Leaf Tea Shop
Sat 16th March
When a venue is packed out with an expectant crowd, eager to see ‘The Next Big Thing’/ ‘Buzz Band’ of the moment in “Strypes” what is a support act to do? In this instance ‘The Sugarmen” took it in there stride. Excited and energized to play in front of such a wealthy crowd on only their 2nd gig, this young band did not disappoint.
Sugarmen have the sound of a band that has a record collection, a JukeBox that should be touring. But like any great artist, they have the ability to be inspired by what they have listened too. That great riff from Orange Juice, that great bassline from Macartney, that great drumbeat from massive attack and vocal to fill a stadium. They don’t work in a cultural vacuum. They have a magic ingredient, a special recipe, they have each other, a chemistry that can’t be bought.
Fronted by the charming and assured Luke Fenlon, The Sugarmen (titled with an obvious nod to cult folk/rock legend Sixto Rodrigues) showcased a blistering set of upbeat, guitar lead, power pop. Songs littered with more hooks than a trout farm after a long days angling. They are guilty of cultural shoplifting but in a way which should be applauded, this is the sound of a band whose education is there bellowing out of the PA. Each chord chosen because their studies have discovered it. Each melody sang because history has given them knowledge. They are catchy, they are infectious, musical measles you want to catch. Imagine if Orangejuice, the Postal Service, Velvet Underground and The Clash became a fantasy band, well you’re looking at it.
Massive choruses have the audience punch the air in appreciation. Heart felt delivery of their 2nd song ‘Nothing But Respect’ has a packed room reeled in. And there’s still another six to get through yet, each as memorable as the last. Fenlon’s astute lyrical content hanging nicely on a pop sensibility.
By their closing number The Sugarmen have definitely made their mark. The positive message held within the anthemic ‘This is my Life (and its alright)’ left the crowd buzzing and more than warmed up for the headliners. As they leave the stage, an excited Chris Difford (Squeeze) pulls Luke to one side and tells him they are amazing. I think I’m looking into the future as I watch The Sugarmen’s walk to the bar interrupted by well wishers and fans who want a photo with them.
As a 2nd gig, and support slots goes, this was a blistering performance, raising the attention and cheers of a privileged audience indeed.
Sugarmen. As sweet as the name suggests…