Camp Stag support Dry The River @ The Sugarmill 29.10.2012

After playing just one gig since the bands formation, Camp Stag take to the stage once more with immense anticipation, this time at The Sugarmill to support Dry The River. The Mill is almost full before Camp Stag even venture onto the stage – a rare occasion for an opening act, suggesting the brilliance that is Camp Stag has created much hype around the city even after playing only one gig to date.

The intelligent four piece open the set with slow mover Matilda Please, which surprisingly works really well considering the tempo of the tune in relation to it being their opening number. The band are dressed to impress, with the boys kitted out in black shirts and jackets; bassist Chris Wilson has never been seen in The Sugarmill looking so suave. Chris himself seems totally lost in his music, as the band races through the incredible debut single Sirens he is clearly enjoying this moment immensely, even though Chris himself did admit to a slight kick at the start of the song, which wasn’t all that noticeable anyway.

The dynamics of Camp Stag are second to none, and it is evident that time and effort has gone into each song to ensure that listeners are taken on an in depth musical journey, a journey most enjoyable being that of new single When The Lights Come Down, which itself is a song which makes Camp Stag worthy of tonight’s slot. Due to so much equipment having to be kept on the stage of The Sugarmill, Camp Stag were perhaps a little impeded and hindered in their quest to unleash the full intensity of their music, but, going off the feedback of the crowd, which included many members of the local music scene, including Sian Matthews of Faux Feet, Luke Potter of The Clique, Josh Hollingworth of The Ruby Dukes and All The Young’s very own Jack Dooley, proud to watch his dear cousin Rich on the sticks.

Camp Stag’s set is far too short for how amazing their sound is, but perhaps that is their plan – always keep the fans wanting more. And that is certainly something they did at The Sugarmill last night, most will already be eager to see the sophisticated four piece again.

Main support of the night, Arcane Roots look intriguing and their sound backs up the image of the Surrey based three piece. The band play songs from their new album, including new single Resolve, which is played on BBC Radio One at midnight before being made available for a free download at 9am Tuesday morning. Singer Andrew Groves has a nightmare of an evening with his guitars, having to change instruments not once but three times during the course of the set. Somewhat unbelievably, he manages to keep the crowd entertained as he changes guitars and tunes up, with the first guitar being passed down to him from the balcony, and after the third guitar breakage, he resorts to singing solo the song Arcane Roots are about to play, only changing the words within the melody to give the crowd something to laugh about and even applaud as he cunningly passes the time whilst setting up.

Words are a powerful thing. But no words are strong enough to describe the power that is the music of Dry The River. The local music scene was most definitely taught a valuable lesson tonight at The Sugarmill as Dry The River brought their beautifully crafted music to Stoke for the first time. The talents of this band are many leagues above those of our own music scene, but whilst admiring the bands set, I was struck with the thought that after such a progressive year for Stoke-on-Trent’s music scene, the buzz we have created will without a doubt be the foundation for music as amazing as Dry The River. Singing to a packed out Sugarmill completely unplugged and still being able to hear every word of the bands song –  in fact, no, not only could you hear Peter’s beautifully eerie high pitched voice and his band flawless harmonies, but the crowd joined in, singing each word as though the song was some sort of prayer in a cult religion in which everyone present at The Sugarmill was part of. The odd village idiot was present at the gig, as you can only expect, but these football hooligan-esque ‘fans’ were soon put firmly in their place when they mocked bass player Scott, who then proceeded to neck one of the groups Jaggermeisters without hestitation, and then one member of the crowd screaming out that “Dry The River are amazing, don’t listen to them (insert swear words here)”. And right he was, too. Dry The River gave The Sugarmill a performance that will long be remembered by all of those who were present, and with The Foals date already sold out, The Sugarmill are more than living up to their two-year running acclaim of Best Small Venue of the Midlands with NME.


Hippy Horror Festival 2012 Reviewed

Friday, 26th October.

The stage is looking immensely and impressively horrific as the final touches are being made inside the marquee, the spider already has his eye on me before I’ve even begun playing any tunes, and the stage is rammed rather beautifully with pumpkins, no doubt giving the photographers a good challenge for the weekend. As the first of the festival goers begin to roll up, the chilly air simply isn’t enough to dampen the spirits of local music lovers as Sir Richard of Buxton – as named by The Clique – puts on his second big event to follow on from the success of Hippy Haze 2012. This time he is cunningly going for the scare fair, putting on some incredible local acts and going all out to provide great entertainment once again.

The Rat Race open the festival with pure energy and dressed to thrill with lead singer Grant posed as Jimi Hendrix. The band throw in a few cover songs, and their set on the whole suggests The Rat Race are still inexperienced as a band, but with the effect their energy and songs have on the crowd, that experience should soon come.

Richard Buxton was seen to be having a slight panic when he realised The Ruby Dukes were yet to arrive, all was well when guitarist Josh informs the Radial’s Rising team that he they are on their way, “just stuck in traffic.” Fortunately they arrive on time to get themselves on stage give out a load of free Ruby Dukes T-shirts before blasting out some top tunes with great energy, including former Hype Chart number one Elephant Dance. Front man Zak sends the crowd into a bit of a frenzy by calling his fans “beautiful maniacs” and the festival is then treated to an exclusive announcement as the indie rockers tell Hippy Horror that they will be supporting All The Young at The Sugarmill 23rd November.

Fat Mess. What to say about this band. Extravagantly different to say the very least. They stroll on stage fully clad in hotdog costumes and, to prove they are the most controversial act at the festival and indeed the whole city, Fat Mess have a set songs filled with lyrics most other bands would never dare to write about, proving that this secretive super group have the balls to stand alone in the music industry, as well as the craziness to smash pumpkins into pieces by head-butting them. If you haven’t seen Fat Mess live, make sure you do as soon as you possibly can. They will not disappoint, but be warned; they come with an 18 certified set.

All The Best Tapes have the pleasure of following the eye-opening act of Fat Mess, but they come to the festival fully prepared with well crafted songs, bags of energy and a heavy sound. As the first band of the festival to experience a power cut, the band are on hand to carry on entertaining their crowd, with the drummer playing a talented solo in the dark whilst the singer climbs one of the poles which holds up the marquee.

Translucid take to the stage with the crowd getting well geared up for headliners The Get Alongs, and this main support slot is very much justified by the set these psych-rockers give. Stephen Pye makes his first appearance on the stage, with his incredible talents on guitar certainly something worth watching on its own, let alone with the energetic sound of Translucid thrown into the mix.

Hippy Haze headliners The Get Alongs return to headline the first night of Hippy Horror and, as always, they don’t disappoint. Shane Davis is on top front man form as is expected. The boys throw into the mix an old song, Somedays, which, to listen to, sounds like it would not fit into a set by The Get Alongs, but it somehow does, both calming the fans down and getting them geared up for the next action-packed tune from these Libertines-esque rockers. As with the Libertines, The Get Alongs have a strong passion for their hometown, and this is very evident in Shane’s clever riot stirrer, Boothen End Boys. This tune goes down with the crowd better than any other in the set, though this was possibly helped by the band singing Stoke City’s anthem ‘Delilah’, before racing into the song.

Shane not being satisfied with headlining the first night of the festival, he then heads back on stage as the surprise DJ, hosting some great mixes So far so good for Hippy Horror, the only scary things so far are the costumes some of the acts are wearing, but surely there’s worse to come for the Hallowe’en themed festival. Haze

Saturday, 27th October.

With frost on the inside of tents, to say it was a cold and frosty morning would be an understatement, but David Jiminez-Hughes somehow managed to ward his fingers enough to wow the crowd with his sensational performance to open the second day of the festival. David is a unique artist to say the very least and only in certain circles will his talents be recognised. The Hippy Horror crowd, however, hear his set from the campsite and they begin to roll in after being intrigued what the exquisite Spanish music being played.

The Clique turn up dressed to kill in harrowingly cool Hallowe’en attire, and race through energetic songs such as The Wonderer, Do You Believe and All Of The Time. The Clique have the image needed to get somewhere in the commercially ruled world of music, but they keep a firm hold of the stylistic indie rock tunes and swagger – a great recipe for success. On stage at Hippy Horror, as with most gigs, guitarist Luke Potter is completely transformed from the shy guy in the street to the hedonistic, loveable rogue on the stage. Luke is just another ingredient in the cauldron that is a boy band possessing everything but the cheesiness of pop, and after this performance at Hippy Horror, they have very much earned their support slot with Dingus Khan at The Sugarmill next month.

Playing main support of the opening night of the festival clearly not being enough for Stephen Pye, he returns today to front his not-so-side project band, Psyence. Walking on stage to one of the bands big idols, Pond, it’s fairly obvious where these psychedelics pull their inspiration from. Joe Walsh also returns as the Translucid drummer hits the beats with Psyence, romping home some incredible and mind twisting tunes, and the mangoes went down similarly as guitarist Ben and bassist Jamie fling them at each other whilst man-flu battler Stephen rocks out a sweet solo. One of the bands to look out for in the near future, Psyence have proven at Hippy Horror that they are no side project.

Audio Illusion enter the stage fully clad in extravagant costumes and bring to the table of Hippy Horror something completely different with their collection of heavy metal sounds. In what will be a classic moment of the festival, drummer Lee Wheeldon attempts some banter with the crowd by saying something funny, and a member of the crowd then shouts out “That’s why you haven’t got a mic!” Upon which Lee then grabs a mic and attempts to shout a come-back, but his microphone was in fact turned off, which seems to fit perfectly as if it were a sketch from a Laurel and Hardy comedy.

With their E.P launch coming up in just a matter of weeks, Twinkle and the Sluts bring some punk rock to Foxfields and without doubt gather themselves a new group of fans with this strong and tight set. The Stafford based four piece, fronted by female vocalist Twinkle HoneyBush Pert, give a fresh, raw and very much underground sound form a genre that is unfortunately too underground in current times.

Fresh from their headline slot in a new venue in Burslem on Friday night, Chasing Traits turn up to the festival that is Hippy Horror with a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Most notably, or to some, most unnoticeably, as was the cunning stealth involved, was bass player James Taylor opening the set by playing his wireless bass from the back of the marquee, with a lot of people having a surprise when they see him waltzing through the marquee up to the stage.

With a power cut half way through the set, you could have forgiven Troops of Mafeking for being a little down-hearted. But no, instead, when the power kicked back in, the boys kicked back in right in the middle of the song which had unfortunately been cut short. Talk about a great save. Troops of Mafeking have a massive following but are still surprisingly a little unknown in Stoke-on-Trent, which is a shame because they are one of the top bands, full of talent and top lads to go with it.

Well it’s fairly obvious that Emilio Pinchi doesn’t live in Blythe Bridge anymore. The solo acoustic artist arrived just minutes before his set after coming to Hippy Horror from his new home in Liverpool. The amazingly gifted song writer began a new chapter in his musical career after starting his course at LIPA, the world famous Institute for Performing Arts is based in Sir Paul McCartney’s old school and to even get accepted onto the course shows the extreme talent that is Emilio Pinchi. After releasing his second E.P not too long ago, Emilio entertains the crowd with songs from Popular Myths and Conflict, whilst also sneaking in a nice rendition of Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks.Emilio plays through his set sporting a Dirty Slut Clothing T-shirt, a big shout out for Emilio’s friend Andy Gannon who, in his own words, is the “head honcho” of the clothing label.

One band that a lot of people had been waiting anxiously to watch was The Motives, and they arrive on stage with full on swagger to boot. These guys seem to have been flung into the lime light of the local music scene very quickly, and following their slot supporting Underground Heroes with 3’s A Riot, the hype seemed to be well placed, but it at times at Hippy Horror came across like the hype had begun to go to their heads. These guys need to make sure they keep level headed in order to move forward and be the greatly popular band they could be. During their set at Hippy Horror, The Motives are hit with a power cut which luckily doesn’t last too long, and they squeeze into the set a couple of covers, one being from Arctic Monkeys, bringing in their own rapper dressed as Spiderman, and one from Kasabian, which has a number of errors in. The Motives have proven they have the talent, now they need to make sure they don’t sit on the local popularity they have built up.

Moral Panics began their set fifteen minutes late due to technical problems, but the quality of the bands set, including the very effective intro, made the worth all the while. MozPaz play the festival with a new bassist, who will officially join the band after their next gig, and the band turn into party rockers with a sneaky rendition of LMFAO. Front man  Dan then takes a photograph of the crowd before unleashing Voids and ending the set with Hold/Forever, with the crowd going mental for both songs, causing the stir of the festival so far.

Time for some more psychedelic music now with the sweet, sweet music of Electroshock Therapy. These passionate boys are adamant in their creativity and will not allow anything to come between them and their music, and this shows in the set as they race through songs from their debut E.P and a couple of new lovelies thrown into the mix for good measure. Tom Lockett, with his trademark crazy, hippy sounds from his Theremin, brings the festival into a new light and no doubt he secretly wishes with everything he has that the good people of Stoke-on-Trent will finally begin to appreciate the talent that is Electroshock Therapy.

As the sun fell during Electroshock’s performance, the night grew in with a fierce chill, but it was all warm and sunshine in the marquee after a great day of music, and it was about to get taken to a new height by MTV Award hopefuls Six Towns. The recently turned four-piece have completely re-arranged their set and have somehow managed to provide the crowd with an even more powerful sound than ever, throwing in a few covers as well as songs that got them put up for the MTV Unsigned 2013 award. Front man Liam O’Brien is on superb form, while the bands skeleton costumes making sure Six Towns still have a good image on stage even in fancy dress. Ending the set with new song Asylum, Six Towns give the Hippy Horror Festival goers plenty of reasons to get voting for them.

Time for a lesson in true rock ‘n’ roll now from Dirt Box Disco. The marquee was now rammed in eager anticipation for 3’s A Riot, and chants for the young four piece had already began, but Dirt Box Disco shunned them aside with ease as they burped down the mics, smashed up the Hallowe’en decorations and showed Hippy Horror what real rock and roll sounds and looks like. Dressed rather hectically random, Dirt Box Disco probably grab the award for strangest costumes.

Possibly not as strangely dressed, but still very harrowing, 3’s A Riot take to the stage to Faithless’ Insomnia wearing eerie white ‘painter’ outfits with hoods to further enhance the experience. 3’s A Riot have been looking forward to this gig for some time now and it showed tonight as they raced away with the crowds heartbeats, throwing in a few old tunes like ‘I Don’t Like Your Tune’ and slipping the crowd a great and very energetic cover of Titanium, during which drummer Dan has to change drumsticks which falters the bands tightness for a second or two. Rapper Lance joins the boys on stage once again, who then hangs around to end the 3’s A Riot set with new single and current Hype Chart number one Lose Control, during which the crowd, as ever, really do lose control. 3’s A Riot give Hippy Horror the mosh pit they had promised, and this time Richard Buxton isn’t left fearing for his life. Smiles all around.

Dressed as mummies, headliners The Control take their place on the stage in front of a crowd which has slightly depleted after 3’s A Riot, which is a massive shame as The Control give a performance to prove that they are still the most artistic and unique ban in Stoke. Joe Brennan-Hulme thrashes out lyrics such as “I spent all this money on flowers for the cemetery” which give a harrowingly expressive insight to the mind that is The Control’s front man and also subtly exhibit Joe as a highly talented poet and not just a front man.

After a great set from The Control, Jo-ee-T brings his Apple mac and sweet tunes to the Hippy Horror Festival and takes the crowd on a perfectly fitting journey through love and peace and beautiful music you can’t help but dance to. After 3’s A Riot were caught dancing on the stage by Richard Buxton, the boys continued to dance the night away with the rest of the festival. Once Joey had finished his top-drawer set, the marquee quickly emptied, the cold beginning to get to much now for the Hippy Horror faithful. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the originally planned camp fire had to be cancelled, but there was a feeling that most of the festival goers weren’t disheartened but quite possibly glad to huddle into their tents and drink the night away and look forward to more great local music in the morning.

Sunday, 28th October.

After the fiery ending to last night’s music, with 3’s A Riot taking the biggest crowd of the festival and The Control putting in a performance beyond the capacity of most people’s minds, Jim McShee took to the stage on this final day of Hippy Horror to welcome in the day. His set was warming as always, playing his trademark bluegrass on his Epiphone acoustic. Jim admits to not being the best dressed artist of the festival as he was at Hipp Haze, but his music more than made up for that, playing song that will feature on his new album which he is currently working on. Jim covers a song by Steve Earl who is very obviously a massive inspiration to our local blues legend.

Nicola Jayne took to the stage in frighteningly alarming fashion, kicking in with her acoustic beats on the back end of a well thought out intro piece. Songs from Nicola’s debut E.P featured greatly in this set, with the solo artist dressed in black and mask very in keeping with the weekend’s theme. Nicola plugged the Open Mic finals she is currently in, and rightly so judging by this lively set.

Dave Hannah adds himself to the list of artists to be returning to Richard Buxton’s ‘Hippy’ festival, after playing Hippy Haze with Pretty Great Whites. But this time there are no sharks to be seen, but rather two acoustic fellows known as The Alucinors. Dave, along with Jake Kimberley, perform a great duo set and prove that Richard’s choice to add The Alucinors to the line-up was a smart move. They play in perfect vocal harmony and play catchy tunes including songs from their debut E.P and an exceptional and emotional rendition of The Beatles’ ‘I’ve just seen a face’.

First full band of the day Proud Proud People start their set late after the band are short of certain equipment and things aren’t made any better when one of the guitar amps decides the weather is too cold and doesn’t want to play. Once everything was sorted, however, the band play a beautiful folk-esque set with a rocky twist, featuring trumpet and saxophone, and a vocalist who could be mistaking for The Editors singer in sound. The set is unfortunately cut short due to the technical problems, which was a genuine shame in the end as Proud Proud People played a stunning set.

Moving from Sandbach based Proud Proud People to Stone now, as Lost Scenes take to the stage. Boasting one of the highest ‘like’ accounts on Facebook, this band proved that they know what they are doing by ploughing through an amazing set full of indie classics in the making. Though the crowd was unfortunately lacking a little at this time, the Hippy Horror faithful were given a set worth watching to follow on from the great selection that had been seen already. Considering lead singer Daryl Latham is also working on some solo work on the side, this band are clearly still well rehearsed and fully deserved their slot at the Hippy Horror Festival.

Back to local lads now in the form of relatively new band Neon Rouge. A lot of hype has been surrounding this band since their debut at The Underground back in July, and for such a young band they have confidence to boot and a stylish, addictive sound to back it up. During the set Neon Rouge debut new song, Black Mamba, which is to feature on the bands next E.P. The song sounds incredible and could be a late contender to be song of the year in Stoke-on-Trent, but unfortunately front man Kieran Oakes’ acoustic was slightly out of tune. The five piece band are hoping to bring more instruments to their live sets, and if the Hippy Horror performance is anything to go by, the addition of more instruments will only heighten the quality of Neon Rouge and will no doubt make them one of the biggest bands on the local scene in 2013.

Folk hero of the city Aaron Mobberley returns to the Hippy Fest again after his popular performances at Hippy Haze, and this time he has his band with him to bring his recordings to life. Aaron opens his set by playing a few beautiful tracks solo, which he later tells Radical’s Rising he wasn’t happy with as he felt a little out of sorts at the start of his set, but to watch, you really wouldn’t believe this as the songs were all but flawless as you can only expect from Aaron Mobberley. He is then joined on stage by his band, who fill Aaron’s songs with even more quality and leave the people of Hippy Horror questioning why this extremely talented artist is not signed.

They were heralded as the performers of Hippy Haze, but they weren’t happy with that. The Black Mirrors, most notably front man Mark Mason, took performing to a whole new level with their set at Hippy Horror. Even Richard Buxton was left standing open-mouthed as the band tore the stage into pieces. Almost quite literally. Mason was at his all time best, climbing over the drum kit as he wailed through his songs and then removing his white T-shirt to play out the set topless. Joe Tomasso of 3’s A Riot joined Richard Buxton in being gob smacked at witnessing Mark pick up pumpkins from the stage and hurl them into the crowd before leaving the stage and attempting to climb the pole stood next to the crowd barriers. The Black Mirrors will by headlining the Radical’s Rising Presents gig at The Sugarmill 15th November (shameless plug there) and one thinks The Sugarmill might need to take out more insurance.

After such a performance, Sound Casino faced a challenged in keeping the crowd entertained, but they delivered with their fearless indie rock ‘n’ roll hard hitting tunes. Sound Casino launch their new E.P 9th November, and today’s performance at Hippy Horror showcased the quality of the songs that will feature on the record. Front man Sweeney had a hard task in following the crazed performance of Mark Mason, but each singer has his own style and Sweeney brings his to the Sound Casino set brilliantly if perhaps a little withdrawn on the odd occasion throughout the set. Songs such as Haze and Coca Rola, which will be on the new E.P, are songs which could see Sound Casino heading in the right direction on the local music scene, and certainly this performance at Hippy Horror did the boys no harm.

Sound Casino were given an extra song to play in their set as Stafford based Sea Based Turtles were minus a bass player, who was running late. Once the band were fully formed and on stage, they produced a set full of inspired songs very different to all but everything in Stoke. The combination of a ‘normal’ band set –up is enhanced by saxophone and rapping, and the band were enjoying themselves so much they almost had to be wrestled off the stage after going a song over and nearly beginning another.

The crowd suddenly seemed to double as mod-rockers Fools Paradise set up their equipment. The four piece deliver their usual tight performance with passion and vigour, showcasing their set of hard-hitting mod tunes which could easily see the band headline major venue’s should their sound fall on the right ears. Fools Paradise claim they play “raw, honest, REAL music” and this is most definitely what the crowd at Hippy Horror.

The crowd now began to dwindle quite noticeably, perhaps due to the weather taking its toll on the Hippy faithful, but Paper Tigers turn up ready to rock the festival and that’s what they do. After a slight delay for reasons concerning the effects the band want to use during the set, Paper Tigers then launch into an amazing set of brilliantly written tunes such as Back To You and Summer On Blossom Street, songs which are begging to be played in massive venues in front of yearning teenagers. Throwing into the mix a couple of covers to wrap up the show, Paper Tigers finish a set which deserved many more fans.

The same can be said of Dirty Money no5, who easily provide the most spectacular intro piece, using a speech from Pulp Fiction which ends in gun fire leading into the bands first song. Considering the band claim to have practised just twice in six weeks, Dirty Money no5 produce an amazing set, better than any band who practise twice in almost two months. This band is clearly one packed with very talented musicians, and a lead singer Marcus should think about a career in advertising after his gutsy performance plugging the bands upcoming gigs at the end of the set. These guys are always a real pleasure to watch, a pure moment of watching music for the music’s sake, where the music is being played purely for the music’s sake.

Speaking to Dominic Webber before The Hiding Place’s set, he seems surprisingly upbeat about playing in front of a rather small crowd. His reasoning for this being the fact that “Richard Buxton is a f*@#king legend” and he will happily do anything for the Hippy Horror organiser. The Hiding Place take to the stage dancing and are in high spirits considering the crowd and the cold. They blast through a set rammed with Hiding Place classics, and banter in between songs, claiming the mosh pit they had witnessed during one song to be the mentalist they have ever seen. Another band to be playing Hippy Horror who seem to be less appreciated than their music deserves, hopefully 2013 will be a year when music lovers realise The Hiding Place’s talent.

Psychedelic four piece Vellocet take to the stage suave as ever, un-perplexed by the weather and thrash though some brilliant, original tunes. Jordan Gifford has proven he is more than up to the task of taking on the front man roll of this ever changing band, and it seems Vellocet found their groove in good time for the Hippy Horror Festival, and ended their set with a fantastic, energetic cover of Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now.

Sunday’s headliners and final act of Hippy Horror 2012 is The Rivalry. The three piece were joined on stage by several other musicians to add depth and personality to each individual song, and as the set progressed gradually from Madchester styled music to Ibiza club styled, they were joined on stage by Stephen Pye, making his third appearance at the festival after playing great sets with Translucid and Psyence. The crowd were small but energetic and clearly hung around just to see The Rivalry perform, and what a great end to another amazing festival from Sir Richard of Buxton.

Lee Barber, Radical’s Rising.

Breaking Satellites E.P Launch Gig @ The Sugarmill 20.10.2012

Breaking Satellites release their new E.P with this stunning night at The Sugarmill, with support from three well thought out bands. Opening band, All Signs Point Here, seem fresh on the stage, but come across like a pretty new band, playing mostly a set of covers, including Blink 182 and such artists that clearly inspire the band. The singer slips up with his lyrics and he seemed as though he was trying to sound like Blink’s singer for than himself. Front man James Hackley tries to get the crowd as much as he can, and as an opening band that can be a daunting task but he did his best. The sound of the band is raw and unpolished, giving the appearance of a band not much gigged, and the use of covers further enhances this.

Nuclear Safari do a last minute tuning check before jumping into a cool beat. Lead singer Emily is dressed to thrill all in black and her natural stage presence is backed up by the strong and tight sound that the band gives to the crowd. Guitarist Lewie helps himself onto the speakers at the front of the stage and clearly loves being in this band. After two songs, Emily introduces the band, which cunningly links them into their third song, ‘Play For A While’, a well paced, up beat tune full of energy. NS then slow it right down, and Lewie has a few issues making sure his guitar is in tune but he and the band play on as he tunes which is a credit to their professionalism. Throwing in a great little funk number showing off their Red Hot Chilli Peppers inspiration, Nuclear Safari come to the end of their set with bassist George seemingly in his talented element.

Main support of the night Jessie’s Divide are a very well rehearsed band with strikingly good harmonies. After a long time away from the stage, the three piece have returned with venom and a technical ability which is rare in our music scene. Jessie’s Divide are very humble and gracious about the amount of support they have been shown for tonight’s gig and in recent times, and front man Si Ward is very much looking forward to his well earned pint after the energetic set. As the songs roll in the bands confidence rises and rises and they begin to let themselves for more and more with each song, and visibly gear up the eager crowd for Breaking Satellites.

The headline act smash their set into pieces with an explosive entrance and powerful start. Breaking Satellites possess bags of energy on the whole and it’s a wonder they aren’t oozing sweat after the first song. Bassist Brad Booth has a technical problem which then turns into a slightly bigger problem, but almost as soon as this is resolved he finds himself having a pair of knickers thrown at him, which he then proceeds to put on the neck of his bass and plays on with the set with a rather smug grin on his face. The release of this new E.P has been high on the agenda for Breaking Satellites, and romping through songs such as Take Flight and We Are The Chosen prove that the energy that is recorded on the record is silhouetted on stage in this amazing and passionate display of raw, powerful music. Breaking Satellites are seemingly an under rated band which also have a strong and loyal following and this gig has done nothing but impress those who weren’t already die hard fans.  

Emilio Pinchi headlines The Sugarmill 19.20.2012

The Sugarmill on Friday and they were happily bewildered. It was local lad Emilio Pinchi’s very first headline. Supporting was close friend Sally Pepper; the ‘hipster’ likes of Ben Owen and Robbie and signed outstanding act, Jacob Banks.

Winner of, the A Major Prize for Music at her past college, Sally Pepper starts the night off. Sally’s vocals are somewhat powerful but soft and gentle. Having an antagonistic strum on the guitar shows the power she can produce as a solo artist. As most acts that open a gig are generally nervous, Sally illustrates that she surmounted her nerves by taking her beanie hat off which implied she was relieved it was going so well. An inspiring atmosphere was created when she switched from compelling shouts to faint whispers. ‘All hands on Deck’ was the track that was recorded with Emilio. It has that toe tapping melody and elongated lyrics which presents the strength in her vocal. Whilst studying in Liverpool at the uni of LIPA, Sally has written new material and produced a debut EP – Vanity of the Highest Order. ‘Shrks + Wlvs’ is about getting drunk – this could describe the nights and uni life she now lives. In “Live Dangerously”, the title is repeated towards the end and suggests this could be some type of motto for young Pepper. ‘White Knuckle Secrets’ had interesting, exciting and fascinating guitar riffs and it’s no wonder why it’s her favourite track. It looks fun to perform. ‘From The Start’ needs a definite mention. It’s a track which creates goose bumps. The lyrics tell a real story and it happens every day when you lose someone close. Sally certainly gave the Sugarmill their appreciation, not only was her music outstanding but her personality made her more likeable too

Number one in US 1988, Ben Owen and Robbie Sherratt cover ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’. The crowd were soon intoxicated by the creative style and awesome beat they put together.  He kept the rock elements to the song, except the change to acoustic and little twists in his vocals, like changing his distance away from the microphone to vary his folksy rock ranges. Good choice of a cover. Ben has been busy writing new material and I can honestly say that since the last time I saw them 4 months ago, they have matured their sound, lyrics have become more emotional in depth and their creativity have boosted. Guitar and violin has recently become a popular mix the two string instruments have a unique twist, one forceful eerie sound clash with an acoustic melody and bang you have something extraordinary. It’s understandable why Robbie sticks to just playing the violin, he came to the microphone and told a squirrel fact… that’s right, a squirrel fact! It added humour nevertheless. A new track ‘Island of Love’ has a cheery melody that has passionate lyrics, “Your love is a melody, you speak the language of love”. The intensity of Robbie’s violin strings and Ben’s vocal makes this a secure track for people to adore.  1st October saw the release of Ben’s new single ‘Famous’ with its catchy lyrics and captivating beats it’s a successful , good choice for a single. Ben being the human that he is, is donating all money from his single to the Donna Louise charity.

Wow! Jacob Banks. “Watch this Space!” is what it says on his Facebook page and undeniably you need to watch that space. He is way up the scale with the delightful likes of Bon Iver. Quirkiness and the soulfulness of his vocals make Mr Jacob Banks, extremely unique and a magnificence artist to watch. ‘Kids on the corner’ is my favourite, the lyrics are true to his life they get more emotionally as songs go by. Jacob played two covers and both two of my all time favourite tracks, ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. His innocent guitar playing and gentle voice made it like no other artist could have done. Stealing, Dave Leese’s word, “If silk was music, that’s what he would be singing”. As the gig got more intense and more of his talent was unveiling, behind this shy mysterious man from London is a mega musician.

It was the time, the time when Emilio plays his very first headline. After only arriving from Liverpool earlier that day he was tired but excited to play. With his new EP out, Popular Myth and Conflict Emilio played most of his set from there. I can listen over and over to the EP and never get bored. ‘Slow Down’ is crammed with so much emotion, and like in every track he’s recorded, the lyrics tell stories that everyone can relate to. ‘Fireworks’ still sounds great live with him and his guitar, the skill he has on the guitar is one of his tremendous talent, sort of reminds me of Ed Sheeran. Covering ‘Pumped Up Kids’ I thought it was a new track he’d written but it was Foster The People. He changed it to suit him and his style which shows off his potential of becoming that solo artist everyone knows, and everyone knows the words to his songs. The sound difficulties took over and thanks to Sally Pepper who saved the day with her guitar and lead. Emilio was nervous and this must have devastated him, but as it was sorted Emilio’s smile was back and he started again with the new track ‘Invisible Man’. Pinchi will be having new tracks recorded very soon and that’s something alot of people will be enormously excited about. ‘Set my Sights’ is one of Emilio oldest Tracks and it still has that impact it had when it first came out. Sweet, captivating melody which I absolutely love was played in ‘Sunday Night’. Emilio vocals are amazingly unique and it was a ‘get a tissue out’ moments.
With Emilio attending LIPA in Liverpool he won’t be doing alot of Stoke gigs however this headline he owned it. At Hippy Horror he will be playing on Saturday 27th. I, as well as a lot more people, can’t wait for the new recorded tracks Emilio produces.

Dirty Slut Clothing needs a worthy mention, they were placed at the back and they adored the acts that played, especially Emilio as on their Facebook page it says, “Artists we Endorse: Emilio Pinchi”. DSC is local and is an alternative clothing label. They will be also at Hippy Horror and catch them there!

Kadence @ The Full Moon 12.10.2012

The Avenue’s very own Adam Atkinson ventured on stage without his compatriots in front of a bustling Full Moon. With a mix up concerning a holiday, Adam chose not to let down The Full Moon or the crowd and performed a solo set armed with nothing but his trusty guitar. No doubt, being used to playing within the atmospheric conditions of a full band, it must have been a hard task sitting on stage alone and confronting a crowd in such high spirits, but all hats off to Adam Atkinson who gave a gusty performance full of sound covers which are no doubt of inspiration for the band on a whole.

New comers The Disclosure Project open with an instrumental piece, with guitarist and bass player both keeping their backs purposefully to the crowd. They then race into their first full song, which is electric and full of passion. This really doesn’t look or sound like the bands first gig; it comes across very much like they’ve been gigging as The Disclosure Project for 6 years not the actual 6 weeks they’ve been together. They bounce their way through the set, playing Hype Chart song Fuss, which is again full of energy, and structured with a mature tightness too well formed for the bands age.

Lost In Soho is a quality tune, not unlike the music you might have expected to hear from former Libertines bassist John Hassell in his band Yeti. The guitar play is intricate from this talented front man Mark Bailey, who is clearly the main man of the band, providing good lyrics on catchy melodies as well as lead and rhythm guitar. Marks guitar work also works alongside the bass and drum cleverly, with the bass and drum combining well to create interesting bridges and breakdowns in each song. A very exciting debut for The Disclosure Project, the band closes the set with Them Were The Days which completes a great first appearance on the local scene. This band will not be playing support slots for too long.


Headliners Kadence have an energetic sound when they first come on stage, without a doubt, and though the band try to add depth to their sound with backing vocals, work on hitting harmonies could see that depth found with extra effect. After the second song, Kadence have a technical problem with a guitar, but the band cover it up very well by slipping into a quick instrumental which keeps most of the crowd unaware that there is even a problem. The band power on through a set which see’s the buzzing crowd dancing around on the dance floor and very much entertained. Kadence do have a sound which they have clearly worked hard on to stylise and make their own, with songs such as On The Run finding people in the crowd singing along. There is a sound to the set of Kadence which reminds me of an American dad-rock style of music, a style which see the band go far, but could also see them go the other way.

The Hiding Place @ The Full Moon 11.10.2012

“Has anyone got a pick? Paper Tigers everyone, f@#k The Hiding Place.” Jokes highly respected Jim McShee as Damon of Paper Tigers beats The Hiding Place’s Jonny to handing Jim a plectrum. The warm, friendly and fun atmosphere is set up by the end of the first song by Jim, who floats into second song Pray For My Bones Sweet Mary, which will feature on his new record which he hopes to release in the new year. After thrashing through the song like the mellowed, heart pouring blues artist Jim is, he then performs a cover song which fits in perfectly with the set.

Half way though the set Jim seems to feel a tad nervous between two songs perhaps, but his nerves are not in sight as he pours his heart out on his Epiphone six string. During one song McShee does have a slight stumble but he carries on regardless, so well so it could be mistaken as being part of the set. A sense of nervousness is always seeming to be hanging in the air during Jim’s sets, which, if this is the case, would be quite a mystery, as Jim carries talent far richer than many local acts and should burst onto the stage with immense confidence and indeed pride.

A couple of errors going into the final two songs, including forgetting lyrics, an error of which Jim seems more annoyed with than anybody in The Full Moon. Slip up aside, Jim yet again rattled through his set like a true bluegrass artist should.

 Sharks v Bears jump on stage and are clearly very confident. They play a set full of chatting and banter between each song, and the songs themselves are full of tempo and noise. But good noise, organised noise, each song is very well written and each has some sort of hook which keeps the sound of Sharks v Bears in your head. Guitarist Aidan Rossiter seems to be a perfectionist in the tuning of his guitar and perhaps takes a little too long in between each song to tune up, leaving the set looking at times a little disorganised. But the sound he gives the crowd with his guitar all but makes up for it, with great effects used and inspired riffs played. Lights is a top tune, probably the signature song of the bands set. More songs like this one should see the band do well heading into 2013.

Main support band Paper Tigers thrash through their set with precision as always. Summer On Blossom Street is seamless, as is fellow ‘Safe In Words’ song Back To You. The EP’s release has been eagerly anticipated and with only a few weeks to go now until it’s launched, the band have created the perfect set to accompany the EP songs. The Killers’ When You Were Young fits into the set so well it could be mistaken as one of their own, though the lead riff in this song came across as a tad hard to hear. Maybe this was simply due to guitarist Damon using a Les Paul that he has not yet used to.

The feeling that Paper Tigers might not realise just how good they actually are is a worrying one. They are certainly too good to be supporting bands at The Full Moon, even bands as good as The Hiding Place. Paper Tigers are now forming trademark moves in their song, further stamping Paper Tigers in the heart of every tune they unleash. The climatic kick of the snare before racing into a chorus. The clever use of vocal harmonics. Jim Carter as lead singer is more of a front man than he ever was, giving a performance and having confidence when interacting with the crowd. It’s all there now from Paper Tigers. These guys need to leave the nest of Stoke-on-Trent and spread their wings before they miss their chance.

In front of a crowd that had dramatically depleted from that present for Paper Tigers, The Hiding Place take to the stage without fear or even acknowledgement of such a fact.  After one strike the guys hit straight into a lifting drum beat accompanied by a sturdy, hard-core-esque vocal with both an immense and intense amount of energy to back it all up from the very first hurdle. Shaggy looking front man Dominic Webber joins the crowd before any hint of chorus or meaning behind lyric, crying out amongst a static 20 people like they were 1000. In Perfect company to the strong, hard-hitting sound the 5-piece boast, a piercing, screaming backing vocal comes from guitarist Jonny Wood throughout, oozing both charm and sweat in equal measure.

A set topped to the brim with intelligent dynamics, tight links and songs to oppose even the best in their field, The Hiding Place continue to hammer their way through a ferocious and beautiful set. After loosening up the audience and having laid out early on exactly what it was they were all about, bodies were moving involuntarily, arms were in the air, and words were screamed straight back at the band, And Rightly so. A fatigued looking Joe Barber shakes into the last song to conclude what had been a great night for an often forgot about genre of music not only in this city but throughout the country.  Front man Dom was once again back in the crowd bellowing his all into the mic and moshing along with an attentive crowd below stage level. Meanwhile, the band continue to tear apart the stage and a relatively motionless Guitarist Phil Ward pounds his guitar to create a sound that is one day destined to cause a stir nationwide.

Whether or not The Hiding Place is your type of music, or preferable taste in visuals on or off stage, their passion for music and for what they do shines straight through from the first to the very last beat. There is a lesson to be learnt from them no matter what kind of musician you are or want to be and that lesson is not only how to do it, but how to do it right. And if you’re not a musician it’s not going to matter either way because it’s guaranteed to blow you quite literally, away.