Bethan Shuff || November 22nd
Fresh on the scene, Rewenge (Ree-weng-ay), were first to start off the party at The Exchange on Friday night. The 4-piece have only been gigging for a month, with a new guitarist stepping in just a week ago. They played a short, chilled out set with clean, soft vocals, but threw in a funky little number called Lost in the Forest. Rewenge have recently recorded the song and it’s set to be released in the coming months. It’s a little bouncy, rhythmic track that makes you want to tap your pen on the table or drum your thumbs on the steering wheel.
Then it was time for ALMA to take to the stage with their angsty-grunge vibes, smashing out tracks from their debut EP, Last Orders, such as Sad State of Affairs and Falling Down. They’ve got cocky, confident attitudes with rough-around-the-edges personas which is what ALMA are loved for by their following. Being teased by a very familiar drum line, Jack Kennedy asks the crowd if we’re ready before erupting into Arctic Monkeys – I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor. Rumour has it that ALMA are heading back into the studio to record soon, this time with new member, Sam Fieldhouse, playing guitar.
Travelling all the way up from Southend for the main support was The Scarletts. Dark new wave melodies and some Wytches-esque tones, their ethereal breakdowns create a sense of nostalgia. Ryan Turner’s relaxed, somewhat effortless vocals compliment the smoothness of Liam’s 12 string guitar. The Scarletts have definitely gained some new fans. Ending their set, the lads played a hectic outro, Harry’s drumming second to none. Liam swung off his guitar, holding it in the hair before dropping it and letting it bounce across the stage. Scarletts out.
Chris Hough mingled with the crowd and danced about, caressing band mates and having a laugh before joining the band on stage for their opening track. It was officially Party Time with Bonsai.
Now, if you were at The Sugarmill in September, you’ll know that Chris knows how to throw a party. The Exchange headline was no exception.
Chris ordered everyone to ‘get your groove on’ as they played a Stoke favourite – Houdini. With his top off and hair down, he invited the audience to do the same, ‘everyone let’s just get naked’ to which some people obliged.
From start to finish, Bonsai provided an enthralling and energetic set filled with passion and fuelled by booze. ‘This one will make you wanna hit someone, but at the same time make you want to kiss a stranger’ is how Chris described their new track Copper Coloured Coins. He has a way with words when it comes to describing how his tracks make him feel. Funky Brown, their latest single from their new EP is a bouncy number that really does make you want to dance and sing until your lungs give out, so Chris tells everyone to ‘dance with someone fit’.
Looking at the band on stage, there’s no order, no choreography, no organisation. Just 5 lads having an absolute blast, playing instruments and having a dance. Chris introduced Hole In The Ocean, and mid song he dives into the crowd. Pre-gig, Chris had promised me that he’d be crowd surfing, and he didn’t break that promise as he spent half a song hanging from the ceiling and being held up by fans and friends.
I’m telling you, no-one knows how to throw a party like Bonsai.