I imagine that most of you will have an opinion on the VIP experience that seems to be so common at gigs nowadays. Maybe you dislike the concept, maybe you don’t. For me I’m mostly OK with paying for access to bands as long as the experience on offer is fairly priced. With that in mind I stumped up for the VIP for Sumo Cyco’s show in Swansea’s Bunkhouse and I have to admit it was worth every penny. For the best part of half an hour the dozen or so VIPs gathered in the venue’s downstairs bar area were treated to a four song acoustic set and plenty of banter and chat from the band (including vocalist Skye “Sever” Sweetnam doing a hilarious brief bit of country dancing, guitarist Matt “MD13” Drake spilling his - full - pint during the first song and drummer Matt Trozzi playing a child’s toy xylophone with gusto), which really made the experience feel intimate and I believe genuinely made those who were there feel a real connection with the band members, which is kinda the point of this type of thing after all. Top stuff.
So the show proper got started with Swansea’s own I Digress (7) who play a very agreeable (to me anyway) brand of alt-rock. The band in my opinion may be lacking slightly in the stage presence department but they can only improve from this point and they are already off to a good start. I was however slightly disappointed to see that they didn’t actually have anything for sale as I would have happily picked up a copy of their EP if it were available here but alas not, so Spotify will have to do.
Next up were local bruisers Levianth (6) who are celebrating their tenth anniversary as a band, although they haven’t been active for all of those years as they have recently reformed. Their sound is pretty much your straight forward death/thrash a la Arch Enemy or Job For A Cowboy and, as much as I like certain proponents of that style I have to say that on this night Levianth didn’t really grab me. Their sound was good, their set was tight and vocalist Rachel Kate can get guttural with the best of them but something wasn’t quite clicking with me; might be just me though, horses for courses and all that.
And so on to tonight's headliners the aforementioned Sumo Cyco (10). I’ve seen the Canadian punk/dancehall troupe a number of times now and I’ve never seen a bad show – at this point I’m not sure they’re capable of one. Every member seems to play every gig like it’s their last so they’re a huge whirlwind of energy on stage with bassist Oscar Anesetti being particularly enthusiastic on this outing (although admittedly I was standing on Oscar’s side of the stage). It was however Skye who had the audience in the palm of her hand as all good front-people should. Their seventeen (!) song set included a brand new track (which I was given two different titles for, so I’ll stick with This Dance Is Doomed although it’ll probably end up being called something else *nudgenudgewinkwink*) which shows that their knack for crafting great tunes with fantastic choruses remains undiminished and which certainly bodes well for their upcoming yet-to-be-titled third album.
The latter half of their set - which was just over an hour long all told - apparently comprised the songs the band are due to play at this years’ Download Festival where they will be the second band performing on the Kerrang! Avalanche stage on the Friday. Also, as it seems is their tradition the band hung around following the show to chat with fans, sign stuff, pose for photos and so on. They do seem to genuinely love their fanbase, and in return said fanbase loves them back. This fan does anyway.
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