LIVE: Johnny Truant @ The Sugarmill, Stoke (09/12/2008)

Date: December 9th, 2008
Venue: The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Support: Mountains Became Machines, Blackhole
Website: None available


2008 has seen many great alternative rock and metal bands split up, including Reuben, Midasuno, and now metalcore stars Johnny Truant from Brighton. Announcing their final ever headlining tour across the UK for December, Johnny Truant need to kick up their usual performance standards up a few notches for self-respect and honour, and to go out in style.

Manchester’s Mountains Became Machines (**) are the opening act for the band’s last show at The Sugarmill club in Stoke, and you couldn’t get much further from a suitable act to play alongside Johnny Truant considering their style. An approximate 30 minute set consisting of mainly instrumental songs and instrumentation that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere, Mountains Became Machines aren’t a very explosive act to help get the crowd warmed up from their entrance off the cold winter streets. A bed sheet is placed behind the band too, with video clips introducing and playing alongside their setlist – an interesting idea, but one that just doesn’t work, and is absent of the elements needed for a splitting band’s support act for the crowd.

Things are a bit more lively and exciting once Blackhole (***) bring their cards to the table. Sadly the room is a little empty when the band take to the stage, receiving very little communication when they try to interact with the few people actually present. Regardless, the band still give off a charisma not found in many young acts today, and creating a hardcore punk/metal sound similar to that of Gallows, one much more suited to that for the soon to be dead Johnny Truant, and playing a show that they should be proud of, despite the low crowd presence that’s turned up. Proof that a little bit of effort always counts.

It’s not long before the main act and main reason for crowd turnout tonight Johnny Truant (****) come to tear up The Sugarmill one last time before they disappear. Again, the crowd level hasn’t increased much for the headliners, but still the band give the crowd of fans everything they have on offer, going through a set of songs including ‘A Day In The Death’, and ‘Fog Lights’. Their brutally heavily yet at times beautifully melodic metalcore sound is one to both anger yet excite and energise the latter. They close things off with one of their more popular numbers, ‘The Bloodening’, bringing to life even the few on the dancefloor who’ve only came along to see a band off one last time, bringing the start of a late awakened send-off for a band that deserves to be in better places.

It’s a shame to see such a talented act go, but on the brightside; this isn’t necessarily the ultimate end for Johnny Truant, and doesn’t close off the possibility for a reformation a few years further down the line.

Written by Zach Redrup