. Throughout the interview I learnt that Emilio has a wide range of influences from Noel Gallagher to Enter Shikari. He names Noel Gallagher as the ‘lyrical genius’. Emilio’s enjoys listening to the new albums by Noah and the Whale; his favourite gigs were Enter Shikari and Kings of Leon. His local influence is The Pretty Great Whites. I asked him what gig would you love you have gone in the past, his reply was “Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Nivaria, Foo Fighters first gig and Oasis”.

Emilio had played previous gigs and performed some songs from the EP and he believes that people liked them. At the Oatcake Day Acoustic Session at Yates a member of the audience compared him to James Blunt, was this an insult or compliment?

Emilio is a solo artist and loves it but say in 5 years time when he’s graduated from university he’d love to be in a band. I joke and say “Emilio and His Friends” and his idea was “Emilio’s High Flying…” from this he goes on to talk about how Noel is god and I do agree he is a massive inspiration with his song writing.

I mention the up and coming local festival Hippy Horror where Emilio will be playing first on Sunday. He’s looking forward to the whole experience but looking especially forward to watching 3’s A Riot and The Control. The day before the organiser Rich Buxton said there was fancy dress each day and on Saturday its dead celebrities, Emilio has his sorted – Kurt Cobain. We got  talking about how Hippy Hippy Shake company  makes local music shakes, I asked Emilio if Rich rang him up what flavour he would choose. His reply was banana and maybe chocolate and then in the end it was decided it was going to be banana and coffee.

Emilio had a successful song ‘Set My Sights’ which hit the Radicals Rising Hype Chart. I asked him if any of these new track will manage to sneak in there, his reply was  I really hope so, Sunday Night or Fireworks would be great as they are radio sounding”

If you like the sound of Emilio Pinchi’s EP check him out on the 17th August at the Sugarmill were there is free copies of it and on the 18th it will be on official download. There maybe an appearance on this EP on ITunes and Spotify too.



Lucee Clarke interviews Neon Rouge

New local rock band Neon Rouge let me into their recording studio Summerbanks for a quick chat.

Neon Rouge consists of, Kieran Oakes- singer and rhythm guitars, Jonathan Finney- lead guitar and backing vocals, Conroy Bamford- bassist and Kieran O’Reilly – drums. They formed from Kieran Oakes and Jon being school friends, then Kieran knowing Kieran O’Reilly, then they added Conroy as a guitarist but then he turned in a bassist. The name Neon Rouge came along really random as Kieran Oakes text Jon saying, ‘Neon’ and Jon text back saying, ‘Rouge’ so they put two and two together. I asked if there was any stupid nicknames that have been given, Kieran says about Conroy, “every swear word going.”

These as a quartet are all into the same type of music and have similar influences but go off in their own direction at the same time. Kieran Oakes main influence is Jack White which throughout this chat came apparent he was obsessed with him and he’s also into delta blues. Conroy says The Black Keys are their main influence at the moment then jokingly adds One Direction, well I hope it was a joke anyway. Kieran O’Reilly likes the Arctic Monkeys and Jon says Kasbian.  I asked if they find any local bands as an influence towards them, they seem to really like Fools Paradise and OK Corral. Kieran Oakes says, “If Fools Paradise, want a guitarist to play Set Me Free” this was obviously aimed at Jon. I asked if they would like to support Fools Paradise since there such admirers of them they said “yeah”.

Neon Rouge’s first gig was supporting modern 80’s new wave, alternative, indie band The English at the Underground, they said it went really well considering they didn’t know what to except. They sold all their tickets and they believe that most of the crowd was there to see them. They next gig will be 10th August at the Sugarmill supporting Troops of Mafeking. With 9 days to go they have sold out already, it’s going to be mega for them.

Image too this four piece doesn’t mean as much as the music, Jon says “Kieran cares and Conroy likes his chinos.” They all have different styles to them which I suppose is better than looking like clones.  Overall their favourite clothes shop is Topman but they love a bit of internet shopping too. If there was someone they would love to style them it would be, Kieran Oakes says, “Stella McCartney” and the whole band laugh at him and Jon says, “Alex Turner” which sounds more reasonable.

As most of them were in relationships, I asked whether they’d prefer being in with their girlfriend or gigging with the lads, they hesitated whether to answer as Kieran Oakes was scared he may get a slap but then Kieran O’Reilly added their girlfriends would attend the gigs anyway so it doesn’t matter.

Conroy said his dream venue to play would be Britannia Stadium with it being local and Kieran Oakes would love to play at Wembley supporting Jack White. If they were to support anyone past or present Kieran O’Reilly would choose The White Stripes and I think they all agreed they’d love to support The Beatles. If they were to play at Wembley their dressing room would have to included, “Beer for us and water for Johnny” Conroy says and Kieran Oakes adds, “Jaffa Cakes”.

They have in the making two EP’s titled, ‘The Element Neon Edition’ and ‘The Colour Rouge Edition’. They have a similar sound but ‘The Colour Rouge Edition’ has a much harder sound with INZIO opening it and a new song ending, ‘The Element Neon Edition’. They have made the songs have a mix of mainstream chorus and they hope that both EP’s will be released in September. Jon adds that they wanted to make a LP by putting the two EP together but that will be next year sometime, so keep your eyes peeled. I asked them if they would like an EP launch and Kieran Oakes said, “Launch is a strong word init” but you never know they might be some sort of EP releasing gig in September.

They thank their fans for supporting and people who come along to the gigs and help them sell the gigs out.

What’s their favourite cheese?
Kieran Oakes “Babybell”
Conroy “Mozzarella”
Jon “Dairylea Dunkers”
Kieran O’Reilly “Dairylea Dunkers”
These lads discussed this question in depth and in the end Kieran Oakes and Jon decided they may as well change their name to ‘All the Cheeses’.


Emilio Pinchi EP review.

Emilio Pinchi is back once again this year with another EP, Popular Myth & Conflict. This time with a fresh matured sound and yes Emilio, yet again played each instrument as well as sing like previously in Kick Back. Not only is all 5 tracks utter brilliance but so is the artwork mastered by Tori McIntyre. Its cartoon-like colourful pictures of randomness and block writing sort of create a personality for the EP.

First track Fireworks starts off beautifully acoustic and kicks into the memorable chorus when he repeats “It won’t stop”. Emilio skilfully changes from acoustic to full band throughout the track with the additive, soft drum beat and his loveable vocals you could listen to this track all day without a strike of boredom hitting you.

Slowest, shortest and mellower of the EP Slow Down is crammed with so much emotion. Emilio’s vocals are just so perfectly unique with his melodies which consist of gentle guitar playing. This is a track that will spring a cheeky little smile upon anyone’s face.

The intro to the third track, You Said Too Much has an echo of post-Britpop band Coldplay with the alternative keyboard rock pop sound. The vocals are much more powerful and the repetition of “You said too much” towards the end make you want to join in as a backing signer.

Starting off with his astonishing vocals and guitar, Fifteen Thousand Nights is the fourth track on the EP. Throughout the track we hear the powerful drum beat alongside his voice then when he sings alone with his guitar its complete different but still an amazing sound. The change works smoothly and with the talent we’ve seen from Emilio so far it’s surprising he’s still in Stoke.

Personal favourite is Sunday Night it ends his talented EP perfectly. Each track has its own individual story towards it, this is one is cute, meaningful and it can relate to anyone. The sweet melody gets you toe tapping and the added extras with his vocals top it off. He brings it to an end with “da,da,da” repeated which makes its a loveable track and one to sway along too.

I am full of excitement already for more new tracks to come from this fresh up and coming dude who will be attending LIPA -The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in September.  It really is surprising that Emilio hasn’t played his first headline gig yet but he has it coming up -19th October at Sugarmill! With so much talent in one guy he is one not to forget or overlook.  Popular Myth & Conflict will be out 17th August and on official download 18th August.

By Lucee Clarke

Troops Of Mafeking @ The Sugarmill 10.08.2012

Indie rock and rollers Troops of Mafeking headline the Sugarmill after the previous weekend playing at Y Not Festival with distinctive support from new rock band Neon Rouge, bizarre performers The Black Mirrors and new up and coming indie rock band, Youtha.

First on and the start of the night Neon Rouge created a wild audience. Already clammed together the crowd were almost kissing their feet. With Neon Rouge being new to the music scene people may not have yet caught a glimpse of them or heard the slightest about them;  they consists of Kieran Oakes vocals and rhythms guitar, Jonathan Finney lead guitar, Conroy Bamford bassist and keyboard and Kieran O’Reily drums. This was their first time performing at the Sugarmill and by the positive feedback and was thrown about and looking around the room it won’t be their last. It all starts with a best friend hug by front man Kieran and Jonathan and they kick into ‘INIZIO’. The power of the keyboard and tambourine puts that unique more modern edge to the stereotypical rock music genre. There was a continuous chant of “Neon Rouge na na na” between each song, by the volume of them they sounded like they have a large appreciative audience. ‘Not Good Enough’ saw the bass and rhythm guitar make an appearance.  It was understandable now why they find local band Fools Paradise an influence as it has mod type similarities.  With the memorable chorus in ‘DORS’ heard the audience echoing the repetitive lyrics.  Jonathan’s guitar solos stood out as exceptionally, all eye were focus upon him and his talent.  I didn’t attend Neon Rouge debut gig but what I do know is that nothing hasn’t changed or gone, especially front man Kieran’s hat, good luck item maybe? They gave the audience a taste of a new track ‘FISTY CUFFS’ that may appear on one of the September EP’s. It gives Neon Rouge a heavier and more instrumental sound to normal.  ‘Kinda Feeling’ brought out Kieran’s mod rock vocals that Stoke seems to be drowning in recently. Throughout their set it was clear that Neon Rouge have sat down and thought about what sound they want to make and it’s a sound that whoever you are will get you moving in some way or another. They complete with a cover from The Sonics ‘Have Love will Travel’ which gave them a garage rock sound.

The Black Mirrors, a band one in a million already in Stoke and there still pretty new and fresh. They have so much confidence in their sound and performances. They kick straight into ‘Blood’ six minutes long and not one bit boring. Mark Mason has that one unique voice that’s hard to and tonight his vocals were immense. As well as having an unusual voice he is an unusual performer which gave the audience a remarkable eccentric show to watch.  The electric and eerie bluesy guitar sound is essential in The Black Mirror’s tracks but it really makes a show in ‘Strange Melodies’. The clever drum patterns fit perfectly with the mystery of the ominous meaning lyrics. It’s all come to an end for Joe Peers the bassist but I don’t think the unruly powerful heavy sound will be leaving the band with him. The crowd stood in astonishment and admiration watching Joe as he earned the title of performer of the night. ‘Fever Noir’ is the track that shows Mark at his vocal best and Paul’s powerful riffs that lead him towards pulling off a mind-blowing guitar solo. The final song of their set was ‘The Worm’ which heard Tom at his best with the powerful and forceful beat. The backing vocals from Paul put that old rock and roll stamp on the performance.

Another new addition to Stoke’s music scene is Youtha consisting of; Stuart Whiston – vocals & guitar, Mike Lo Bosco – lead guitar, Darren Edwards – bass and Matthew Jones – drums. From start to finish they kept the attention of the audience and all eyes were focused solely on them. ‘Drop the Weapon’ and ‘Time is Right’ shows that this fresh young band are capable of producing additive melodies that made movement infectious throughout Sugarmill. You will find ‘Time Is Right’ will be on their up and coming EP as well as, Black and Blue’ their newest track which is a personally favourite. Its strong bass beats, the amount of energy released from each member was immense and the emotional old English indie rock type lyrics tick all boxes of being an awesome track. ‘Runaway’ gave a hint they may be influenced by The Kooks with the indie rock melody and simple but captivating vocals. Throughout their whole set there is definitely massive talent that will be recognised soon.

They say ‘loud’ on facebook. This is true. Troops of Mafeking are loud. Straight away the energy was bouncing from wall to wall. ‘Captain Cashmere’ started their set off and it was odd not to be moving in some way as the mega energy from Josh Jones the drummer brushed off on everyone. ‘Behaviour Song’ had no behaviour associated with it. It gave the Sugarmill an overdose of boisterous mayhem with its riveting metal hooks and immense bass sound. “Shed some control” front man, Samuel Woolley says whilst kicking into ‘Control’ the band were rocking out in unison probably wasn’t rehearsed like that. This alternative quartet really showed the audience how loud music can be and how energetic you can make it. ‘D.I.S.C.O’ gave that essence of Foo Fighters with the scream, rock like vocals and complicated impressive guitar solo from Scott. As they bring their raucous rock energy to an end with ‘Broken’ it lifts all heads of shoulders as they deliver a Nirvana type sound with their high intensity instrumentals. 

Oatcake Day 3 @ Sugarmill 08.08.2012

Oatcake day returned for the third year at The Sugarmill 8th August with Essex boys The Promise, harsh pop rock band Breaking Satellites, flamboyant performers Paper Tigers and the return for the one and only appearance this year at their 350th gig, Friends of Ken.

All the way from Essex that day, 5 piece rock band The Promise kicked the night off with ‘Star Stuck’. I didn’t expect them to make a massive noise but they did. With rock influences it leads them to anthemic choruses and a powerful, mesmerising sound. Harmonies were added in ‘Get Me Up’ and it was sincerely pleasing as their vocals are more in the genre of pop but it was a unique smash hit. Last time they were in Stoke they played at Stoke Live 2012 and that’s where the majority audience were from. It was a specific audience with young teen girl who seemed to craze over them as they have a mainstream boy band exterior.  With the story telling lyrics in ‘Not Bad for a Thursday’ highlighted an influence of theirs- The Script. With the cover of pop track ‘Lazy Song’ by Bruno Mars saw those putting their own original rock twist to it. ‘Beating Hearts’ their single from latest EP, ‘Songs to Write Home About’ is one to look out for. The powerful chorus and passionate lyrics show this band at their full potential of the night. The Promise gave the audience something mega to watch as the guitarist Chris Nash and Colin Jones gave the band that rock personality with vibrant energy.

They certainly deafened the presence of the Sugarmill. Breaking Satellites entered with a smashing intro and electric energy. There was a repeated drum beat throughout the intro it was like the beat was drowning inside you and going towards your toes. ‘Take a Flight’ was like musical knife stab that hits you with its additive melody. ‘Bang Tidy’ showed the full potential of lead vocalist Matt’s screaming, shouting vocals. It seemed that amps were on full blast and the drum beat wasn’t given a fair advantage to Matt’s vocals as they were difficult to hear. Throughout the duration of the rest of their set it was apparent that their lyrics were a tad bit cheesy for what seemed a punk rock emo band.

The lads that put an aggressive edge to rock pop music graced the stage as main support. As if the stage isn’t hectic enough with 5 members of Paper Tigers they added  two additions, no not people but Paper Tiger stage props. Two large sized boards were placed either side of drummer Laurence picturing the girl that appears on their promotional material, it gave the sense of professionalism. Kicking straight into ‘Summer on Blossom Street’ grabbed everyone attention and it began the continually, infectious movement. Covering The Killers ‘When You Were Young’ was a brilliant choice for them as they smashed it with their inexpressible energy. Image caress Paper Tigers perform the track their first released, ‘Felt this Before’. Jim Carter’s vocals are suited perfect to the aggressive pop melody and as a member of the audience you could feel the emotion coming out of the lyrics. November is the month for Paper Tigers as their EP ‘Safe in Words’ is released. The single that will come from it is ‘Back to you’. Witnessing it live I can safely say its sounding promising and crammed to its possible limit of talent.

Entering in darkness Friends of Ken were welcomed by thunderous  screams. They kicked straight into ‘Meep Meep’ and ‘Backwards’. Even being together for 14 years they still gather a crowd, there was a varied age range too so they are still being loved even though they only play once a year! It was evident that FOK haven’t lost that passion and eccentric energy whilst performing. FOK covered ‘Holiday Song’ by The Pixies and ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness. Their immense talent  took us on a journey  way back in time to the 80s maybe 90s.  After each magnificent performance there was a sequence of outrageous applauding from the much appreciative audience. Each song whether it was older or newer had a different story to be told – even the cover songs had a story. It was story time with Friends of Ken. Laughter erupted after each story which was a great way of connecting and amusing the audience. If you ever want a conversation to never end, ring Ben McManus up, he’s your man. The last story that was told pulled at every persons heart strings, Ben made it all emotional and meaningful. A true storyteller!
FOK are a band that adore their fans and want the maximum best for them hence why they let fans choose some of the set list. Track ‘Spray My Name’ from their 2009 album ‘il tempo gigante’ gave the Sugarmill that loud punk, rock feel with the quintessential simple bass and guitar sounds. ‘Pockets’ is one of their tracks that gets the audience excited with its rapid melody it gives a FOK that Blink 182 punk pop sound. ‘Dance likes no one’s watching’ heard the audience echoing the unforgettable lyrics and the added layer of backing vocals which work well with this band as they have a female vocalist. It gives me a feel that The Subways could be an influence. They end with the track that makes an appearance on Oatcakes Day’s official album Red or Brown Sauce – ‘NIMBY’. FOK kept each person’s attention from start to finish, it’s awesome to see an old band like this coming back now and again playing too the old and new crowd. An amazing band to see live a truly entertaining evening.  I’d still say after 14 years being together they are still a band to look out for.


Six Towns @ The Sugarmill 03.08.2012

    The gig has been on countdown since it was announced and it’s finally here and what a treat it was. The bands were incredible; Manchurians – The Portlands who grabbed some Stokies into their following, impressive live performers – The Dirty Cheats, the new and no longer unknown –The Clique and of course the stunning Six Towns.

    Kicking the night off was The Portlands. It was their first gig in Stoke and considering the amazing feedback they were getting it won’t be there only one. Their compelling riffs and powerful vocals intrigued the audience to move forward. “Every Word I Sing Is A Lie” is off their EP Nocutilucent. It has a real heavy sound too. This is a band that you can play full blast and it’s not going to hurt your ears. “Three Spaniards” the 2011 single really shows off their magnificent folk rock talent. It’s now understandable why they have so many likes on facebook. Their performance was electric, the bass player Dave Isherwood was head banging and waving his long locks of hair, Max Winnington on drums smashing furiously away and the bounciness of the front man Dook Dootson was immense. Six Towns gave them a thanking shout out, which was well deserved as they started the night of awesomely.

    It’s understandable why The Dirty Cheats were runners up in Live & Unsigned 2012. Their energy was indescribable. They began with ‘Make Believe’ the pop, indie style sound hypnotising the audience to move closer. Not just great performers, The Dirty Cheats did a clever cover of Cameo ‘Word Up’ mixed with one of their own.  It gave that sense of uniqueness and individuality instead of doing karaoke. Amy Collins on keyboard gave their sound a more techno modern feel. Within each track they had essentials which were catchy melodies and captivating choruses. People may think there too cheesy but I think they just missed the too cheesy line, whether the crowd thought this or not they were enthusiastic about them and enjoyed their performance.

Members of The Clique have been in bands previously and gigged but this was their first gig together as newly formed The Clique. It was apparent that this not so unknown band have a massive following, people were shoulder touching and there was no space for movement. All four members were introduced throughout the week as their gig was up and coming, and The Clique are;  Gaz Clay – vocals, Luke Potter – guitarist, Arron Darlington – bass and backing vocals, Ash Clay – drums and back vocals. Entering in complete darkness created the atmosphere that they were anonymous before now. ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’ by Snap was in the background, everyone was bouncing in unison. ‘Do you believe’ gave a real indie vibe to the night and it was evidently the audience’s favourite. With it being their first gig they wanted it to feel intimate so they showed us how they start practise, with a little acoustic set ‘Keep You Waiting’. Showing off what sounds they are capable of producing is a great start for a first gig. It wasn’t staying acoustic for long as they brought their unbelievable dirty, indie, dance talent back which people adored. The set was ended with massive energy and each person was given the heads up that they were staying and the crowd were under no illusion that they were here to stay.

    With a slow, heart beating sound behind them rock and rollers Six Towns take to the stage. Screams echo whilst we see Liam on the keyboard and they start off with ‘Ride’ from their EP ‘Too Young to Die’.  A massive energetic track to start, the repetition of “away” in the chorus makes it a great track for the audience to love and get involved with. Automatically from that track with the solid strong guitar riffs, powerful drum beats and distinctive vocals it was obvious the rest of the night was going to be full of endless talent and enthusiasm. ‘KIA’ showed clearly that they were influenced by past and present musicians; there was an essence of Oasis and Kasabian.  With the impressive chorus you are without doubt not going to forget this rock and roll perfection track, ‘Wasting Away’. Led Zeppelin was an influence that shone for them as they covered ‘Rock’n’roll’. Liam’s front man attitude stood out whilst performing as well as the other lively members. For years Six Towns have been growing in strength each track they have brought out has matured in some way and wowed their fans. ‘Jack the Ripper’ was a little teaser that will be released next year so kept up to date with them. It is sounding like a promising successful single with mesmerizing vocals, massive power and a phenomenal melody. This could be the next rock band to come from Stoke. With the first notes of ‘For the People’ shouts and screams erupt. You think the track sounds good recorded you want to witness it live, it’s exceptional. The melody is one to obsess over, especially with the unique violin sound added to it. The 10 second silence enhances a massive impact for the remainder of the track. This is why they deserved to top the Radicals Rising Hype Chart, not only with ‘For The People’ but for their two previous singles as well. 

Moral Panics EP Review

Moral Panics hit the local music scene with this new EP, filled with new and exciting material as well as a hard hitting re recording of Voids, a previously single from the band. The song itself was already a popular one with MP fans, and this fresh new recording is much more mature and visionary, highlighting the bands progression as artists. There seems to be a new level of both discipline and experimentation in the work of Moral Panics, they have taken a great song and expanded it without actually changing the core of the song which made it what it was originally. Also in this new recording is a fresh energy not previously present, an energy which gives the impression Moral Panics are definitely not playing game but instead they plan on taking the vast amount of potential they have and forcing it down people’s throats.

And very rightly so, too, as along with the brilliant new Voids track – which itself is rebourne with its sound having been packed with a great use of effects – is also two cracking tunes, first of which is Hold/Forever, which kicks in with a drum beat which you help but dance along to as the song progresses, and the bass does nothing but make you want to dance to the song even more. A cunning and attractive guitar riff, as is becoming the trademark from guitarist and vocalist Daniel Johnson further enhances the track and gives it even more of a suggestion that it could be one of those indie classics you request in nightclubs. The vocals in Hold/Forever are stunning, with the backing vocals being harmonised in the right manner and leveled underneath the lead vocal at the just the right peak. The one and only possible issue with Hold/Forever is that the bass and the guitar seem not to flow together as far as the sound effects go; the guitar is soft whilst the bass is raw and edgy. Both great sounds in themselves, of course, but perhaps not wholly perfect as a joint effort.

Breathe kicks in instantly with a soft, uplifting beat, and is a song which lifts Moral Panics into the realm of being able to claim themselves as a band who are on the cusp of something great and having the material to back it up. A great melody throughout the verse, and brilliant bass play from Charlie linking well with Eden’s trance drum beats provide the beginnings of an addictive tune, and then the chorus kicks in and it’s there. It’s addictive. Powerful chord play in the chorus works straight back into an awesome riff to flow back to verse. The bassy breakdown in joined by great synth play before the anticipation is seized and a great vocal range is hit to heighten the coming climax of Breathe, which ends in such a way that a listener is left begging for more. Breathe is a personal favourite from the EP, and EP which suggests Moral Panics are no longer a musical caterpillar, but are now the butterfly that needs to spread its wings and continue their journey away from the musical cocoon of Stoke-on-Trent.

Radical’s Rating – 4/6

Gravities @ The Sugarmill 19.07.2012

Faux Feet. Faux Feet, Faux Feet, Faux Feet. This is a band who’s name must be repeated before its class truly begins to sink in, such is the beauty hidden within every possible element. To new listener who may have somehow chanced upon the band on facebook, it must be quite befuddling trying to uncover the air of mystery surrounding the name, but what is really hard to fathom is how the hell Faux Feet aren’t playing sell out gigs at every possible venue.

Opening to a crowd of easily less than twenty, a crime against music was committed in The Sugarmill this four-piece group of the most talented musicians were not put on a pedestal in celebration for the night. Nevertheless, Faux Feet still took the venue by the scruff of the neck, thrashing out their extravagantly mellow yet rocky an electronic mix and grabbing the crowds attention defiantly. With the new E.P from Faux Feet coinciding almost perfectly with the gig, the band were able to showcase, or rather flaunt their newly recorded material; material which is without doubt of the highest standard, as Sian Matthews proves as she lets herself go in the music and lyric of each and every song. On show at The Sugarmill tonight were the songs from the self entitled EP, with Handlebars going down a storm with the gathering crowd, and ending the set on such a powerful song as Sleep Paralysis did nothing but make the next band a little unsure whether they could actually follow Faux Feet. Not a bad feeling to give off for the opening act of the night. Moving on to the next act as quickly as possible (A review of Faux Feet seems oddly disrespectful, in a strange way; it feels a little like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical being reviewed by Bart Simpson. That’s how good Faux Feet are.)

Rough Twist, hailing from nearby Macclesfield, have a heavy rock set which is fused with two harmonising saxophones. It is easy to think that sounds a little daunting, heavy rock and sax? No no don’t talk crazy, I hear you say. But it works, and it works very well for sure, apart from the unfortunate occasions when the music actually drowned out the sound of the saxophones. Singer Dewi Chappell is enigmatic on stage and the band as a unit work well together and clearly enjoy playing music as much as the crowd enjoy hearing it.

A Plastic Rose, of Belfast seem to have what it takes to go the distance in the music industry. On stage they have a confident swagger, but not like the one we’re all thinking about, yet more like a band who are passionate in what they do an a humble confidence in their ability to perform. Their sound is a clever, cunning style of rock with a hint of romance scattered about each song to leave you wondering why they are not already in your music collection.

Headliners Gravities seem effortless in their set. They take to the stage, and with a cheeky, “you’re going to enjoy this” smirk on his face. And the crowd seem to sense it, too. They are now well gathered at The Sugarmill, not a sell out gig but still a very respectable crowd for a Thursday night gig especially. Gravities are, to look at, a difficult band to work out as fair as their image goes. Ben Forrester, lead guitarist, is, just by his image, the new Slash, and his guitar play backs that up whole heartedly, with his ease of licks and sense of true enjoyment at being on the stage and performing to a crowd which includes friend and big fan Dave Leese of Sworn To Oath. Adam Lowell could easily fit right in with a commercial indie band, but his style on the stage and his natural grace as a performer well and truly rip that formula to pieces. He plays with a pure passion in his eyes, you can feel him letting out his heart and soul in the set, belting out could-be classics such as Pyramids and current single In Darkness There Is Light to a standard which should warrant the band keys to the music scene of Stoke-on-Trent. 2012 has so far been an outstanding year for local music, and Gravities could well end the year on a massive high if this gig has been anything to go by.

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Faux Feet, by Faux Feet

Faux Feet’s self entitled collection opens with Handlebars, a superb track with an intro like a sun rise. With great drum beats and mellow yet energetic guitar work, the unique voice of Sian Matthews is given a foundation of brilliance and the song uses dynamics intelligently, which brings great effect and works flawlessly with the harmonies. This song alone shows why Faux Feet are one of the most underrated bands in not only Stoke-on-Trent but the whole of Staffordshire. Eerie effects used throughout Handlebars takes the song to a different level of brilliance, and this four piece band consisting of Sian Matthews, Carl Howe, Tim Cooke and Tom Harrison continue to impress with Down, another pearl in the musical ocean of Stoke. Addictive melody and harmony in the vocals, backed up with inspired guitar play and powerful beats and heart hitting bass, Down is an energetic song from start to finish which again is backed up with intelligent under currents in its sound. Faux Feet have a strange ability to produce songs that would not sound out of place in a soundtrack or backing music to new indie TV dramas, and Down is again one of these songs. Stood in a venue listening to the four piece belt out this new indie anthemic ‘ballad’ would see any listener taken away and finding themselves to be lost in the music until the sharp climax to the song which brings them ruthlessly from their trance. Sleep Paralysis begins with an eerie yet beautiful intro, flowing gently into its first verse, while the beautiful back-beat continues throughout the song. The lyrics in this song suggest an exposure of emotion with such an air of poetics around it you can almost smell the moment that you only wish you emulate. Even more intelligent use of music and technology in this song, Faux Feet have achieved here the completion of a collection of songs which is close to being flawless and is most definitely one of the finest works of music from Stoke-on-Trent this year.

Radical’s Rating – 5/6


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