Review by Charlotte Lunt
For me, unashamedly this is a long awaited gig. Those of you who tune into Stoke Sounds on 6towns (Monday’s 7-9pm, hint hint) will know that we’ve been long term champions of Giro Junkie, and also that Dinosaur Dance Floor have recently seeped into our aural consciousness. Couple this with the fact that Giro’s album ‘Taxi for Dave’ hasn’t been out of the CD player for the last week or so and you have an idea of the levels of anticipation I have.
First on were the Nanateas, to whom I owe an apology as the impromptu meeting of so many old friends and familiar faces from gig's gone by that I missed the bulk of their set, but I did catch respectable covers of The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m in Love’ and Pulp’s ‘Disco 2000’.
With the dance floor filling up for Dinosaur Dance Floor, the atmosphere really took hold as their dancey indie rang out. On a slightly critical note, it would’ve been good to hear the vocals higher in the mix as this really did detract from the performance. Within the first few songs I can see domination of the current Stoke Scene well within these lads grasp – jangly melodic feel good indie pop – perfect for a late summer evening. They are clearly a band who practice hard but also and refreshingly don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, and seem to be as much about having fun as they are about the music. This evening see’s them delivering a set of little gems to an audience with their dancing shoes on, and is more than an appropriate prologue for the main set.
Tonight’s performance by Giro Junkie, serves very much like the stories they tell in their lyrics. Starting with 'Murder of Logistics' as the 2 piece they have been performing as for 18 months or so Rich Bloor (vocals and guitar) and Mark Stevens (drums and vocals) they guide us through an album’s worth of songs starting with some simple numbers I remember hearing in The Glebe many moons ago, to the fuller and richer sound they are now achieving with the addition of several new colleagues.
Rich’s ability to use lyrics to tell stories straight from the coal face brings an earthy strength to the songs, notably 'Oh-Dae-Su' and it appears that as the set progresses their music is gaining attention from the venue's patrons. One thing that is fabulous about this evening is the ‘love in’ feeling from so many people who have come out to support the band, and the recognition that as a first album release this is a celebration of their achievements. There is always a pleasure about watching an artist and friend performing, but to see a band develop and grow like this is a real privilege.
Welcoming an abundance of guest artists to the stage to complete the full line up for the last three songs, Giro Junkie showcase the new directions that some of their songs have undertaken. The introduction of more voices and instruments has brought an earthly feel to the music, and a feeling of shared experience, akin to that heard in sea shanties. Although about contemporary issues, songs such as ‘Hands for Feet’ appear to have now grown their roots firmly in the folk tradition, in a way that melds two worlds simultaneously.
Leaving the stage to rapturous applause and one or two ear piercing whistles, Rich, Mark et al. Should be rightly proud of this evenings gig and launch of their album – which in case you didn’t know is available in a limited edition from the band, and also on itunes.