Arriving tonight I was honestly expecting a four band night and so was surprised to find another act brought in to open the ceremonies tonight.
It came in the rather shy form of Sheffield’s Scarlet, a solitary female figure dressed all in red; I was assuming that went with her stage name, who pretty much sang a collection of songs to a series of backing tracks. The songs themselves were a variety of styles ranging from gentle melodies to more beat driven dance tracks, one track in particular was very popular with the crowd and that was called ‘I Cry’. It was essentially one of the more danceable songs she came out with and had the advantage of being both catchy in rhythm and lyrically memorable.
Now bearing in mind that this was her first ever gig…or so I was informed, she did come across as quite nervous and shy, an obvious sign of this was that she remained pretty rigid throughout her performance, although she didn’t fluff her lines at all!
The music itself had a very Euro pop sound to it, if I didn’t know any better I would have placed her as being East European in origin, and as someone pointed out she was dressed like a Cheeky Girl, but it was an interesting start to the night, and should not to be knocked at all….I mean look how well The Cheeky Girls did in the end!
Q Ship were up next and they’d brought quite a crowd with them, the fact that lead singer Tom Ireland was now making a name for himself around town in sister Emily’s band no doubt had a bit to do with this. Even so this doesn’t detract from the fact that both he and the group of musicians around him were indeed quite a talented bunch!
With an interesting take on progressive indie they seemed to do no wrong as the crowd applauded every song that came their way, opening with ‘A Question So Wide’ Tom extolled his skill on guitar while all around him the band remained a tight and formidable unit. So it came as quite a surprise on the second song ‘Today’ that he swapped his guitar for a keyboard.
Switching back and forth during the set certainly gave the band a varied and interesting set…though I must confess it was the general guitar work on ‘Conmen’ which really appealed to me as they threw in a few riffs from Led Zep’s ‘Heartbreaker’, a band I’ll always hold in high esteem.
It was rather surprising to see that they only performed a 25 minute set as it was more than obvious that the crowd would have happily settled for more, but on asking Tom after the set he simply pointed out “It’s better leaving the crowd wanting more!”
Resonate (a band that just seem to get better everytime I see them) were up next and after their successful show at The Guinness Tent I was eager to see what they had in store tonight! I was pleasantly surprised to see a varied set as many bands stick to the same old thing for a while…but I’m guessing with the recent introduction of Nikitta then they’ve seriously re-thought their stage strategy.
Still no complaints I have to say, as in such a short space of time, they have become a lot tighter as a group and bounce well off each other, especially the banter and frolicking between Alex and Nikitta up front. Alex on guitar was outstanding and the whole drum and bass thump at the back pull it together seamlessly, I think the contrast in vocals really works brilliantly. Alex has quite a cutting tone to his voice while Nikitta balances this out with a more subdued harmony, meanwhile at the back of the stage is Mark Pereira, who is more than just a token drummer as he keeps the whole show rolling with a steady stream of thundering beats.
They gave us a new song to wet our appetites, ‘Old Habits Die Harder’, a good solid number, but unfortunately the party was soon over as they wound up with ‘Lion Pit’, the more I hear these guys, the more I love them, no doubt it won’t be long before I catch them again!
Now it was Sour Cherry, and tonight they were filming their gig…so a huge crowd had gathered for tonight’s performance, therefore it was only fitting they rewarded such loyalty with a good show! Opening with ‘Army’, was perfect as singer Kortni Turner not only was pitch perfect, but threw in a choreographed marching dance.
For me their best song, in part thanks to the choreography, was ‘Gangsta’, not only is it an outstanding track, smooth riffs, a catchy beat and hypnotic lyrics, but it was the subtle swaying dance moves on stage that sold it. They kept this up throughout the entire set, one smooth, bump and grind song flowed into another while Kortni toyed with their fans. Of course all good things must come to an end, but they finished on a high, literally with the song ‘High’ as the floor went ballistic. They were joined on stage by a hip hop rapper for this song, which sent the crowd into an even more euphoric state of rapture…it was a great finale to an outstanding set!
Overall the sound was a lot heavier and decidedly more beat driven then I remember them being, and the crowd lapped up every note as they jumped, bounced, stomped and danced to everything that was thrown at them! Every now and then you end up at a gig that is just exploding with atmosphere; tonight that feeling was the creation and pulsing drive of Sour Cherry, a night I can honestly say I was honoured to witness!
This Party Kills had the top slot tonight, comprising of singer Sophie and guitarist Dougie, originally they were a three piece with Paddy on keys, but now they’ve taken the whole backing tracks concept to a new level as we are blasted out with a multi layered programming soundtrack.
In no way does this actually detract from the actual power behind the vocals, as lyrically Sophie has always had the emotional capacity in her voice to transmit any feeling that is asked of her. This is epitomized brilliantly in the track ‘Get Out’, a very moving and personal song about a broken relationship; you can almost feel yourself being emotionally drained at the anguish and pain she feels throughout, and the fact that Sophie collapses on the final note really sums up the whole performance.
Not all their tracks were about backing tracks as ‘Alright For Now’ had more of a guitar lead, while ‘Always’ was simply sang against a delicate piano track. But they did finish on a more upbeat note as the song ‘Always With’ boomed out around the room. And whilst it may not have had the theatrical impact of Sour Cherry it was still a good set, I found myself easily singing along to most of it, so was well happy after tonight’s entertainment!
Words & Photos by Geoff Buckthorpe