Emily Jones || January 11th
On Wednesday 28th December, local music fans gathered at The Sugarmill to catch a truly excellent line up, of some of the most talented bands in Staffordshire. In an evening titled "Winter Chillin'", Captain Stingray's Groove Machine and Blackwater Trading Company would take to the stage, before headliners Dirty Money No. 5.
But first it was the turn of Motormouf, a beat boxer from Nottingham, to open the show and warm up the crowd. Dressed in a coat that reached the floor and spitting out lyrics faster than I'd ever heard, Motormouf was a real spectacle to watch. His mouth formed the back bone to each track, as he single handedly created rhythms, melodies, breakdowns and three part harmonies. Endlessly looping tracks via his loop pedal, Motormouf had the audience encapsulated, engaged and entertained.
Next up was Captain Stingray's Groove Machine, a band whose lineup continues to grow with every performance. It's hard to believe that CSGM have only been together for nearly a year. Their polished performance enables them to entertain easily, whilst their upbeat African rhythms force their music into your soul. Taking to the stage armed with a seagull and palm tree (both fake, might I add), the seven piece seemed in high spirits. New single 'Sano' and old favourite 'Feel The Sweat (Ey Oh!)' were standout songs from their set, which seemed to grow in length as they went on. If one thing is for certain however, it's that CSGM have the most fun on stage than any other band I'm yet to witness. Their music is infectious and their enjoyment visible. 2017 is surely going to be an exciting year for them.
Another band with a promising year ahead is Blackwater Trading Company. Much like Captain Stingray's Groove Machine, the five piece from Longton are still very much a new band to the local music scene. So new in fact, that this was their first time performing at The Sugarmill, as vocalist Rich Brown stated whilst looking around in awe. Quite naturally, Brown seemed nervous, something that crept out slightly in a couple of songs, but BWTC still wowed the crowd and rocked them slowly. 'By Surprise', 'Still In Love' and 'No End In Sight' were personal favourites, with Brown's vocals echoing around the venue with huge amounts of soul. It's quite clear that BWTC are only going to keep getting bigger, better and stronger, whilst remaining one of the most exciting and inspiring bands on the local scene.
Rounding off the night were headliners Dirty Money No.5. Consisting of Taz on vocals, Nic on bass, Marcus on vocals and guitar, Steve on lead guitar, Tom on drums and Vinnie on turntables, Dirty Money No. 5 are by far one of the most interesting local bands around. Describing themselves as "scratchy ska", the six piece are indeed one of a kind. Their popularity is evident, probably helped by their loveable personalities and high standard of music. Standing on the stage at The Sugarmill, however, the audience were disappointing and I found myself looking around desperately, wondering how it was possible that every single person in that room wasn't having the time of their lives. Dirty Money No. 5 continued to plough through their set with ease and delight, playing tracks 'Bang Bang', 'Rocksteady' and 'Join The Club' with confidence and enjoyment. Vocalist and front woman Taz certainly seemed at ease, dancing around the stage and making the most of her time in front of the audience. Her personality adds so much to Dirty Money No. 5, making them likeable and engaging. As the band came towards the end of their set, performing the funky 'Save Your Lies' and 'Masterplan', one thing was clear: Stoke-on-Trent's music scene is undeniably strong.
With their album release imminent, Dirty Money No. 5 certainly have a busy 2017 ahead of them. Their passion for creating music that is unique and of the highest standard possible is obvious, whilst their groove gives them the edge on other bads of this style. Dirty Money No. 5 are a staple of the local music scene and without them, the world would be a much sadder place.