THE TORCH – The Underground, Hanley, 09/12/2016

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SUPPORT: Bonsai, West Pier, Jupiter’s Beard

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Stoke-on-Trent music scene has had a fantastic 2016, and what better way to cover my last gig of the year than to go to one of the city’s respected music venues and see four local bands who have truly made their mark.

Jupiter’s Beard were first up, playing a mix of original tracks taken from their forthcoming EP and covers, which included a sublime version of Oasis classic ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’.

Next on to the stage were West Pier, whose set was interestingly half acoustic, half electric, which they seemed to pull off effectively, even though I did hear one or two groans amongst the patrons when they began to play a cover of a Justin Bieber track.

Even though Bieber is considered public enemy number one by the majority of proper music lovers, the four-piece performed the song well, making it their own and turning something rather mediocre into a good listen.

Bonsai, the final support of the night, are a talented outfit who I have had the pleasure of seeing live on a number of occasions this year, and every time, there has been a noticeable improvement, and this was no exception, with them playing what was their best set to date.

I really think that 2017 could be their breakthrough year, they already have all the necessary ingredients, a great sound, talented musicians and a rarity in music these days, a charismatic frontman in Chris Hough.

The majority of the females in the audience seemed to be enjoying it, when Chris did his now obligatory stage dive, some of them took the chance to eagerly grab the shirt off his back.

Headliners The Torch are another local fledging band that are tipped to go on to bigger and better things, and after seeing their performance, it would be difficult to disagree.

Despite the fact that some of the members may have somewhat overindulged in the liquid refreshment department, it certainly didn’t seem to affect them.

They wowed the crowd with their fast-paced, guitar-led indie rock sound with a few punk elements thrown in.

Towards the closure of proceedings, some members of the audience began to jump up on to the stage and join in, which in what seemed like a matter of seconds, had developed into a mini stage invasion, which was probably a health and safety officer’s worst nightmare.

Stoke-on-Trent is not normally a city you would associate with having a booming music scene, but after seeing so many immensely talented local bands this year, these four included, it is safe to say that at the moment, it is enjoying very rude health, and it should only get stronger in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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