National Campaign Makes Sugarmill Leg
Emily Jones || September 27th
Musicians Against Homelessness have begun their run of gigs in the local area, with venues such as The Exchange, The Foxlowe Arts Centre and The Sugarmill all taking part in the campaign. On Saturday it was The Sugarmill’s turn to host an evening in association with Venombase, with five bands giving up their time for free.
Moscow took to the stage around 7pm, with frontman Nic Andrews taking complete ownership of his surroundings. The four piece were confident, with a sound that filled the venue and swallowed up everything in its path. Playing tracks such as ‘Pack Animals’ from their current EP of the same name, it was hard to believe that Moscow were the opening band. Climbing over the front of the stage, Andrews seductively asked the audience to “dig deep into your pockets” whilst pushing a grey bucket under the noses of as many people he could reach, before his microphone cable ran out of length. With a sound, set and overbearing stage presence as powerful as theirs, it was quite obvious that everyone else on the bill was going to have a hard time reaching their bar.
That was something LazyEye didn’t need to worry about. With a confidence and well-rehearsed set equalling their predecessors, LazyEye seemed at home on the stage. Slightly less raunchy than Andrews, vocalist and guitarist Scott Powell also invited the growing audience to throw their spare change into the bucket at the front of the stage. The four piece played through popular tracks such as ‘I’m A Stone’ and a brand new single from their upcoming EP, putting on a fantastic show for a great cause.
Having only recently released their debut EP as well as losing a member of their lineup, it seemed ALMA had a lot to prove. Their young audience appeared quite literally out of thin air, giving the band a reasonable crowd to perform to. ALMA were just as loud and leery as they were with five members. Vocalist Jack Kennedy took a moment to point out and thank ex-guitarist Kieran Breese, who was stood at the front of the stage in readiness for his band’s headline set, later in the evening. It was as endearing as it could be, coming from a band with as much attitude as they have and was quickly followed by a cover of ‘The Hunter’ by Slaves.
The penultimate band on the bill was Manchester based rock outfit Dirty Saint, who only 24-hours before, were headlining The Ritz in their hometown. The four-piece had a great sound; high powered rock ’n’ roll with catchy choruses and melodies that made you want to dance. Even with a stand in bass player, who apparently hadn’t rehearsed with the band before that night, Dirty Saint played originals ‘Monkey’, ‘New York City Queen’ and ‘Devil’ comfortably and cooly.
Headlining the night were The Torch, a punk band who recently completed their lineup with Breese, former member of ALMA. It was their first gig back in Stoke after a six month break from gigging locally and they seemed to want to give it everything they had. The Torch lit up The Sugarmill with their punchy sound, as they stood atop of the speakers looking down on their appreciative audience. Although seeming to musically slip occasionally, The Torch didn’t seem to care. Even as they finished their final song, the four local lads could have carried on into the night.