PUNK ROCKERS RELEASE SUPPORT IDLES AT THE SUGARMILL TONIGHT AFTER HUGE HEADLINE SHOW
Emily Jones || 3rd April
Friday 24th March saw four acts take to the stage at The Exchange, in an evening of live music and local talent, hosted by Rebel Bear Precinct.
Acoustic soloist Alex Webb opened up the night, performing a range of covers that spanned a range of different genres. His powerful vocals dominated the room, spreading out across the audience like a fog, attracting the attention of everyone that walked through the door. His set was engaging, including a cover of Gwen Stefani’s ‘Sweet Escape’ as well as ‘Delilah’ by Tom Jones, which naturally received the most audience participation. Although only young, Alex Webb appears to have a substantial future ahead of him. He’s certainly one to watch.
Next up were The Moods, a nine-piece (yes, NINE-piece) electro driven hiphop band from Manchester. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people crammed onto a stage before, least of all at The Exchange, but somehow they all managed to squeeze on with room to spare. Their sound was unique, especially amongst the Stoke music scene and their music grew on the audience as their set progressed. With RBP continuing to book at least one out of town act per show, bands such as The Moods can build on their fanbase and attract new listeners. They appeared to do just that on Friday, as they bounded around the stage with energy and spark, encouraging listeners to come closer and experience their sound as best as they could.
The final support for the night was The Albion, a local four piece no frills indie rock band. It was a welcome return for the band, who were last seen on the scene back in 2015 before disappearing into the musical abyss. But like a phoenix from the flames, the boys reappeared again in January of this year with a new lineup and new gig announcements. They were on form on Friday night, with frontman Will Carter acknowledging their absence before playing ‘Illusions’, ‘Make Up Your Mind’ and ‘Life Amongst The Young And Lost’, as well as a brand new song which Carter dedicated to “anyone having a bad time at the moment”. It was evident by the crowd’s reaction that The Albion had been missed. Although their sound is no further from where it was two years ago, the band seem to have gained a maturity and passion that wasn’t evident in their previous live performances. From here, the only way for The Albion is up.
After watching their killer final show of 2016 at The Sugarmill last December, it seemed that Release could take on the world. They definitely had a lot to live up to, but when they took to the stage a little after 10pm, the five-piece were unfazed - or possibly unaware - by the challenge. Vocalist Caleb Allport warmed up the crowd with their opening track, making everyone sit down on the cold, sticky floor of the downstairs room of The Exchange, before building back up to bring everyone sky high. Their set was like a punch to the gut, consisting of old favourites ‘C U Next Time’ and ‘Neat Seat’, as well as ‘The Inevitable’, which won Best Single at the Music Awards of Staffordshire and Cheshire last month. And it’s easy to see why. Jack Mitchell’s haunting violin, which has since become a defining element of their sound, completely transforms the song. His talent is by no means drowned out, by the sometimes overbearing weight of the rest of the band, but rather enhances their set and helps them float freely between different emotions and feelings. In the final few moments of their set, Release were flying high and so were the crowd. As the band wrapped up their finishing number, Allport took a moment to address the crowd and thank them for their continued support. “It makes my day every time you turn up” he said, wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand, the gratitude visible on his face.
As the sweaty crowd piled out of the venue and into the night, Alex Webb, The Moods, The Albion, Release and RBP could look back with pride, on an evening that was by all means a success.
Watch the music video to Release's The Inevitable below, which won Best Single at February's Music Awards of Staffordshire & Cheshire.