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.