Review by Kirsty Underwood
The Sugarmill’s stage became home to local lads Six Towns on Saturday 25th February, with The Rimes, Wildfires and Lost Scenes joining the bill. The venue began filling up quickly and being a Saturday night, there was a lot of hairspray and high heels down on that good old sticky floor.
I’m gutted to report that I missed the set from The Rimes, due to dull work commitments, so apologies to the band for the lack of a write up! However, the internet grapevine suggests that these rock and rollers, with their Beatles, Rolling Stones and Ocean Colour Scene stylings, kicked things of in the spirit of their musical forefathers and got people shaking it their way (ignoring the terrible play on the name, check out track Shake It My Way online and you’ll see how apt a title it is).
It’s typical that the first few supporting bands on a line up get the least out of an audience, whether it be due to them being new to peoples ears or the bar having only been open for an hour. Not the case for Wildfires. Swaggering on to the stage, lead singer Patrick Taylor produced attention demanding confidence from up his denim sleeves. Taylor punched out vocals like the love child of The Twang’s Phil Etheridge and Scroobius Pip over indie rhythms scattered with a touch of punk disregard. Ballsy energy and the break out of a mosh pit early into the set sent the high heels scattering and the bar set well and truly high.
Next on the bill, Lost Scenes. It became evident that a good proportion of the audience was made up of Wildfires fans as the dance floor emptied a tad. This was a shame because Lost Scenes gave a powerful performance which I have a feeling would’ve been played with as much earnest enthusiasm if they had just been practising in someone’s garage. It’s no surprise that these boys use their talent to do some good in the world either, having recently raised money for charity with a cycling gigathon. They produced a pulsating, passionate set filled with bop-worthy tracks to make your toes twitch. Something like Elbow letting their hair down and trying to save the world at the same time.
Having played The Sugarmill as headliners before, and with a name proudly showing their roots, Six Towns were hopefully feeling rightly at home when they took to the stage. From the minute they stepped under the lights, front man Liam O’Brien’s presence indicated that this was the case. Hammering through a set to overwhelm even the most dedicated indie rock fan, the combination of influences being thrown at the audience was musical psychedelia. The presence of rock giants Oasis, Kasabian and Stone Roses was palpable throughout, but on tracks such as The Chase and Dirty Desires, there were stirrings of the early days of heavy rock. The Chase, with the lyrics “we’re coming to get you”, built up to a climax that left a euphoric audience in no doubt that they had indeed been “got”. Dirty Desires demonstrated the band’s creativity, exploring an earthier sound that O’Brien’s gravelly tones richly emphasized. New track Wasting Away gave goose-bumps, indulging in some almost medieval “ahh-ing” and continued the robust stance that Six Towns are currently revelling in.
The Stoke lads gave a triumphantly toxic set packing in plenty of enticingly anthemic tunes that are not to be missed. They can next be found locally at Fat Cats on April 8th and Wasting Away is now available as a free download on the Six Towns website; I strongly recommend giving it a listen if you like your indie rock and roll a little to the grungy left of Brit Pop.