Rocktober @ Sugarmill 26/10/13

In the award winning Sugarmill, a large crowd gathered for the annual ‘Rocktober’ gig, headlined by local big-hitters Blue Origin with support from three of Stoke’s best up and comers.

False Alarm, a local four piece Rock/Punk band, kicked the night off with a solid performance of both original songs, and an awesome cover of Gary Moore’s, Out in the Fields, that really got the crowd going and set the mood for the whole night. Through punchy drums, clean bass lines and crisp, precise guitar work False Alarm left nobody in attendance in any doubt as to their musical prowess and talent as a band. Lone guitarist Dan Blood was the standout, flitting from driving rhythm to excellent lead, delivering clear, note-perfect solos and managing to get over a small error mid-set. The rest of the band were just as good, albeit not as flashy, bringing forth funky bass lines, solid beats and Georgie Brennan’s vocals, which were spot on throughout, to deliver an upbeat rock feel that brought to mind classic era Kim Wilde.

Up next on the night were Breaking Satellites, a five piece Alternative Rock band with a strong following. From the moment they started playing they had the crowd in the palm of their hand and continued to impress throughout their performance. The variation between songs is a marker that puts this band ahead of the rest and works to show off what they can really do, setting them up for a bright future. Matt Capper adeptly combined powerful vocal performance with showmanship, using all of the stage to play conductor and rouse the crowd into frenzy. Like their frontman, the rest of the band was on top form to provide a professional, memorable set that belied their recent eight month hiatus from the gigging scene. The connection between there lent weight to the positive atmosphere being generated by their music and the chemistry between the two guitarists, Michael Braddock and Mike Foxall, as they push the boundaries of their genre, is witnessed by many in attendance.

Dead Audio Saints were given the task of following that and delivered twice over. The crowd, already pumped from the first two acts, ate up their catchy, genre straddling brand of alternative metal. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, they tore through a catalogue of slick, storming songs that got the crowd moving thanks to both the ace musicianship and the easily relatable material on offer. Vocalist Danny Jones seemingly channelled the spirits of Marilyn Manson and Scott Weiland to provide a unique voice over tracks such as Taking Control which brought to mind classic Misfits and Rob Zombie before lurching into an instantly memorable electronic groove that the crowd went wild for. This was an exciting, thrill-ride of a performance from a band that is definitely going places.

Headliners Blue Origin were up next and kicked things off with the brooding ambience of (A) Wake, which made for a chilling yet powerful opening with its haunting piano playing out into the darkness of the room. From entrance to exit, Blue Origin gave a powerhouse performance which had a full Sugarmill moving in unison and enjoying every memorable second. The show was made somewhat more memorable by the announcement that this would be bassist Dan Higgins’ last show with the band, news that was met with appreciative chants from the crowd and praise from his band mates in thanks for his four years with the band. From that point on, the energetic efforts of both band and audience tripled as their twin guitar attack unleashed intricate, catchy harmonies that sat perfectly on top of Tom Eiver’s crazy, precise drumming to create perfectly filled out music for their one of a kind frontman to deliver over. Nick Pilgrim’s vocals were impressive for the whole set. He showed a great stage presence, and even whipped out a harmonica for ‘Blur the Lines’, as Blue Origin thrilled old fans, won many new fans and confirmed their status as the future of hard rock, in Staffordshire and beyond.

Overall, the night was a great success for all concerned as the four bands on show each brought something to different to the table to make it a night of stunning variation that enthralled and entertained all who attended.



Twisted Wheel @ Full Moon 25/10/13

Home-grown, up and coming, talented 4-piece; Pickering White are rapidly mounting popularity since embarking on gigging earlier this year. And as they emerged on stage at The Full Moon, their enticing sound got an eventful night underway. Pickering White integrate a fiercely potent combination of Rock’n’Roll guitar and drum loops countered with Jennifer Pickering’s tranquil, angelic like voice; all this, sprinkled with an undertone of the blues, making apparent the reason for their recent surge in notability within the Stoke-on-Trent area. From the handful of songs performed on the night, my respective pick from the bunch was ‘Keep on Believin’ for its atmospheric vocal which echoed and vibrated throughout the venue, generating a humbling chill in the air. Pickering White have not long ago released EP ‘Bullet To The Sun’ and frequently gig locally, so keep an eye out for Stoke’s very own revolutionary rockers!

The Ruby Dukes were apt support for anticipated headliners Twisted Wheel, as the local indie-rock outfit stormed on stage to a warm welcome from their resident fan base, kicking off an animated 45 minute set. The Ruby Dukes truly master the indie genre by harmonising hard-hitting psychedelic guitar riffs, which vibrate and tremble the foundations of the building; against a commanding but smooth trademark indie vocal, reminiscent of Liam Gallagher. This sound is accompanied by an ever dominant stage presence which exudes their energetic personalities, complemented by an impressive repertoire of songs, however, from all of them; ‘Submarine’ was my undisputed favourite of the evening for its Rock’n’Roll build up and punchy chorus, characteristic of their style. The Ruby Dukes are a real ‘gem’ amongst the rising musical talent of Stoke-on-Trent, delivering a fantastic live performance; and are a definite essential for any indie fan to see.

Opening with ‘Lucy the Castle’ Twisted Wheel rendered The Full Moon quite literally full, appearing on stage under the array of lights they soon heard the full throttle of their Stoke following; with “Wheel” chanted repetitively throughout almost the entirety of the set. ‘Ride’ was played shortly after and proceeded to erupt the crowd into a symphony of clapping and fits of jumping which the Mancunian 4-piece seemed to relish in their energetic performance. Twisted Wheel achieve a sound of indie-rock infused with shades of punk so flawlessly through their robust guitar riffs and Jonny Brown’s iconic voice. Possibly the standout example of this during the course of the night was: ‘We Are Us’ which was my personal highlight of the evening, due to similarities in style you could pick from the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. This for me makes Twisted Wheel an absolute must see and with dates in Crewe, Sheffield, Nottingham and Manchester this forthcoming November and December, not catching them would be a ‘Wheel’ miss.


Vellocet headline Sugarmill 19/10/13

Taking on the old style of Miles Kane and Alex Turner, The Personas open the night full of varied talent.  They have that predictable image, one that tells you the style of music they are. Covering, Lonely Boy by The Black Keys shows the array of genres they can develop. The brutal rockabilly melody was a complete switch around from their bouncing indie riffs. I’d like to see which road; the personas take as a band in the future.

With influences ranging from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Arctic Monkeys and Blink 182, Rebel Attire have their own spin on a genre to music. The bass throughout the set became the strongest element to the band, the indie story telling lyrics fitted well with the simple drum beats and together as Rebel Attire they know what sound they want to create. There single on the Radicals Rising hype chart, Dancing with the Devil was eccentric to see live. The mammoth solo saw Rebel Attire of the stage with applaud from audience.

Malkovich Malkovich, gathered a solid fan base for a band from outside of the local area. By the way they entered the stage, the way they performed, their attitude; Malkovich Malkovich are very nearly of the edge of making it. The strong indie rock vibe that was created continued constantly throughout. Energy was immense; everyone in the Sugarmill loved a bit of Malkovich Malkovich, ones to look out for.

The day had finally arrived, the day Vellocet release Cosmic Blues, a track which Vellocet have been working on for some time now. The experimental element of Vellocet is what makes me speechless. The new music has a bit of that, a bit of this all mixed together to make this melancholic rock and roll disposition into each masterpiece. Follow me down has to be a new favourite of mine. The theme takes on a mysterious Alice in Wonderland style, “Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” , Vellocet have this talent that every note played whether it’s bass, guitar, drum or lap steel guitar,  seems to take care of itself in a perfect sense that amuse the crowd. Forever a treasure, Sahara still has a massive impact on the audience. The reason why everyone was there; Cosmic Blues, the catchy melody and psychedelic, rock and roll virtuoso intelligence makes this track a great audience catcher. Typical Fat Boy Slim cover Right Here Right Now and Prodigy (which Rob from Fool’s Paradise joined) gave an Ibiza nightclub vibe. The vivacity and catchiness everyone loved! “Best band in Stoke on Trent” Rob Deacon howls from the stage to conclude the set.


Logical Drama Debut Recording Reviewed

From the introductory bass riff, it is clear that Logical Drama are a band wanting to push the sounds of Stoke-on-Trent in a new direction, with eerie violin combined wonderfully with electric guitar and catchy drum beat adding to the complexity of ‘Escape From Reality’. The song features some great work on the effects from the vocals, another sure sign that this band know what they are doing and know how they want to sound. ‘Escape From Reality’ is arranged cunningly, something that many bands sometimes struggle with, which highlights the bands abilities as musicians. The song is up there as one of the finest debut tracks to come from Stoke-on-Trent, adding yet another bow to the highly talented new acts heralding from the city. As a debut it is a fantastic start from Logical Drama – once the band begins to mature fully and hone its sound more and more over time and live performances, it’s quite clear that this band is carrying an awful lot of potential, and perhaps the desire to experiment will bring about even better tunes than this initial track from Logical Drama. Definitely watch this space.


Logical Drama can be found here –