Review by Matt Kitten
Having not been to the Sugarmill before and not being a Stoke local I soon fell in love with the venue even though when we first arrived there was no-one around and the music was low. I won’t go on about this as you all know what it’s like, but I will compliment them on the sticky floor and would advise that they advertise their secrets so other small venues could do the same and make the gig experience just that bit more authentic.
The place had filled up quite a bit when supporting act, Headquarters took to the stage. Their first two tracks just left me bemused and emotionless and the fact they all had the blankest of expressions on their faces made me not dislike them so much, but feel as if they were unimpressed to be there. Very gradually I started to warm to their odd features and could easily picture them in a David Lynch film and at one point I'm sure I saw
The Mystery Man from Lost Highway walk past me. All of a sudden Headquarters bashed out a tune so fractured and bizarre that I instantly wanted to hug their cartoon faces. Now they all looked so interesting all I wanted to do was have a drink with the odd looking tribe.
We had a break and debated which was a better classic action film; Aliens or Predator (jury’s still out!) and waited for Everything Everything to take to the stage. Now, this band have been walking a tightrope for a while and I, being a fan since they first got aired on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show, have been constantly concerned by their output. When I say tightrope, what I mean is that they are on a knife edge of being an accessible pop/indie band and a quirky, progressive muso’s band. Knowing that they were testing some material tonight and now being signed to a major label, I was worried that they might have fallen off the tightrope down the side of the commercial pop song.
They played maybe six new tracks at this show and every one of them was an extension of their quirkier side, which I was very relieved about. Tight, energetic and obviously having a great time up there made the night a great one for people who have been listening to them for a while but people seeing them for the first time may have been left luke warm.
For me, they can stay balancing right on that tightrope but whether they want it or not that might keep them from reaching the dizzy heights that some bands get rocketed into very early on in these celebrity radio driven times. I am looking forward to a new album from them safe in the knowledge that they haven’t fallen over the side that Noah and The Whale are on and hope to catch them playing places like The Sugarmill in the future.
However I am sceptical of how the dullard Snow Patrol fans will take Everything Everything on their next gig outing.