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.