First up was Jack Trainer, who performed solo with a rhythm guitar. However, there was a backing in place of pre recorded drum and guitar mixtures that formed the music behind Jack’s guitar. It was quite a bizarre and ballsy experiment but worked quite well as Jack displayed his vocal and guitar talents, with such songs as ‘An American Friend’ and ‘English Life’. It would be interesting to see how he would fare with a full band behind him that enhanced the overall sound live.
Almost immediately after this set, ‘Freedom of the City’ appeared, an indie/rock band from Manchester. They opened with their first track and I immediately stood up and took notice as it sounded similar to an ‘Oasis’ track with the fast paced rock n roll guitar and attitude in the singing, which sounded fantastic. From there, the songs quietened in pace and turned to a more indie sound, similar to most. There were a couple of fast paced songs left in the show and I felt that ‘FOTC’ thrived when performing this type of lively track, bringing back the energy of the mid 1990s.
Thirdly, ‘Twin Planets’ took to the stage and their formal dress sense of shirts and ties with hairstyles that resembled Morrissey’s is something that I’ve never quite been able to comprehend with any band. Once again, this was a band from the North of England (Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds) and their music was modern indie, similar to ‘Bloc Party or ‘Editors’, but there was no real differentiation that separated them from any other generic indie band that is in the mainstream.
With the support acts done and dusted, the ever growing crowd, predominately built up of ‘The Suzukis’ entourage, settled in awaiting their entrance. They came on to a typical northern roar and immediately launched into ‘Are You Happy With Yourself?” instantly arousing the crowd with this “in yer face” track. Frontman Chris Veasey seduced the crowd with his intensity. He screams the lyrics with such ferocity that it was difficult to take your eyes off him. All the while, his eyes transformed to some possessed demon that pop out as he snarls, almost force feeding you the lyrics, leaving the crowd fearful. Veasey’s actions, coupled with the music provided by Adam Bamford on guitar, Robert Warnes on bass and Stuart Robinson on drums all came together for a very powerful and energised performance that resembled a combination of a ‘Sex Pistols’ vs. ‘Nirvana’ vs. ‘The Stooges’ onslaught of cult music. Their second track was ‘Built In’ and I was hypnotised with the guitar and pedal work of Bamford as he conjured up a very psychotic and dark vibe, as if it was the overture to a killer on the loose, creating a profound sense of dread that was unique, yet beautifully performed despite the darkness.
The energy didn’t cease once, if anything, the crowd grew wilder as the moshing began, with one member jumping on stage, eventually crashing to the floor. I recently wrote a piece about the ‘Death of the Rock Star’, (http://www.mudkiss.com/deathoftherockstar.htm) stating that the controversial antics and the stage presence had been lost in recent years. I am proud to announce that there is a hope. Veasey possesses all the characteristics a front man should. His facial expressions alone let you know how passionate he is, and with his work with the mic stand, connection with the audience and a typical northern wit, he is certainly one that is born for this position. Sometimes, you can see him in that zone where the look on his face is so intense that you daren’t get in his way, giving him that certain northern edge that is rare these days in music. The adrenaline within the venue was electric as they sifted through their debut album. These lads certainly had something to say and they played like they were demanding to get their point across.
I was surprisingly impressed by ‘The Suzukis’ and they were a breath of fresh air in so many ways. I do believe that they are a band that sounds better live because the raw energy and anger can be put across in a different way that’s not been tampered with in a studio. With so many bands seemingly controlled, it’s clear that ‘The Suzukis’ wouldn’t allow that to happen, and that makes me fearful whether someone has the capability to take them further whilst leaving their attitude and rock n roll behaviour in tact, without attempting to break their spirit. In addition, there are a couple of reviews that have already criticized their conduct and manner. That leads me to believe that the concept of their music is not totally understood or tolerated by certain moguls in the industry, but while there is still an audience with as much passion and intensity, as seen in The Roadhouse, they do have a benchmark and the support that could force their launch to bigger and better endeavours.
Review by Nigel Cartner
Photos by James Butterworth