Review by Liam Kelly
Photo by Simon Bamford
Arriving a little later than I had originally planned; I was greeted upon entering The Sugarmill by the techno funky beats of powerpop indie band, The Elastics. Having never seen the lads before, I was incredibly impressed, particularly by the energy and excitement in front man Jack Bloor. Perhaps not the strongest vocalist in Stoke, but easily one of the most entertaining and one who certainly knows how to work a large crowd. Pulling off covers such as The Wombats hit, ‘Moving to New York’ and the challenging ‘She wants to move’ by N.E.R.D, which really went down well with the boisterous crowd, getting the lads the reception they deserved.
Next to take stage was local band, The Way. Banging out tracks in an indie/punk genre, The Way seemed to have built themselves a decent fan base, many of which were here tonight. The heavy bassing of Scott Powell combining with the radiant drumming of Rich Howshall, brought out the bands strongest track in their set, ‘Yesterdays News.’ Dean Dales guitar riffs backing the melodic voice of front man Stef, the band pulled off crowd favourite ‘Katwalk Krazy,’ sending The Sugarmill into a frenzy. It’s not always easy playing your newest tracks to such a big crowd and often bands receive a poor response, but not The Way! The 3 new tracks they played (unfortunately I didn’t catch the names) saw their die-hard fans throw themselves off the stage into the crowd and cause general havoc. The band finished with what seems to have become their calling card, ‘One Time Round,’ with the crowd screaming back the lyrics to Stef and co. I was told this track is available to download from ‘iTunes’ and I would recommend that all local indie lovers make the purchase, and if a hooky chorus is what you love, this is the track for you.
The final act of the night and headliners came in the shape of the rowdy Alsager trio, Bleached Wail. A group that I call the marmite of local music, you either love them or hate them, but from the reaction of a near full mill, you have to assume that Stoke love these lads. Starting with ‘Rumours,’ you get an instant impression of what people love about Bleached Wail, the pure energy that runs through them and their on-stage charisma and quirkiness.
Throwing themselves round like a couple of wild beast escaped from their cages at the zoo, ‘Stolen Thunder’ saw tight and poppy guitar riffs from Gus and the confident bassing of Floody, with the crowd jumping around as much as the band. Newest track, ‘Distraction,’ shows a heavier side to Bleached Wail’s music, but as always they pulled it off superbly, and I was particularly impressed by the sledge hammer drums of Nick. ‘Get Rowdy’ was certainly a crowd favourite and this is exactly what the band did; you find yourself asking, ‘how do they store that much energy?’ Next up was the hard hitting punky anthem of ‘This man’s life,’ and saw Gus’s lyrics yelled back to him throughout by his fans. The night was finished with ‘Hot on his heels’ (a track with a chorus that will certainly stay rattling around the brain for days), Gus and Floody urged the crowd to give it their all for the last song, just as they did themselves.