Friday, 25 July 2008

The Displacements/The Sport/New Education @ The Sugarmill, Hanley. July 22nd.

Review and photo by Chloe West

First on the bill are New Education, their set compromising of jangly pop/rock, combined with clear funky bass. Formed at the beginning of the year, the quartet certainly haven’t wasted any time in creating a professional sound, at times comparable to the recently split Milburn. ‘Great Escape’ begins to work the crowd, and from this point the movement doesn’t cease. Following this, singer Ryan Dooley requests that a couple at the front are a little less affectionate as he didn’t reckon the girl involved could ‘take anymore’. Lovely. Maybe the next song, ‘Quiet Night In’ would have been more appropriate for the pair concerned! With what seems to be a busy summer for the band as they play various slots around the country, New Education were certainly an impressive start to the night.

Kicking off with ‘Freakshow’ The Sport have their usual confidence about them, commanding the stage. Nic Andrews could be easily be described as one of the best frontmen Stoke has to offer, powerful vocals bellowing from nowhere, the mic wire wrapping around his slender frame. ‘Holiday’ produces U2 similarities, generating the first of many stage invasions, while during ‘Lightweight’, the chorus is keenly chanted back at the band. They certainly have a loyal following. Churning out a series of catchy numbers, from the grungy ‘Tick Tock’ to the lyrical tale of ‘Answers’, The Sport never disappoint. ‘Morning Meltdown’ concludes the set, a story of nights out and subsequent hangovers, rounding up an immense performance.

Unfortunately for headliners The Displacements, ‘the roof top tiles’ is where many of the audience remained as they played, resulting in a clear lack of atmosphere. Having previously seen them supporting the Courteeneers a few months back, this performance was not to the same standard, although the absence of a strong crowd must be disheartening. Without their usual youthful enthusiasm, the songs slip into almost background music at times, missing the kick they are renowned for. Nevertheless they still present popular songs such as ‘AKA’, delivering their upbeat, pop sound with elements of their classic indie influences. Set-ender ‘Down and Out’, their new single, is a perfect example of how the Leicester four-piece have taken these influences to a potentially commercial level, and for an unsigned band they obviously take their music seriously.

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