There’s a somewhat James-McAvoy-in-Split essence to singer Rap Harvey Dent as he creeps on stage and crouches to survey his current captives. Behind him sits session drummer Jake Fogarty. The set begins with the aptly titled ‘Welcome to the Fucking Show’ it’s a fast fusillade of rap against a mighty danceable drumbeat and backing track that has the crowd moving from the off. Describing himself as a weird artist that doesn’t stick to any particular music, he coins the term “Genre fluid,” and explains that he is about to “change things up for heavy stuff” in order to fit the bill for what is yet to come of the night. Keeping this promise, the next songs are much heavier and seem to magnetise people in from the bar area. The drums get fiercer, the rapping turns to sing, tapped out on throat and chest and culminating in shouted words. By the fourth song ‘Face Off’ RHD has completely matched his crowd. There is easy-going banter and nothing seems forced.
This is heavy funky wake-up music which everyone seems to be appreciating. There are elements of Hip-Hop (think King Porter Stomp band but with far fewer members), a Kendrick Lamar vocal cover of ‘DNA’ and even some Urban Poetry thrown in at the end of the song ‘Let It Flow’ as RHD runs across the room, climbs the wall and perches in an alcove at the far end. Whilst at other times the set gets faster and faster with some seriously impressive drums. Jumping and tucking into a ball mid-air, leaping into the crowd, this Australian Artist is energetic and can totally justify that red tracksuit. It’s an avant-garde set and it just so happens that this crowd is up to enjoy it. Find out more at: https://facebook.com/thisissuburban or by searching thisissuburban across all social media.
AS SIRENS FALL
The gothic tones of Nick Cave play out across the PA. By the end of the first verse of ‘Red Right Hand,’ each band member has entered the stage, wearing a quirky dress code of back and yellow with a fair amount of stripes; the band logo and words ‘Not dead yet’ emblazoned across the backs of their jackets. Launching in with an American Pop-Punk sound, the new single ‘We Go Down Together’ (released 8th November 2019) has a very early ‘00s feel to it and a vocal sound/style reminiscent of My Chemical Romance. Singer Mikey Lord rocks a rather enviable sweep of red eyeshadow – very Gerard Way – a golden-red side-swept fringe to compliment, he is big on expression and makes a fabulously animated frontman. The vocals are emotionally charged and he hits an impressive range of smooth high notes whilst retaining a forceful execution. The second song ‘Where You Are’ from the EP The Hospital Party is personalised to Bristol; a nice touch!
Guitarists Adam Doveston and Will Truby (tour) look to be having fun whilst delivering quality tones and providing backing vocals and extra screams where required. It sounds great together and it’s obvious that the audience agrees from the level of applause between songs and cheering during interactions. There is a lot of eyeliner going on with this band, not least with drummer Bailey Roper, who, although somewhat hidden at the back of the stage, makes his presence known with his heavy solid beats, complimented by bearded bass player Jason Doveston, who comes to the front of stage throughout the set, psyching the audience up and mouthing along meaningfully to the lyrics. Party song ‘State Of The Artist’ also from The Hospital Party is dedicated to Bristol and to Sumo Cyco for having them on their tour. Featuring playful guitars, lots of aggressive yet melodic vocals, whoops and yells, this song has it all, including a breakdown as a perfect vocal interlude, with every band member moving in time.
Steadying himself with one finger on the beam above (this is a shallow room and the jumping without injury tonight is a small miracle) ML casually sips his tea whilst encouraging the audience to each hug the person beside them ready for the final song. The crowd are kneaded, malleable and ready to roll. This band from Keighley, Yorkshire, have more than hit their warm up criteria and are well worth checking out. Find out more at: https://www.assirensfall.co.uk/
Standing modestly in the audience, wearing a blue t-shirt and sipping an iced drink via a striped paper straw whilst waiting to take to stage, Singer Skye ‘Sever’ Sweetnam has the appearance of a stunning blend of Gwen Stefani and the Tank Girl comic book character. This is ramped right up to Lori Petty Tank-Girl style proportions as she sheds the blue to reveal a white hand-decorated cropped-topped dungaree affair with seatbelt-style clips. The words ‘Brace Yourself’ and a triple X are written across it in black. She dances on to the stage ready to deliver ‘Love You Wrong’ this is a relatively new song which they are hoping will make it on to the new album. The music is a beat of Funky Metal, Punky Screams, some beautifully Melodic vocals, a satisfying serving of Growls and a LOT of bounce. The ambience is highly charged, the audience is beaming and there’s excitement all-round.
Matt Trozzi sits behind his drum kit, wearing a customised Butcher Babies t-shirt, sporting a Mohican braid, spinning those sticks and having a party all of his own. Far from detached, however, as SSS does a great job of gelling not only the band members together but the audience, also. Matt ‘MD13’ Drake’s guitar playing is exceptional which is no mean feat, considering the level of alcohol he’s imbibing on stage and his near-constant pirouetting. “I’m feeling good already!” he declares as they launch into ‘Free Yourself’ from the Opus Mar album. Bass player Oscar Anesetti pulls off an impressive front-of-stage solo in this song.
“You wanna hear a new song?” teases MD13. There is a resounding “Yes!” Trozzi kicks off with an all-smiling tongue-out drumfest and the bass & guitar riffs provide a steady momentum. The band are taking us all on a trip with ‘This Dance is Doomed’ another treat from the upcoming album. SS raps slows it down and then gets back to windmill headbanging that stunning lilac and fluorescent yellow ponytail of hers. As a frontwoman, she is amazing, cheerfully whipping it up and commanding the dance. She gestures with her hands and controls the audience volume during their sing back parts. The audience is enthralled as she motions them forward during the song ‘Crowd Control’ from the album Lost in Cyco City so that she can fall backwards and crowd surf from the stage to the wild dancefloor mosh pit, all whilst still singing in perfect tune.
With a stonking 18 song set, Sumo Cyco comes at the crowd like a freight train delivering the goods, playing their hearts out and vibing off of one another. Once you’ve heard them, you’re hooked. This is their first time headlining a Bristol gig. It certainly won’t be their last. There’s a lot of bonding with the crowd and lots of smiling all-round. This band are what music needs, friendly and happy they have nothing to hide and a good deal to share. The gratitude and enjoyment from both sides of the gig is intense. Find out more at: http://sumocyco.com/ and then tell your friends to check them out as well; they’ll thank you for it!
Love You Wrong
Go Go Go
This Dance is Doomed
Passengers/ The Ugly
Run with the Giants
Review: Suzi Bootz
Photography: Emma Painter