Friday, 21 August 2009

The Vanguards / Bonfires / Little Comets @ The Sugarmill 19th August

Review by Chloe West

Photo's by Simon Bamford

Riding on a wave of much recent success, The Vanguards, barely formed for a year, are already conquering national spheres. Fresh from an Xfm radio session on Sunday, the local lads took the first slot with great anticipation. The initial element most notable about this band is how effortlessly the vocals shift between each member, beautifully amplifying their sound. This is best seen through the performance of ‘You Get It Off Me’ much reminiscent of the Magic Number’s style. The Vanguard’s use their set to demonstrate their ability to do the arty, the dancy, the poppy, but then also slow raw bassy funk, even dabbling in a bluesy feel on one number. Mid set, their new single ‘Regress’ is introduced (recently chosen by listeners as record of the week on the Radio 2 Radcliffe and Maconie Show) and epitomises that ‘feel good’ summer sound. With so much buzz surrounding the track and the band themselves, lets hope they take their own lyrics literally as they grapple with the manic music biz. (We will never surrender/ we will only get higher/ as we walk into the fire). ‘Drop The Weapon’ soon beckoned down any roof top goers enjoying a withdrawing sunny evening.

Cheddleton based Bonfires began their set with this forceful Britpop type number, which along with ‘Streets Tell Stories’ show a present slant on the nineties era Cast, Ocean Colour Scene and the usual players from the last decade could all be name dropped here as elements these possess. The trio take a calm and collected stance on stage, holding their positions until singer Stuart tries to liven up his onlookers. Bonfires maybe less experienced than their predecessor, but have the potential to tweak their genre and expand their horizons.

With impromptu gigs nationwide, from Sheffield trams to Salford lecture halls, the 'Mill may have seemed a rather mundane venue for Little Comets. The four hail from the 'other' Newcastle, and despite only visiting the Potteries realm a few months back, a keen young following assembled towards the stage for take two. To describe the Comet’s style takes several ingredients; few dollops of Mystery Jets and Vampire Weekend pop, drizzle of clinky clanky, twingy twangy guitar, sprinkle of lazy summer vibe and there you have it. Front man Robert’s yelping vocals echo one Jack Penate, and this band – like support Vanguards – gain strength through the vocal interaction of all members. Particular highlights of their set include the jaunty ‘Adultery’, which is also their new single and almost a synopsis of their style. ‘One Night In October’ also deserves a mention, a seriously catchy number, with a hook certain to rattle around the brain for days. Ending on a punkier tune, Little Comets withdraw to cheery applause, and a few more Stokian fans for their collection.

The Vanguards
Little Comets

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