Monday, 21 September 2009

Sold out Story/Bonfires/Tequila Lips/Heart of the Sun @ The Underground Hanley 19th September 2009

Review by Liam Kelly

Photos by Scott Sharman and Matt Attwood

Opening tonight’s proceedings were pop punk band Sold out Story. Arriving on stage to loud cheers from their loyal supporters, it turned out that two of the band members had to be replaced after pulling out last minute. Sold out Story gave a reasonable performance considering the difficulties and I was particularly impressed by the tidy vocal performance of front man Matt who gave his best throughout the performance. The most noticeable track from their short set was ‘Breathe’ a quick and upbeat number that highlighted drummer Ben’s capabilities as well as being a clear crowd pleaser. What this band lacked in experience they certainly made up for in passion and confidence and I would be interested to them play with their permenant line up.

Next on stage were the much favoured 3 piece Bonfires. They kicked straight into their performance with the well known track ‘Drop the Weapon.’ This track in particular showed the quality Britpop sound this band creates throughout their set, and it’s clear to see the influences of The Verve and Ocean Colour Scene in their sound. Lead singer and guitarist Stu has a strong voice matched by his friendly guitar riffs throughout, this is backed by the deep and authoritative bass of Darren and the furious symbol crashing of Mike on drums. Unfortunately the crowd was not as complementary as they were for the previous band but this was not to have any effect on Bonfires performance and they deserve full credit for their set. The two tracks ‘Time is right’ and ‘True to life’ were particularly catchy and both featured hooky choruses. Finishing their performance with ‘All we have is tomorrow,’ Bonfires played their most accomplished track of the night and Stuart excelled with his vocal performance and guitar solo. A very enjoyable performance from a band who I am looking forward to seeing plenty more of in the future.

Tequila Lips were the main support for the evening and with them followed a very large tribe of fans. Quite clearly popular they went straight into their set with an upbeat number and frontman Gary Clay urged the crowd to get involved. Their second track ‘Joe Teague’ showed what this band is all about and the two guitarists Tom and Dave gave an energetic and smooth performance combining with the powerful bass playing of Azza and raging drumming of Sam Aspinall. Gary then really got the crowd moving and singing along in ‘Never enough’ showing his melodic and well pitched voice at its very best. ‘Crystal Ball’ showed how good Tequila Lips are, with a superb quick tempo instrumental performance. Finishing the night with ‘Another face in the crowd,’ this was definitely the bands strongest song and was sung by guitarist Tom at the beginning and his supreme vocal performance was superbly matched by the rest of the band. Tequila lips stunned me by the sheer quality of their set and this was certainly one of the best performances I have seen in a long time.

The final act of the night was from headliners Heart of the Sun. They started their performance with a new song titled ‘City Boy’. Next was the well known track ‘Movie Scene’ and it was in this track that Heart of the Sun showed where they fit into the progressive rock genre, with a heavy and unique sound. ‘What is on your mind’ showed frontman James Blake’s heart warming melodius voice at its best showing why he is one of the hottest talents in Stoke right now. Self titled track ‘Heart of the Sun’ was a stark change from the previous track and showed the bands incomparable stage presence. The frantic and energetic drumming of Jake Nixon was amongst the best I have seen from any band in Stoke right now; add to this the furious guitaring of Dave and the versatility of Ross on Bass, and you have one of the most impressive sounding bands in local music scene. This was further highlighted in the next track ‘Pausing stop and start’ and again James put on an impressive visual performance as well as belting out pitch perfect vocals also showing the gritty sound produced by the band. Finishing the night with ‘Break’ the band showed further variety with the tight funk blasts of Dave on the keyboard.

2010 could be a big year for Heart of the Sun, a band who have the talent and passion to go on to big things and tonight they showed just why they are rated so highly.

Sold out Story
Tequila Lips
Heart of the Sun

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