Review by Liam Kelly
Photo by Simon Bamford
Arriving at the Sugarmill, I was full of excitement to see Bleached Wail headline after recently seeing them perform so well at the Stoke Sounds festival. The news that 'The Gospel according To John' had pulled out of tonights line up disappointed many members of this already large crowd but support band Creepjoint did not disappoint.
Starting with ‘Nos’, this song demonstrated the bands instrumental strengths and in particular those of guitarist Steve. Throughout 'Dumbshow' it was clear too see their influences such Queen of the Stone Age and Radiohead. Their songs are powerful which is really impressive considering there are only 3 band members. The song ‘Harbinger’ was a slower song which demonstrated lead singer Steve’s excellent range in pitch and tempo and his smooth guitar solos. The next couple of songs played really got a small section of the crowd going who were urged on by Steve. The superb versitility of this band is demonstrated when bassist Matt sang two of the songs and did a great job of it. A cover of the well known ‘My Sharona’ went down really well in the crowd, and in particular showed the quality of drummer Tom with great visual performance s from Matt and Steve. Finishing the night with ‘Violencer,’ Creepjoint impressed this large crowd and surprised a few people. They show variety in every song they play and not only look great on stage, but sound it as well. Definitely worth a watch in the future.
After a long wait (35 minutes!), Bleached Wail arrived on stage to a near sell out crowd to rapturous applause and cheers. There’s only one word to describe this 3 piece from Alsager, sublime! Without saying a word they kicked straight into the set with ‘Rumours.’ It was with their second song ‘Mrs Magic’ that the crowd really reacted. Every member of the crowd enjoyed this song and it is clear that Bleached Wail have a large and loyal following shown by most of the crowd joining in with each song.
Well known track ‘Bounty Hunter’ was superb and showed Gus’s unique and melodic vocals, not to mention demonstrating his furious guitaring. Their next song, ‘He’ll do anything’ was a particular crowd pleaser and set every member of the audience and this boosted the confidence of Bleached Wail even more. Bassist Floody showed why he is one of the most exciting prospects in local music at the moment. He boasts a great deal of confidence up on that stage and puts on a great show as well as powerful bass playing to go with it. This was all frantically matched by Nick on drums who played a high tempo set. ‘Get Rowdy’ was fast and powerful and Gus demanded that the crowd themselves got rowdy. Their next two tracks ‘This Man’s Life’ and ‘Prodigy’ showed their ska - style influence and the vigorous instrumental quality of Gus, Floody and Nick.
Their most well known track ‘Stolen Thunder’ was their tightest performance of the night. It was clear too see how Bleached Wail have a unique sound and are not trying to follow the Arctic Monkeys, Oasis cliché, but choosing to carve their own sound. The song that got the biggest crowd reaction of the night was ‘Hot on his heels.’ With a resonating chorus, every member of the elevated audience screaming back the lyrics to Gus.
Having left the stage and after chants of ‘We want more’ and ‘Zoo Town,’ the band ran back on stage to perform again. ‘Ten Man Grin’ was followed by the final song of the night, the much loved ‘Zoo Town.’ This song was performed with incredible passion and every member of the crowd dived towards the stage when Gus and Floody played solos on the bass boxes. At the end of the performance Bleached Wail walked off to thunderous applause and whistles. A truly breathtaking performance from a band that should go far. Easy too see why they are rated so highly by Radio 1 DJ’s. The boys from Bleached Wail played a high quality set with real passion and interacted with the audience superbly. With an already large fanbase which is going to only get bigger, Bleached Wail are certainly one of the hottest bands in Stoke on Trent at this moment.