Words: Lee Barber
The confident, effortless beats of Dan Thompson instantly set the tone for IKYKIK, the new release from indie four-piece Thieves Asylum. IKYKIK is more than just a new release, however: it's a statement, a bold and poweful statement which tells us Thieves Asylum are band who know exactly where they stand in the vicious music industry, and more importantly, where they know they want to stand.
And as soon as Joe Tomasso rolls in with opening lyrics "Now i've seen it all before", flowing seamlessly with the introduction of Jim's bass line, you are automatically drawn in by his vocal range not unlike those of Rob Harvey of well-missed underground heroes The Music. while the opening line within itself is a statement of youthful experience, a young band which between them already have almost twenty years experience in the game.
Thieves Asylum are continuing to build that trademark sound, creating cool and calculated verse, with a steady but bouncing beat leading into a raucous of a chorus which couldn't have a bigger explosion if Crash Bandicoot had jumped on TNT. IKYKIK rides down a similar road, only this time with even more conviction that previous releases Katapult or NocNoc.
The breakdown brings an eerie atmosphere, a collision of sound effects, dirty bass riffage and toms until Alex 'Burt' Grocock launches into perfectly executed guitar solo full of all the energy and precision we have come to expect from the former Motives front man.
With a very professional music video (created by the talented Luke Medlock, who is a fine musician in his own right, fronting grunge-pop outfit EVER) Thieves Asylum have figured out how to put themselves at the forefront of local indie music without even playing an actual gig in the area.
Words: Leah Hamer
Maverick Zion graced the stage first with their debut performance to give the audience something they described as ‘The Red Hot Chilli Peppers meets The Fratellis’. As a big fan of both bands my curiosity was sparked. Maverick Zion are a paper-bag pick and mix of other local bands, including previous members of Logical Drama and Rebellion so their talent cannot be denied. Their sound at first was dominated by sweaty drumming, classic rock vocals and dramatic endings- not quite Chillis or Fratellis until they pulled out Watch Yourself- an old 90s funk-rap with a Flea bass and Kiedis style lyrics. Kind of odd, but kind of cool, I kind of liked it.
Next up was a band championing some loud, teenage angst- Alma. This is the sort of music that starts organised mosh pits and baby brawls- riffs that rile you up and drums that make you push people. With covers from Pretty Vicious and The Undertones it is easy to understand why they inspired such a ferocious crowd of adolescents. Alma have this youthful spark of energy, their heavy grunge is lively and atmospheric. I’m eager to see more of their original work instead of relying on weather-worn covers. It is obvious that they are creative and skilled, with a large fan-base that continues to blossom daily- so now it’s time for more from the boys- more regional gigs, more recordings, more Alma.
Main support could not have come from a more deserving band- Arcadia, who are currently gigging more than anyone I know. These five lads have this ruthless determination that means they are willing to perform until their fingers bleed just to get their name out there- and they are doing just that. Arcadia are now expanding beyond the boundaries of Staffordshire which is necessary- their worth has already been cemented in Stoke and they are as known and loved as they physically can be. Their performances are always strong- full of charisma and a natural flare for the stage with cool riffs and wavy vocals. Tracks like 95’ and The Shore are popping, alt-indie, fireworks that will make Arcadia a recognised name wherever they venture to next.
Awaiting a headliner, you always get that build of atmosphere- the crowd will empty after the main support, and slowly return- one by one in single file, until the basement is encompassed with tipsy excitement. Flying onto the stage with Patty, Thieves Asylum soon showed everyone what we had been waiting for. Electricity coursed through the veins of every member with Joe Tomasso killing his lungs and encouraging the crowd, Alex Grocock producing steam from his guitar, James Perry shredding the bass until his tongue is hanging out, and Dan Thompson crashing down on the kit like thunder- hard enough to slice a stick in half- literally. Katapult, Roger Bones, Noc Noc- these songs feel like classics already. Thieves Asylum have that knack of creating songs that blow your mind for a moment and their latest, IKYKIK was the track that really sent my mind racing at The Exchange. I actually dodged my way through the crowd to see it performed from the front row- now if you have a song that people literally run to go and see- you’re doing your job.
I know Thieves Asylum are heading to some big places, so because I know that, you should know that too…and if you don’t get why I’m saying I know so much- you’ll know if you listen to IKYKIK...I know.