Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Sumo Kings/The Seconds @ The Band Stand, Hanley. April 14th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Simon Bamford

I’ve seen some frenetic drummers in my time, but I’ve seen few as frantic as the man behind the kit for The Sumo Kings. The sticks but a blur in his hands at times, he must have used up more energy last night than the rest of the band put together. He certainly puts fuel in the old engine though, the band seemingly determined to fit as many songs as possible in their designated time slot; the opening number ‘Moon Boots’ running straight into the second so smoothly it was difficult to hear the join. Formerly known as Dugas Bugas, The Sumo Kings filled their pounding set with some great danceable compositions and interesting arrangements. Songs I particularly liked were ‘Space Monkey’ with its memorable "I don’t know why.. " chorus and ‘Oh Rebecca’ with its lively backbeat and crunchy chords. With three voices, amazingly including the seemingly inexhaustible drummers, they also put across some strong vocals. It was also nice to hear a few guitar solos. I understand that the band in this incarnation has only formed recently and going by last night’s performance they show a great deal of promise. They have an interview on the BBC Subculture show this Thursday; obviously they have made people sit up and take notice.

Having heard plenty of good things about The Seconds, I’ve been looking forward to seeing them for some time. They certainly did not disappoint. With a cracking bassist in brooding Jon Bowman and an exceptionally fine drummer in Adam Taylor, I have to say they have the strongest two-man rhythm section I’ve heard in a while. That isn’t to say that guitarists Matt Walker and Mark Steeden didn’t shape up though; far from it. With overtones of the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, this pop/rock band has a very strong stage presence and an obviously loyal following. Exuding confidence, they know how to please their audience and the mass moshing jump-around by a good percentage of the crowd during the last number reflected the exuberance with which they put their songs across. Indeed, so exuberant was one spirited member of the audience he almost knocked Matt Walker flying as he bounded perilously into the performing area. The Band Stand is a very small venue and its capacity for mass leapings around is rather a perilous one. That said though, the overall atmosphere was one of fun and good humour. Like the band before them, they have some great songs and there is every evidence that they could go very far indeed. A great night.

The Band Stand continues to go from strength to strength. It may be limited in its capacity, but it has great atmosphere. Long may it remain.

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