Venombase Halloween Ball @ Full Moon 01/11/13

Up and coming female artist Dani kicked off Venombase’s Halloween Ball and initiated what became nothing short of a momentous night. Dani timidly arose to the stage in a blood soaked bridal gown but soon quelled the uncertainty, upon illustrating her forceful and dynamic voice partnered with a gentle and pleasant acoustic guitar, further strengthened by her rife prominence on stage, which could only intensify the emotion of the performance. Dani has a sizeable range of songs; however the most compelling of the set was ‘Anchor’ for its transition between melancholy vocals and uplifting guitar riffs reoccurring frequently throughout the track, which captured the audience due to its gracefulness and passion. With recording backgrounds from Rock to Rap; Dani is a definite if you’re searching for something that stands out, so check out her website for dates soon.

Opening with ‘Cardboard Box’ local soloist Nicola Jayne Chirnside dictated the stage; following through with a confident performance. Nicola Jayne adopts an emotive acoustic sound whilst addressing a folk twist accompanied by a buoyant and authoritative vocal, leaving any requirement for backing instrumentals redundant; personally, I believe this brand of music is finest in its raw form where the qualities of the artist are exposed entirely. ‘Friends Like You’, is an example of how Nicola Jayne’s songs are driven by pure feeling, and backed with the harmonica, it creates a real ambience which you can only admire, making Nicola’s style unmistakable and genuinely unique. Her music is rising in popularity and stretches across the UK and parts of Europe from the release of her EP; ‘Bird in a Cage’, and with a new album in the mix, expect a wave of gigs soon.

The events fancy dress code was certainly taken to heart as the interlude into Suburban Radio’s set was a commanding speech from Bane himself (well, maybe a little bit like Bane); however not even a super villain was going to put a stop to the nights music line up as the 4 piece scurried on stage to the delight of the crowd. Suburban Radio infuse a selection of numerous genres such as Ska, Rock and Indie through their use of swift guitar riffs and James Johnston’s individual and irreplaceable vocal. And whilst ‘Originality’ obliged feet to tap and heads to nod; ‘Step Out’ was the apparent stand out track with its authentic Rock’n’Roll sound merged with spritely traces of folk, suggestive of artists of The Clash’s ilk. Providing a brisk and spirited live show accompanied by a growing catalogue of music, characteristic of their style; Suburban Radio are a one of a kind must see.

On what was to be The Black Mirrors’ last gig as a live band, sparks were quite literally flying as the silhouette of a woman stage bound was illuminated by the streaks of glimmering embers soaring into the audiences vicinity, emitted from the power tool she was fiercely wielding. The Black Mirrors stormed through tracks from their Rorscach Sessions EP such as ‘Fever Noir’ which reverberated and occupied the venue with its menacingly foreboding sound; trademark of the punk trios approach. Their popular single ‘The River’ soon followed and made no mistake in rendering the crowd into outbursts of head banging, displaying why The Black Mirrors’ innovative blend of punk and eerie Rock is so effective. Upon reaching their concluding song, it was appropriate to cover established punk revolutionaries; Iggy and The Stooges with renowned track ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Dog’ as sadness was mutual in the realization that despite their short lived period as a band, this was the end of The Black Mirrors and they will be sorely missed as a pivotal element in Stoke-on-Trent’s local music scene.

The evening overall was extraordinary, and significant praise is given to Venombase Studios for making the night run seamlessly.



The Black Widows and Scott Powell @ The Glebe 29/10/13

On what was a bitterly crisp Tuesday evening, Scott Powell’s warming performance was fitting, the acoustic maestro was first to grace the Glebe, his harmonic and peaceful voice paired with the subdued guitar appeared effortlessly versatile as Scott commenced his set compiled of covers. From The Killers to The Beatles, Scott Powell can reproduce any song with vibrant elegance through his signature approach. However from all the hits, his cover of Coldplay’s record ‘Fix You’ is my personal pick for how he left the base of the song untainted whilst still merging it with a rugged acoustic sound.

Soon following after was country six piece The Black Widows who are developing a relatively large local fan base since releasing debut album; ‘Love & Lust’ earlier this May. And as the headliners got underway they instantaneously became the focal point, exhibiting their abundance of musical flair and oozing stage personality. Through the use of multiple instruments and encompassing elements from various genres, The Black Widows embrace folk and country rock music to its fullest and embody it in their stage prowess. A faultless example of this from the night, and my highlight was ‘Small Town Queen’, which appears sinister in the first verse but then uplifted during the chorus and throughout the rest of the piece, evoking raw emotion from start to finish. The Black Widows gig regularly in Stoke-on-Trent, and have recently gigged at The Eagle Inn in Manchester, so look out for them on their website.