Date: September 26th, 2010
Venue: The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Support: Lower Than Atlantis, The River Card, Talk Is Cheap
Website: None available
Naming their co-headline tour after the Shane Meadows’ film This Is England, both TRC and Lower Than Atlantis are bands with the appearance and message to suit such a name. At least much more so than a lot of todayâ€™s underground British bands. With the Norwich crowd the night before causing enough anarchy to literally pull down the venueâ€™s ceiling, the bar is set high for both the bands and the crowd in Stoke to step up to.
Unfortunately we were unable to cover openers and local act Talk Is Cheap due to other press related restraints, though their pop-punk like style heard from outdoors during an interview sounded delightful.
Another Stoke-based act were chosen to help warm the crowd up into things, and The River Card (***) were a brilliant choice to do that. Their hardcore punk style was hard hitting and tight, and sounded much like the younger brother of the headliners to follow, with a few lessons to learn from it’s elders but definitely influenced. A group of hardcore dancers throwing themselves about and running up to scream into the mic shows these boys are local favourites, and provided a great send off for what was bassist Tom‘s last show with the band.
First of the double headline bill Lower Than Atlantis (****) are a much more accessible face on the whole hardcore punk scene, adding more sing-a-long moments and alt rock aspects into their sound. Songs like ‘B.O.R.E.D.’ and ‘Far Q’ are made much rawer and edgier than they come across on record, and get a fair amount of crowd response via sing backs, getting a hold of Mike Duce‘s microphone still attached to the stand and of course some casual jumping about. From their though it’s sad to see little response from the Stoke fans despite Lower Than Atlantis‘ constant efforts for reaction. Regardless the unveiling of a new track shows a sneak peek into what could well be an upcoming breaking album for the young Watford blokes.
Sound levels are at their most intense and visceral for the night’s headliners TRC (***) screaming, shouting and generally making an almighty riot. They’re kind of like earlier act The River Card except on steroids and during their period, made all the more sweaty and energetic on stage with their dual vocal approach to things. It’s a shame the energy isn’t recreated offstage, with a large majority of the crowd simply just watching the London punks, and rarely even responding to any attempt of audience interaction unless near forced to. Sometimes their constant screaming with little variation between tracks makes for it a little harder to get into completely, but none the less fun is had… even if wasn’t shown in the slightest by the most part of the crowd there. Pity.
Written by Zach Redrup