Saturday, 1 November 2014

Live Show - Wheatus

Wheatus: Pic by The Sugarmill
Venue: The Sugarmill
Where: Stoke-on-Trent

It's my first gig to The Sugarmill in quite a while and to be honest I do miss the place. I've been going since I was 14, and the past six years have been a blast there hosting some brilliant bands. After I interviewed Brendan of Wheatus, it was a nice feeling to be back interviewing bands - however, I was hoping this gig wouldn't be the kind of gig that the audience would only buy tickets just for one song. I saw SoiL at The Underground and everyone kept shouting "Halo!" to be playing after every song they did. The bands I went to see are a touring family from Brooklyn in America, so I was expecting a pretty laid back show. Having a full American line up was quite exciting to me, as you mainly get line ups like that at bigger gigs playing at places like the Civic Hall or some shit.

The first band to make an appearance are called Late Cambrian. They are an alternative band who have clear influences from the likes of UK indie bands like Arctic Monkeys. They gave a great performance, which wasn't too interactive with the crowd, but everyone still enjoyed their music. It was happy and bouncing, even if the backing vocal mics were slightly quiet on a few occasions. The song "Ryan Gosling" got a few wolf whistles from the ladies in the crowd, and when played it got a few nodding heads as well. These are a band who will go quite far depending on the exposure they get. They also sold out all their shirts at the end and were barely holding onto CDs.

Next on the stage is Gabrielle Sherbenz. She's a member of the backing vocal section of Wheatus, so watching her doing a solo act was very interesting. It wasn't the pop punk we know and love of Wheatus, instead it was quite soft with kind of cheesy ballads. Her voice was great and sounds pure when she starts singing in French. Gabrielle uses the French accent perfectly and makes the soft ballad music fall in to a nice state of relaxation. However, the crowd seemed to be distant from her music, as there were conversations everywhere on the floor during her performance. As much as I did enjoy her music, her interaction with the crowd made her seem quite shy. She spoke to the audience, but it didn't feel like she was speaking to us as an audience, but then again, half of the people there were waiting for "Teenage Dirtbag" to be played later on in the night.

MC Frontalot was on stage next and he gave the audience a much needed energy boost. He was joined by Miss Eaves who added some sass to the live set. The music and songs were spot on, the music was coming from a backing track whilst rapping begun. The crowd engagement wasn't exactly the best, but everyone still enjoyed MC Frontalot's music. "First World Problem" sounds even better with Miss Eaves on the vox, with "Spoiler Alert" also coming onto the setlist. Miss Eaves got to play one of her songs and sounded great, though her microphone wasn't helping with trying to listen to what she was singing.

And finally, Wheatus take to the stage to give the crowd what they were waiting for... "Teenage Dirtbag". Of course they can't just play for one song though, we have classics like "Leroy", "Hey", "Mrs Brown" and their infamous cover of Erasure's "A Little Respect" to get through first. Wheatus sounded excellent besides one technical fuck up with Brendan's guitar amp, which was played through music software on what I assumed was his laptop. Vocally they were spot on aswell, the high pitched, puberty destroying voice that everyone knows and loves lights the crowd up to make them feel young again. The backing vocals were barely heard through half of their set, the backing vocals were bang on key when you could hear them, but to be honest the microphones haven't been spot on with sound all night. One highlight of my evening was the cover of "The Trees" by Rush. That was the best Rush cover I have ever heard, excellent and completely out of the blue.Whilst the songs were bashing out, "Lemonade" made an appearance and it was a joy to hear, and then the night ended with "Teenage Dirtbag", with guest MC'ing from MC Frontalot and Miss Eaves to make it drag on for a bit before the last part of the song.

There was plenty of excitement in the audience, even if it was for one song, everybody still enjoyed their time with Wheatus, and "Only You", their new song, even got a few nods of appreciation from the crowd. All four acts were superb, but Wheatus did stand out, as everyone would expect.
~Matthew Clewley

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