A memorial concert to gig-going mainstay Dave Barlow, saw some of Stoke’s finest showcase a heady mix of punk-pop, churning indie, blues and psychedelia— along with an appearance from the (infamous) Trent Vale Poet. A touching night, with the line up selected from Dave’s favourite Stoke based bands.
The first band to take the stage was The Decision, who presented half an hour of outstanding indie rock. Having clearly spent several hours in the studio, they have developed a polished performance that puts them well ahead of their contemporaries.
In what was a fitting tribute to Dave, Trent Dale Poet took to the stage during change over to share not only his poetry but brought a new dimension to his work by rapping to an accompaniment by Friends of Ken. Local heroes Friends of Ken draw in a mess of influences into their whiplash pop-punk, from Green Day and Ash to the Pixies-who they homage with a suitably cloud-cast ‘Holiday’. In amidst the usual between song ramblings, Big-un paid fitting tribute to Dave, acknowledging that he was a prolific gig-goer that often put other muso's to shame. This however did not dampen their rip-roaring set which showcased their new album and also showed their adeptness at delivering a winning set.
Trent Vale Poet again entertained the gathered crowd between sets, providing a dose of ramshackle witticisms, including a dramatic monologue which took on the BNP. As the last band of the evening, The Black Apples certainly delivered the goods, with a solid set of their best songs they really got the audience going. Continuing the celebratory theme of the evening, they provided us with note perfect songs such as ‘Don’t give a damn’ and ‘Buy me a ticket’. Not only would this evening’s performances have been a great gig as a stand alone event, but the atmosphere poignantly paid tribute to Dave Barlow and his memory.