First on stage is Gasoline Thrill who are a woman down this evening as guitarist Martha had to attend to a personal matter. Stepping up to the plate is Dave on guitar and you can tell the band aren’t particularly comfortable with the last minute line-up change. Gasoline Thrill play a sort of punk/hard rock hybrid that’s perfectly serviceable but they needed to bolster their songs with better choruses to give the audience something to latch onto. Their performance was a bit static as well. Vocalist and guitarist Samara began to loosen up as the set went on but the awkward request to get the audience to help sing a part of one of their songs with them was a bit of a strange one. I think most people in the audience were new to the band (as is generally the case with support acts) so the forced crowd participation just felt like the band were clutching at straws in a desperate attempt to win people over. I appreciate being the opening band on a bill is a tough gig, but Gasoline Thrill need to work on making their music more memorable and putting on an engaging performance.
Hearts Under Fire
It was apparent by the end of Hearts Under Fire’s first song why they were chosen as main support. The four ladies played an absolute stormer with their early Fall Out Boy-meets-Paramore shtick and their lead guitarist was just electric to watch. It was great to see such a young band attract some seriously dedicated fans who held onto every word of tonight’s performance. Hearts Under Fire are a seriously tight act with an enormous sound and it’s supported by an absolutely thrilling performance that made for some seriously intense viewing. It says a lot about the band that the moment they finished I rushed to the merch table and bought their EP. I can’t recommend Hearts Under Fire enough. Make sure you see them if they roll through your town in the near future.
It’s quite bizarre to think a band can be inactive for ten years and then come back and play a show and not even be in their thirties yet. Sugarcoma were incredibly young when they were originally active and it just goes to show how good their song-writing was that they can come back tonight (after walking on stage backed with the Jurassic Park theme no less) and get an audience singing and moshing. Sugarcoma might not have been the biggest band in the world but it’s clear they had fans that truly cared about them and when ‘What Goes Around’ kicks in the energy in the room ignites. This was a celebration of a band people really missed and there were some great surprises like the inclusion of ‘Bridges’ and ‘Goodbye Reality’ from the band’s 2004 demo. ‘Bridges’ was particularly special in that it really showcased what a brilliant vocalist Jess actually is as she ventured out of her usual range into something a bit higher which was fascinating to see. There was a bit of an awkward inclusion of ‘Zero Star’ without the rhythm section which resulted in the harmonies sounding off, but this was the only real disappointment of the evening. Sugarcoma’s farewell show felt like a proper send off and it was apparent that the band were doing it simply because they enjoy playing rock music and not because they were trying to make a quick buck like so many “reunion” shows tend to be. Farewell Sugarcoma and thanks for the memories.