Bleached Wail/Sumo Kings (The Box, 25-Jun-2009)

Last night I found myself singing “Your tea in your Eeyore”, with lyrics like that, who else could it be but the Sumo Kings? Like an anarchist democracy, it’s hard to say who’s the lead, with each of the Sumos getting their moment in the sun. I glance from Sumo to Sumo, trying to capture all that’s happening on-stage, from Jay’s whirl of fierce drumming; to Faz in his trademark hoodie, bantering with the crowd; from Steve’s staccato, percussive guitar distortions onto Ad’s steadfast bass, which allows the others to fly. Steve and Faz really crank-up the guitar action during the bridges and you can feel the kinetic energy in the room build and build, finally releasing loyal fans and new-comers alike to go mad. Despite the unfortunate lack of a soundcheck, the Sumos’ irrepressible energy and raw talent stands out a mile.

Next-up were the justifiably hyper Bleached Wail, a trio hailing, or should that be wailing (Er, no. Ed.) from Alsager. The name comes from Gus’ description of his early singing voice, but I’m happy to say his voice is in full Technicolor, its power literally lifting him to his toes as he sings. Gus is complemented by Floody, who moves around the stage like an over-wound toy finding ecstatic release, and Nick on drums keeps it all together, resembling a creative Brazilian defender.

There’s a real sense of dialogue between Gus’ lead guitar and Floody’s bass, the unruly guitar licks ramping-up the crowd and I bet, each other, spurring them onto ever-greater musical peaks. And the dialogue expands, with Floody’s vocals chipping-in like a wisecracking sidekick. Inspired by diverse influences like the film Highlander as well as favourite books, Bleached Wail’s backbeat rhythms have the crowd moving in no time, with loyal fans singing lyrics right back at them.

If you like gutsy indie with gnomic lyrics, get yourself to the Sumo Kings’ next gig, 24th July at Manchester’s Roadhouse and do watch-out for them re-appearing at The Box. If you want to surf Bleached Wail’s mayhem tide, before it becomes a nationwide tsunami, catch them at the Underground in Stoke-on-Trent on 3rd July. I expect they’ll be back at The Box as it’s one of their favourite venues. The Sumos were also full of praise for the Crewe music scene and venues including The Box, and called on all us local music fans to get out and enjoy what’s on our doorstep.

Guest review by Mhairi Gordon.


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