The Blue Collars Christmas Gig @ Sugarmill 29.12.12

Not a solitary ticket was in sight; Friday night was a shoulder touching, no space available extremely enthusiastic gig. The Rat Race, The Ruby Dukes and Blue Collars left 2012 on a high.

First appearance at Sugarmill, The Rat Race comes out with a difference in set list. An intro has been made for the beginning of their gigs which gives the audience a taste of their punk alternative sound. Covering one of the greatest 1997 Blur tracks, Song 2 showed of their punk pop side. The creativity of Song 2 didn’t quite come across in all aspects of The Rat Races cover.  They also covered garage rock track Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet. They change the sound slightly to punk rock rather than garage rock which show they only want to stick to their sound. Throughout the whole set Grant, front man, showed a real genuine passion for this band, in some parts of his performance his energy got the better of him, this went on to slowly die down his vocal. The Rat Race has a handful of original tracks like; One More Day and It’s My Time. They both have a unique sound which assuming they want but at times the drum becomes overpowering and the same beat is too repetitive. They took a step out of their comfit zone with Psychedelic Nights which touched the psychedelic genre but very vaguely, the structure of the track needs consistency and strength to win the audience over.

The Ruby Dukes had a disaster of a night, amps broke, foot pedals broke and guitars wouldn’t tune. This wasn’t noticeable as they carried on without a glitch. After this performance you can see how well The Ruby Dukes can carry on and entertain with their immense passion and enthusiasm. The Ruby Dukes tracks are similar to Arctic Monkeys with intellectual rhythms and riffs and wryly observational lyrics. The Arctic Monkeys influence doesn’t stop these are a musical Karma sutra, they come at you from all angles. New track Up the Dosage highlights their mixture of musical influence; there were elements of rock beats, indie rock bass, post- punk revival riffs, alternative indie lead guitar and 1960’s mod rock vocals. Their well known Brit-Pop 90’s track, Elephant Dance is still in the set list and gave the set a sing along fragment that the audience love. 2013 already looks good for The Ruby Dukes as they will be support 1975 at The Full Moon.

This was the only 2012 Stoke gig for The Blue Collars. The majority of the audience were there to support them, old and young, they relate to alot of people with their indie standard sound. It became clear that they were well and truly missed by their fans. The chant of, ‘blue blue blue collars’ was echoing around the room most of the night, as well as the lyrics from their tracks. Each one of their tracks had at least half of the room singing along. They kicked into This Old Town and instantly it was reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys, reinforced by Rob Morris accent in his vocals. However, the band’s aggression and frustration looks effortlessly with ease. They have an ongoing theme with their lyrics, it all about booze, lads, night out, relationships and basic life. The lyrics that stood out were in Happy Pills they were melodic, angry and thought provoking. Towards the end of their set the audience were getting rowdy due to the 90s dance, rave type tracks. They ended still looking like they just come on stage, playing a gig is like walking to the shop for this 5 piece.

Lucee Clarke


3’s A Riot Christmas Gig @ Sugarmill 23.12.12

Three bands, all good mates went together and smashed the Sugarmill on Christmas Eve’s Eve.  3’s A Riot, The Motives and Neon Rouge as a group sold out the venue and gave it their last strike of energy to end a successful 2012.

Looking smarter than ever with Jon and Ben in braces and Kieran wearing a fedora, Neon Rouge were looking the business, as said by Radicals Risings own Lee Barber. Their stage presence and stage set up it looks like there were transported from a different era. Every set they do kicks into Beware of the Big Foot which warms the band up and gives the audience an idea of what other creative and innovative sounds will come next.  An older track Not Good Enough gives that early 60s rhythm and blues sound, much like Peter Green a British blues rock artist. Jon Finney since the beginning of the Neon Rouge birth has grown and grown and after his performance he made the majority of the people speechless. It wouldn’t surprise people if this performance this time next year gets seen by millions, hats off Mr Finney. Neon Rouge say, the art is to create an experience and prove in actual fact music is not just music. They proved it exactly right! Have love, Will Travel is a great track to cover. Neon Rouge gave away their garage rock style with a fuzzy guitar, a big driving drum, screaming vocals and the tinkling of the ivories. The excitement in each band members performance was buzzing the audience could tell they were having an awesome time doing what they do best. They have created new tracks that they believed were Bunknall’s finest. Jack Fish again gave away that garage blues sound which gives them a darker side. Front man Kieran Oakes talks about their Hype Chart single – Fitsycuffs having a Grammy and being in top of UK chart 7 times, it shows off their fun personalities with the ironic comment.  Their new single Black Mamba was the star of the show. This track along with the type of snake is dripping venom. As soon as you hear the melody you will never forget it and you will be infected with the sound. It’s amazing how local bands can help each other out; Emily Law from Nuclear Safari added stunning backing vocals to Kieran’s unique vocal. The in depth lyrics and contrast in soothing melody, to full on power topped their 2012 off in full awesomeness. We all ended with the Black Mamba Blues.

The Motives warm the crowd up before they even hit the stage. Their walk on song was rave and that started the mosh pit. Get Out one of their original tracks shows off their genuine indie attitude similar too Alex Turner or even Miles Kane. With this four piece only coming out this year that have gathered a reasonable, appreciated fan base that love them and their music. They are a young band that is still learning. The Motives, as a band, can come across slightly arrogant and overconfident if this carries on it may ruin this indie mainstream loved sound. Alex’s vocals were alot quieter than usually and Will’s confidence and enthusiasm is more of a front man role than Alex. ‘Vacate before it too late’, is their single that is popular with their fans, it’s great to see fans shouting the lyrics back but it was hard to know if The Motives appreciated it. As normal they do their favourite cover, Still Take you Home. It had the sub-genre bass and spiky riffs that appealed instantaneously to punk-minded indie kids after something with true bite – especially after the likes of Keane in the 90s.

As if 3’s A Riot gigs aren’t crazy enough, but it was the last gig before the New Year it was obviously gonna end in some sort of wild way. The band was well and truly in the Christmas spirit. The stereotypical 3’s A Riot indie rock sound has change slightly; Joe and Toby used their foot pedal as much as possible to get the best sound effects to boost the impact of the sound. Each member was energetic and it came across like they were loving every moment of being on the stage for the last time of 2012. 3’s A Riot’s new tracks give them a louder, darker more aggressive edge to indie rock this had begun to push them away from the Arctic Monkeys influence but towards the Led Zeppelin influence. It was great to see Joe, Toby, Dan and Dan playing the older tune I Don’t like Your Tune, it still has the same driven beats and catchy melody and words that people still remember.  They cover Titanium by David Guetta. The electro pop style to this mainstream track was taken away and heavier drums and rock vocals were added, this shows off that 3’s A Riot still have that unique twist to them.  Lose Control went that fanatical there was nearly a stage invasion, this saw the fans at their most extreme.  In The City see’s the fans going absolutely crazy for Lance and his talent for rapping. It has a popular repeated baseline that see’s more enthusiasm come out of the crowd and the band themselves. The foot pedal was at ultimate level which still had the bouncing moshing element. Front man, Joe has a friendly personality that is completely different to their music and the mosh pit; he interacts with the audience and gave them competition. It was battle of the choir during their last track Not Going Home Tonight. It all ended with the biggest Christmassy atmosphere ever, each band that played jumped on stage singing that well known Christmas track by Slade, its Christmas, vibrated through the Sugarmill. It’s lovely to watch bands getting along and sharing their enjoyment together on stage!

Each band have big gigs and big things happening, so watch out in 2013 and see what else Neon Rouge, The Motives and 3’s A Riot come out with.


The Get Alongs @ Sugarmill 21.12.12

Straightaway Staghouse give that stage presence that is similar to those who know of Pulp. They gave that awesome coolness attitude and energy which kept people intrigued all the way through their set. The eccentric funk style kicked off with Four Walls. It had a garage rock sound towards it which saw Adam’s vocals go low and the eerie guitar riffs and heavy beats taking control. Cheer Up Jefford shows off their original, quirky melodies mixed with the creative lyrics with Adam’s garage rock vocal. Covering Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra flaunts their influences that come from the 60’s era. They create both covers with aggressive power and twist giving them their own unique style. Rapid track Cherry B was the track that got the crowd going and in all honestly the crowd was pleasing to all bands that night. It was an enjoyable set and it’s been a long time since Staghouse have gigged hopefully they will stay hot in the local scene for 2013.

Originality hits you straight away with Faux Feet and the female singer. Sian’s voice is one to remember as well as her confidence and connection on stage. The talent the band have as a whole is incredible. The build ups and dramatic endings are worth all the time to watch and witness.  Down, shows off the solid catchy choruses that they create. The break down at the end of Down is the highlight of the track; it leaves the audience wanting more.  Battleships gave an idea of the lads talent, the addictive bass, riffs and beats were all fitted together perfectly for a solid background for Sian. These deserve more recognition than they are given.

The Control were representing Scrooge that night and Scrooge they were all night. The image of this band is a bit all over the place, it seems the lead vocalist attitude is a similar attitude a rapper or hip hop artist would have. They genuinely have some good tracks that get their crowd going and creating a mental mosh pit which could be imagined as their greatest dream. Jackpot Head gives away their punk feel of a band with resounding choruses and lyrics that were often shouted instead of sung in a conventional sense, particularly in hardcore styles that The Control produce.

‘We are the Mod’s’ was the chant of the night. The Get Alongs bring along not only their selves but Stoke Mod’s too. Shane was suited and booted for his Christmas spectacular and that didn’t stop his bouncing around, it’s like he saves the energy for months till the moment comes! There was sweat patches, sweaty hair just a quarter the way through, he deserved a well earned sleep afterwards! The quirky lyrics in every song make the gig worth watching. Throughout their last headline of 2012 it came across that front man Shane Davis came across Libertines –EST; mix between indie rock and 1977 style punk rock says it all. Not only was this the last gig for 2012 it was the finally gig for drummer Daniel Aubrey forever, he’s given The Get Alongs addictive beats and a solid persistent background. As always they sing the Stoke City chant and do a cover of Bird is the Word, it gets the crowd even more wild and rowdy than normal. It was nice to see them introducing a new track, Stoke Mods Galore. You could hear the mod genre beats and again that Pete Doherty vocal and style comes through. Welcome to the Life of Working Class is an old track from The Get Alongs, it have the unusual harmonica solo which adds a unique edge to their stereotypical music genre. Just as you thought you were just going to watch the four lads, the stage invasion started. Stoke Mods jumped in singing through the mic’s, people in fancy masks jumped on. It just shows how much love The Get Alongs get from their fans.


Moral Panics Christmas Headline @ Sugarmill 17.12.12

Last gig of 2012 for jackpot band Sound Casino, newly changed Emilio Pinchi, laid back four piece – Borders and original band Moral Panics.

Sound Casino shred into their last gig of the year with the best performance yet – from a personal point of view. They kick straight into song after song after song without the talking business which suited their style of personality and attitude. Wasp, Haze and Coca Rolla from their EP, ‘It Not What You Bet It’s The Shoes You wear’ were all played. The difference in sound when you see them is incredible. The different layers of effect that were added and the vocal of Sweeny varied from vintage rock and rolls to modern were awesome. Instrumentals were top class to watch, they all, in unison, do what they do best and by the look of them it reflected on the audience that they were enjoying it, making the most of the talent that have to give. Recluse was the highlight of the night and great track to end. It was all acoustic and slightly Noel Gallagher-est. Then it was smoothly built up into a full band, giving an aggressive more powerful impact that built up more energy.

1st and last gig for Emilio; yes I said 1st. It was the 1st gig for his newly formed band. The amount of change Emilio has now live is unreal. It was great seeing him and his amazing talent as he’s been away at LIPA. He came back to Stoke not empty handed and I’m not talking about the new band but we were also treated his new tracks. I Don’t Know You Now was the first, is has his sweet vocal with that added power behind it, the keyboard, bass and drums make such a magnificent difference. Emilio and his band also played some of his older tracks, Slow Down and Sunday Night. They still have the cute melodies and swaying motion that the audience get infected in – in Emilio’s case that should never go it will always keep his quieter sound. To end the set list Emilio had another new track but this time with a funky groove towards it. The mixture of drum patterns and strong baseline gave Emilio and new, refreshing sound! Cannot wait for the inventive sounds he come outs with in 2013.

The summer EP ‘Joy of Living’ has been played a couple of times but after seeing Borders live it’s raised my expectations of them.  Each to Their Own and Joys of living both had that driven sound which changed now and again and it was likeable. Greg Poole has remarkable stage presence and it makes the gig watchable as well as hearing the indie alterative sound. Glitter bomb is the track that Greg vocals really came through. He has a vocal that is distinctive and there wasn’t a breathed note wrong considering the amount of energy he had.  Borders chucked in a brand new track to end. The aggression that was coming out of the drum and guitar was like screams of enthusiasm.

Entering in complete darkness created a mysterious atmosphere as Moral Panics walked on stage. Head banging was constant throughout the gig as their sound has become more aggressive and heavier than before. These are a band that wants to continually keep changing their sound and never stay the exact same, which was shown that night.  Moral Panics have a new member – Andy and it was his first gig with them. The look and confident signal he is the right man for the job as a Moral Panics guitarist. Baseline is significant in making that alternative, indie, heavy pop sound. Tom on bass is great as his energy is mental. The swift change of LMFAO to Move My Feet was effortless. At times it felt like there was too much going on at one time. Their next single will be Voids; straight away you heard the distinguishing vocal of Daniel Johnson. Sometimes the drum can become a bit too heavy for Dan’s vocals, but most of the time it shows that Moral Panic can go down any path way, and be whoever they wanna be. Movement is a key element in a Moral Panics gig. Their new track that was never heard before is one of them movement tracks. It was funky and had a quirky bass riff to it and repeated compelling drum beats.

Six Towns & The Fortunas Christmas Spectacular

The Christmas mood has begun thanks to, three piece, young band – The Current, new-comers – J.D.M and joint headliners The Fortunas and Six Towns.

The youngest band in Stoke’s local music scene were first to open the show, The Current. The seven original tracks they played had a simple baseline that worked together with Chris’s guitar riffs. The talent and confidence Caleb and Chris have together is something to look forward to in the future. The vocal of Chris is the typical indie type voice but he has his own twang to it, which is hard not to love. ‘These Towns’ is their recent single which is popular already. Lyrics were been said, moshing was starting and The Current chanting was taking over. ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ was their cover which, in fact was one that older band Six Towns used to cover. There was no intention of karaoke for these lads they made it their own with spoken lyrics and inventive solo’s. Beats from the drum need more enthusiasm and vivacity to add perfectly with strength of talent from Caleb and Chris.

J.D.M (still unsure that it’s short for) is a new 3 piece rock band. With the entrance of the Orange type amps everyone knew it was gonna be loud. From the first sound to the last J.D.M proved the Sugarmill they have a god gifted sound. Driven beat and enthralling riffs made J.D.M have a successful structure set. Hopefully they are going to release some track and keep spreading their sound.

The sound of The Fortunas is one to adore and never get bored of. ­Elliot’s vocals were difficult to hear but you could still catch the unique twist and distinctive brogue to it. Energy was steaming from these lads as they smashed through each track, locks of hair were flying around and sweat was pouring. There played ‘Count to 3’ an old track which could definitely be put beside a new track and compare the difference of maturity. They play a new song which shows Addison’s guitar skill off in such an immense power that it was a shame The Fortunas left the stage after. 2013 The Fortunas will knock the nail on it head with have the potential to becoming the next big in Stoke.

Foam machine, party poppers, Santa and a new cover. Six Towns went out of 2012 on a sky high scale of rock and roll. Six Towns have that sound that in, say 20 years time, people will still be listening too. The personality and sense of humour of this band is what makes it enjoyable to watch, from Liam’s swag to the friendly banter! Goodbye Led Zeppelin, hello Alex Clare. A complete change in cover but they got the Sugarmill bouncing and everyone singing along. Effects were made to create that indie/ dance impression, it saw a totally different edge to Six Towns and people loved it. ‘For the People’ is a personal favourite. It was former member Jakes track but the current members changed it around and played it exceptionally well. It’s been put off the set list for alot of gigs but honestly the people have missed it. The loved two seconds break down and rise of the overwhelming, intensifying melody was incredible. Michael Tunnicliffe, don’t quit the day job mate. Dressed as Santa in a ripped ‘one size fits all’ Santa suit with a can of Strongbow was not what people were expecting. Slade’s Christmas 1983 track was the Christmas song to end the festive night.