There’s a lot you can buy with £5. A pint, a reduced CD, a cup of coffee. A bunch of flowers for the one you love. But on Saturday night, £5 bought me a seat at The MET in Stafford to see The Taskers launch their brand new album titled Pleasure Point, with a little help from their friends.
Wilcox:Hulse kicked the night off excellently, with a laid back ‘folk and roll’ infused set. Opening with ‘From The top Down’, a song carried by the warmth of the acoustic guitar, and the ever growing need to tap your foot, Wilcox:Hulse were the best choice to begin proceedings. Along with songs like ‘Upon’, a song about Stoke-on-Trent, ‘Coming Back’ and ‘The Year Of ’42’, the acoustic duo appeared to be entirely immersed in every word they sang, and every chord they played.
Next to take to the stage was Sons of Clogger, a four piece folk rock punk and bit of everything band. Playing songs such as The Bearded Lady, The Ventriloquist and King Of The Gypsies, Sons of Clogger put a big slice of personality into all aspects of their performance. I could tell this was a good set, just by looking at the clapping, cheering and stamping of feet from the audience. The four piece from Stoke-on-Trent ended their lively, dancey slot amongst an evening of fantastic musical madness with Get Yourself Off Home, which contained equal amounts of the obscurity and enthusiasm they began with.
With every audience member left walking on the ceiling after Sons Of Clogger’s fast paced fusion of fantastic songs, it was Gavin Osborn who had the job of bringing everyone back down to their seats. To the untrained eye, which included every member of The MET’s audience, Gavin Osborn looked as though he’d have a hard time filling the Clogger shaped hole that had been left on the stage. Yet, in the best and most brilliant way possible, he did it. Opening with a song that centred around Adam Woodyatt and his much loved character Ian Beale, (yes, you heard me right) Osborn instantly won everyone’s compassion. This compassion remained throughout the entirety of Osborn’s performance, and continued to grow with every story he sang to us. One song that really struck me was Albert Went Out To See Rock Bands, a beautifully sung story about an elderly man he’d seen moshing at a Charlatans gigs. Gavin Osborn’s set was entirely relevant and very culturally aware, leaving me to beg the question ‘How have I never heard of you before?’
With Gavin Osborn’s set completed, it was time for The Taskers to take their place before us. Quite accidentally, I’ve seen them at several points in their career and watched them evolve into the four-piece they are today. I was no stranger to a typical Tasker set list, which could make me biased, but not one person in that room could deny the brilliance of their performance. The Taskers were most definitely on form.
Opening with the title track off their new album Pleasure Point the four-piece, consisting of Jack Tasker on guitar and vocals, SBT on drums, cajon and vocals, Jack Rennie on bass, keys, percussion and vocals, and Sarah Pickwell on cello, brought energy levels sky high. Ripping through a load of new tracks including Chemical War and Shit & Blossom, it’s really clear that The Taskers have found their sound – and I absolutely love it. Songs such as Undone and Ghost remind the audience of how effortlessly they make even the calmer, more laid back songs seem, and provide a small break in proceedings. A beautiful moment occurred in Ghost, as all four members appeared completely lost in every corner of their music. One of the strongest songs from their set was most definitely Denmark, an acoustic, mellow song that was entirely ripped apart in front of us all. With a hauntingly beautiful cello accompaniment, and the extent of SBT’s vocal talent being showcased for all to see, Denmark has to be one of my favourites from the evening. Not only is it a pleasure to see four talents come together and make brilliant music, it’s great to see such confidence between them all. The Taskers continued on with Rafts, a folky number, Smear, Hogs From Hell (oinking and snorting included), Trials and, the ever beautiful, Mountains To The Sea, until eventually ending on an impromptu rendition of Rockin’ In The Free World by Neil Young. Bringing the night to a rocky end, The Taskers left the stage and headed to the pub next door to sell copies of their brand new banger of an album.
I left on a high, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the audience did too. Our ears had observed a rocky, folky, dancey, funky, up beat, laid back, well connected and well rehearsed evening of great talent, and all for the price of a cheap bouquet of flowers. Such raw and real talent like that of The Taskers is hard to come by, and the fact that they’re probably the nicest people going is certainly a benefit. What does the future hold for The Taskers? I don’t know, but I do know that they’re only going to get better.