The Albion At The Sugarmill Reviewed

Bethan Shuff || 27th April

New bands are springing up all the time in Stoke, and on Friday, The Sugarmill saw two brand spanking new bands enter the scene, and well as welcomed an old one back with open arms.

First on the stage was Marquee, a band you would never have known were making their debut appearance after less than two months of playing together. Kieran Breese has played guitar for a few other bands in Stoke, like The Torch and Alma, but put a microphone in front of him and he becomes more than just a musician; he’s a front man. Breese engaged with his audience between their high-energy indie originals, and some unusual covers with The Hives – Hate To Say I Told You So and The Strokes – Trying Your Luck, pulling off some pretty iconic songs effortlessly. ‘Avin a good night? T’orayt yeah?’ Breese conversed with the crowd in a true stokie way. During the odd track, Calum Lightfoot would put down his guitar and step up to the mic; his voice is suited to higher pitched tracks, whereas Kieran’s vocals are lower. They make the transition seamlessly, Kieran moving to the side to really show off on guitar whilst Calum sings the softer song like ‘Do What You Need’ and ‘Common Picture’. Their original tracks are fuelled by 90s/00s indie riffs, with Ben Murray’s intricate drumming and Josh Loynes rocky basslines adding a heavier element with the distorted guitars.

Last weekend at The Underground, Misovia made their debut appearance at the Your City festival, pulling in quite a crowd for a 3.30pm set. Their second appearance for The Sugarmill was a much more polished and confident set. Opening the set with a seven minute instrumental piece, yes, seven minutes of alt-rock; a track which sounds like three separate tracks with its constantly changing time signatures that keeping you excited. ‘Untitled 5’ is a rollercoaster slowing down then crashing into drops, with guitarists Jake Ferchal and Charlie Ball keeled over their guitars playing their fingers to the bone, Sam Johnson muttering into the mic, and Rich Needham quickening the drum pace until it’s all over, and the band finally introduce themselves. Taking inspiration from more technical bands, like Toska, Misovia are aiming for a more prog-rock, experimental sound, and are nailing it. A Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ cover of By The Way was thrown into the set, the lads mastering Frusciante’s guitar and adding their own twist to instrumentals. Misovia are breaking boundaries and daring to break the rules of modern guitar music and experimental rock.

The Albion made their mighty return on the scene at The Exchange last month, supporting Release, but made their first headline back a big one at The Sugarmill. All dressed in patterned shirts, The Albion looked the part, and everyone was going to know of their return. A solid set of new and old Albion originals, from ‘Make Up Your Mind’, ‘Bite Your Tongue’ and ‘Life Amongst The Young And Lost’ had the crowd bouncing and singing back to the band. They’d left a handful of EP’s around the edge of the room as a freebie, and I’m confident that they didn’t stay there too long. The 4-piece indie outfit filled their set with a few covers including The Libertines’ ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, which had some great melody vocals from guitarist Joel Campbell, ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ by The Courteeners which always hits the nostalgic spot in every indie kids heart, Arctic Monkeys ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, because in the words of front man Will Carter, ‘what else would you expect from The Albion?’ and ended the set like Catfish and The Bottlemen themselves with ‘Tyrants’. Band mates Kevin McDonald, Joel Campbell and Ryan Roberts joined the crowd on the floor while Will swapped his electric for an acoustic and sung ‘Hiding In The Dark’ alone under a single spotlight on the smoky stage, but the set wasn’t slowed down for long, the second everyone was back on stage the set was back in full swing with full power. The Albion’s return caused a huge buzz, with their classic indie vibe, they’re hard not to love and we’re excited to see what they’ve got next for us.