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.

AH

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