Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Bleached WaiL / The Boothen / Tequila lips @ The Underground 21st November 2009

Review by Liam Kelly

Photo by Chris Bostock

Tonight The Underground played host to one of it’s most eagerly anticipated shows of 2009, Tequila Lips Album launch. Excitement was clear from the reasonably sized crowd by the time first act, Bleached Wail took the stage. These lads from Alsager got straight into things with the pulse racing beats of ‘Rumours’ and then into the boisterous rendition of ‘He’ll do anything’. The yelping vocals of frontman Gus shone throughout a set filled with energy and passion. So much so that they somehow managed to knock over two mics and destroy an amp. A band who can’t be put into one specific genre, showed a small snippet of everything including indie, pop, ska and punk. Bassist Floody danced around the stage as if it were on fire and kept the crowd more than entertained throughout. Throw this in with Nicks frantic drumming and it’s in tracks such as Zoo Town and ‘Hot on his heels’ that this band shows their promise.

Following this superb first act were newishly formed band, The Boothen. Formally known as The Rough Charm, these four lads are the perfect example of the sex, drugs and rock & roll cliché. The Boothen arrived tonight with their usual large following that were sent into a frenzy by the engaging choruses of songs such as ‘Pure’ and ‘Calling’. As their performance goes on, with each song, each infectious charge of head - bobbing riffage, the band increase in confidence. From front man Will's swagger, guitarist Liam's energy fuelled guitaring, bassist Danny's cheeky laid back attitude to Ashley's symbol crashing drumming, it's hard not to admire the boys for their style and charisma. Will demands respect from his audience and certainly earns it with crowd favourite ‘Suburban Suicide’. It's a testimony to Will's song writing ability that large sections of the crowd were singing along to every word of his lyrics. The clear influences of the late eighties-mid nineties era of bands such as Oasis, and The Libertines is evident throughout in The Boothen’s set. Ending with an old but classic track and a stage invasion from their loyal fans indicating the kind of popularity The Boothen are experiencing at the moment.

Next it was the moment this near sell out crowd had waited for, the appearance of Tequila Lips. To say the lads were excited was an understatement considering they all ran onto stage. Storming into their set with the anthemic ‘No Way Back’ got the crowd going, much to the delight of frontman Gary Clay who urged them to get involved throughout the set. It has to be said, Gary is easily one of the most talented frontmen in Stoke right now. The thriving energy of guitarists Tom and Dave, mixed with Azza’s tight bass playing and Sam’s ferocious drumming give the band the perfect stepping stone to create a sound powerful enough to earn comparisons to influences such as The Verve and Kasabian. A band not only big with and sound and musical quality, but with the good looks, style and charm that screams out coolness. ‘Joe Teague’ was screamed back to Gary by the loyal following of the band and sent the crowd into further chaos prompting scenes of flung pints, frugging mosh pits and crowd surfers. ‘The Rain’ and one of the bands newest tracks went down well with the crowd and the mayhem continued. These boys certainly no how to put on a show! It was then time for the title track of the album, ‘Crystal ball’. After having a sneaky preview of the track beforehand it’s clear to see why it’s so popular with its neat and tidy guitar riffs to its engaging chorus and hooky melodic vocals. It’s the kind of single that rattles around your brain for days and was impossible to leave without humming the melody to yourself. Finishing the night with crowd favourite ‘Another Face in the Crowd’, the band finished on a high and in particular Tom, whose pitch perfect voice carried the first verse of the song. A successful year for the lads from Tequila Lips and was topped off with one of the most spectacular performances I’ve witnessed in a long time from a band who are already making their mark on the local music scene and are expecting to go on to big things.

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