The Black Mirrors open The Sugarmill to an unfortunately lack lustre crowd, but Mark Mason was born for the stage and the small crowd are immediately cast under his spell. Guitarist Paul has a slight technical problem during the first song but it is very quickly resolved and it’s business in the passion filled set. The bands’ second song is really eerie and haunting, as you come to expect from this beautifully talented, and still quite new band. Towards the end of the song the four piece go wild, with Paul jumping into the mosh pit area to viciously thrash his guitar in what already seems to be looking like the performance of the year here at The Sugarmill.
The Black Mirrors make full use of vocals, with Mark being joined by both bass and guitar player on several occasions to form song showing strength in depth. Every time I see The Black Mirrors perform, I am taken over by a passionate reminiscence of joy division. Not in their sound, but in their absolute need to stand alone against the mainstream, to be unique and to become iconic to a generation. Mark only adds to this sensation as he stands alone at the front of the stage, gazing out at his audience which he knows is in the palms of his hands tonight.
Closing the set with yet another beautifully crafted, eerie song, Mark really lets himself go on the stage and on the mic, which, prior to the gig, informs me he is well impressed with because of the style of the mic stand being more suitable for a singer than a guitarist, a point well proved throughout the set. Mark throws himself about around the stage, bumping into bass player Stu Hannah and biting his neck as he does so, before falling to the floor on his knees and crying down the mic in a passionate and romanticised manner. What a great end to a great performance.
“Hiya, we’re The Control and we’re gonna play some songs for you. This first one’s called Britain.” And so the show begins. Singer Joe’s simple introduction was powerful enough to mesmerise the still small yet appreciative crowd. The Control play a set as tight as ever, on superb form are these four lads tonight, in front of a crowd far too small compared to what the band deserves. The technical ability of The Control is outstanding, each member being brilliant artists, yet it seems to come so easily for the band, and the sound they give is on a completely new level to most other local bands. Playing in different times and still staying perfectly in time and sync with each other, an attribute very few bands can boast, and yet The Control seem to do it without effort.
Joe plays the set with his shoes off, and asks someone, anyone, in the crowd to get him a beer in. He even has the money on the stage waiting. He then belches, rather impressively down the mic and carries on with the great set.
Headliners Sissy and the Blisters, hailing from Guilford, come to the stage and immediately rip it up. The swagger, in particular from the front man, is not too unlike that of Stoke’s own Mark Mason of The Black Mirrors. Their set, quite unusual and unique, and full of energy was the reason local boys Electroshock Therapy turned up at The Sugarmill for the gig. The unfortunate lack of crowd did not interfere with the bands performance, as they thrashed their way through the set relentlessly full of passion. Certainly a band to keep an ear out for in 2013, Sissy and the Blisters will hopefully be causing more of a riot should Stoke be lucky enough to be visited by the four piece again.