Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Chew Lips / Delphic @ Stoke Sugarmill. Sunday 7th March 2010

Review by Sian Eardley

Tonight was a night of epic proportion. The performances were hot. Smoking hot. For saying there were two major acts on in the are (Trivium headlining at Keele University), I know I was in the right place, and I very much ‘doubt’ that the American Headliners could have pulled a show-stopper like this.

It was sold out, and rightly so. Delphic are currently storming the charts, in the hearts of MTV-2 indie lovers, and having just returned from Radio One’s ‘In New Music We Trust Tour’ in Newcastle, they were full of spark.

From young teens, to mums and dads in the crowd, it was a full and varied turnout to see some fresh, and damn good live music. Yes, Delphic may be ‘of the time’, but you have to get ‘with the times’ to enjoy them (i.e. be musically in-touch). It may be musically fashionable, but it’s glorious and invigorating all the same. It’s the sound of the generation.

During the long and bitterly cold wait to get into The Sugarmill (which only added to the ever-increasing atmosphere of anticipation), Chew Lips multi instrumentalist Will Sanderson, was outside poetically puffing away on a Marlboro Red, telling of Delphic’s singer, James Cook, being a ‘quality lad’; concerns of 6 Music being shut, as it’s how such bands get discovered, and Delphic’s massive obsession with Kraftwerk and Bjork, and how when they tour Iceland in the upcoming weeks, they hope to meet the native singer. I must say, that it was utterly endearing to hear such tour tales, and you can’t help but feel excited for Delphic as they make their way onto the radar, and at this point in their career, we get to experience all of this with them, which is just magical.

However, support band 'Chew Lips' are pretty big themselves now. They were tipped towards the latter half of 2009 to make it big, and now here they are now having released two singles and their debut album'Unicorn' last month. All this before going to perform at SXSW, and they're even returning to The Sugarmill on April 27th. You must check them out if this sounds like your bag.

There were three desks for two bands. It was very much lights, lights, lights and projecting kaleidoscopic sound, menaing big business. Lead singer Tigs jumped onto the stage serenading us "Hello you sexy Brits!", in the style of a Debbie Harry, Topshop pixie princess with the elegant vocals of a British Karen O. The penultimate 'Solo' was the biggest hit and her moves and aura hit out at everyone in the crowd. Check out other tracks 'Salt air' and 'Slick' on their myspace.

The night of fusion of indie dance heaven triumphed through until the end with the appearance of Delphic, who had a fabulous hour long set showcasing their album 'Acolyte'. The stage was arranged intricately with synths and guitars and more strobe lights than you'd find in epilepsy Hell, but they were a stella accompianment to the musical display.

They kicked off with the big one's first, 'Doubt' was simply insane, the infectious vocals and synthesised twangs, led to one massive wave of fans getting lost in the moment at the front of the stage in a word, it was blinding. Just to observe it, you felt privileged to see this electronic spectrum before your very eyes, looking to the pioneers of indie today. They adapted to the fan’s reaction, if they lapped it up, they’d play an extended remix version – for ‘Doubt’ and ‘Halcyon’ later.

It was just a really good time, which injected that feel of summer memories and festival days, with a stream of surfers everywhere. They too, are obviously fans of the ‘80’s, and many of the original Joy Division and New Order fans to see the progression of today’s electro scientists. The band were also kitted out in suit-uniform like the days of Curtis, and a young Tom Smith when Editors were in their premature days. The guitar solos were out of this world, as were the electronic ones. Delphic are truly like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and in this intimate setting, it’s these kind of nights that you can really love at The Sugarmill; bands just at their peak, still appreciative and not cocky, just purely talented.

The lighting, like little comets came flying across the ceiling, just as transfixing as the band, it was like stepping back in time, to a hazy 80’s discotheque (thanks to the fog machine), or at least the Hacienda days of The Happy Mondays. It had that ambience. Every song was as energetic as an Editors gig finale of ‘Fingers in the Factories’, which is madness. The whole night was just…happening!

With a gracious: ‘Goodnight, you’ve been awesome!’, the fifteen minute rendition of ‘Counterpoint’ was a corker. Seeing it sober was spectacular, but I imagine beer-goggles holds a certain appealing edge to their performance, as I’m sure those at the front of the audience could tell you.

Delphic are now right up there at the top of my gig list, and you know what? So are Chew Lips! The buzz of people, and the musical amalgamation just rocked my socks. If we’re ever that fortunate to ever have them return, (which is doubtful because they’re just about to be stupidly huge), it’s imperative that you DO NOT MISS THEM!

Chew Lips

Monday, 1 March 2010

Faux Feet/The Fortunas/Vellocet @ The Underground Hanley, 26th February 2009

Review by Liam Kelly

Photo by Leo Mazzocchio

Tonight was my first viewing of support band Faux Feet and I must say I was pretty impressed. It seems that female vocalists seem to be on the rise in Stoke on Trent and Sian Matthews is the most talented I have come across so far. Not only did her melodic voice carry the band throughout the set but she had the stage presence and confidence of an artist twice her age. This is to take nothing away from guitarist Ben Finney, bassist Carl Howe and drummer Jamie O’Neill who support her superbly. On listening to the way Sian belts out her vocals its easy to forget that you are watching such a young band and with the quality to pull of a cover of the Cold War Kids track, ‘Hospital beds,’ expect big things from them.

Next to take stage were the increasingly popular lads from The Fortunas. Since first seeing these back in September last year it seems that the band’s fan base has increased tremendously and it’s easy to see why! Frontman Elliot Wilcox has the confidence and vocal style similar to that of Alex Turner to add to his display of neat guitar riffs. The band were clearly up for it from the off and tracks such as ‘For our eyes only’ and ‘Mister Bagguely’ sent the large crowd into a frenzy much to the delight of fellow guitarist Addison Brown who demonstrated some furious playing throughout. The band pulled off possibly the best cover I have witnessed from any band in Stoke in ‘Not nineteen forever’ by The Courteeners which saw every member of the crowd bouncing and screaming back the lyrics to Elliot. Finishing their set with the melodically delightful ‘Will you?’ the band may have just added a few more fans to their ever increasing support.

Headliners Vellocet took to the stage minus front man Ryan Barker. After a powerful and striking instrumental from the other band member, Ryan took to the stage with the confidence and rock & roll attitude you would expect to see from the likes of Liam Gallagher. The band is clearly popular and brought a near sell-out crowd to witness their first headline gig; they were not to disappoint. Starting with ‘Messiah,’ the song has the kind of hooky chorus you are sure to be singing for days after. Jordan on rhythm guitar pulled off some of the most impressive and thriving guitar riffs I have seen in some time.

These lads are band with serious confidence and it paid off with a frantic crowd reaction to each song and in particular ‘Be my fight’ which saw a number of lighters held in the air. Vellocet know just how to put on a show! The ferocious drumming of Leigh Dewey is the platform for the band and their sound is unique combining Oasis style guitar riffs to the vocal energy of The Stone Roses. The boisterous chorus of ‘One and only’ made leaving the Underground tonight without humming the words to each Vellocet track an impossible task. Crowd favourite ‘Hallucination’ shows a slower and more tuneful side to these boys. But Vellocet clearly saved their best till last and with the final track of their set ‘We are the frontline,’ the crowd really responded. Every member yelled back the chorus to Ryan and Jordan and this is a track that has the potential to be released as a successful single. A brilliant gig from a band that I believe is the ‘next big thing’ from Stoke. In 2010 expect to see these lads to shine with a number of headline gigs booked already.