Date: March 26th, 2018
Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
It’s a mild March night in London that see’s Sumo Cyco roll into town on the penultimate date of this tour. There’s already a queue forming outside the venue when I arrive and it’s not long before I’m inside and waiting for the first band of the evening, Midwich Cuckoos.
Bit of a strange name and I wasn’t sure what to expect given that I’d not seen these guys before. It turns out that the band was formed following a collaboration experiment and while they’re now based in London as far as I know, they had help from all over the place!
They play what could be described as a mixture of punk and metal with a big singalong choruses thrown in for good measure. It’s an attractive mix to be honest!
While the performance lacks a little of the polish of the other bands on the bill this evening there is no doubting the energy and enthusiasm. Singer Valencia belts out song after song, while mainman Patch knocks out the riffs.
It’s a short but definitely enjoyable set and one to watch for the future to see how the band develops.
Next up on the bill are Skarlett Riot. I last saw these guys in 2015 and since then they have grown in all areas and the music has taken a turn to the heavier side of metal.
The powerhouse drumming of Luke Oglesby propels the songs forward at a pace and the whole band just sounds squeaky tight. Chloe ‘Skarlett’ Drinkwater is on form too, and it’s not long before she has the appreciative crowd eating out of her hand.
Considering there is only a single guitar, the sound is full and heavy as hell. Top marks to the BMR for a very competent sound system here too. Opener “Break” with its catchy chorus and breakneck start sets the bar high for the rest of the set.
“The Storm” sees some more heavy duty double bass drum work. Stand in bass player Tim Chambers looks very much at home too (you’d certainly not place him as a temporary replacement for sure).
The set is taken primarily from the latest album, Regenerate with only “Empty Inside” and “The Wounded” making it in from the previous album, Sentience.
All in a all a very strong performance and finishing off with “The Wounded” with its killer riffing and then “Warrior” marks Skarlett Riot as a band on the up with a clear vision about where they want to go.
And so the Sumo Cyco from Toronto, Canada. This is a band that really does defy anyone to pigeonhole them into a specific genre. They’re kind of a bit punk, a bit groovey, a bit metal, a lot of guitar… They like big sing-along choruses, they all have slightly tongue in cheek nicknames and when they’re on a stage together they look like they’re enjoying themselves as much as the audience!
Anyway, drummer “Trozzi” starts the intro from behind his kit, guitarist “MD13” straps on his guitar and bass player “Thor” enters the stage sporting a glass of beer. So the music starts and it’s not long before vocalist “Sever” arrives on the stage to complete the lineup.
Starting with “Sleep Tight” from the latest album, Opus Mar sets the tone for a show chocced full of great songs and wakes the audience up following the short lull after Skarlett Riot when the drum kit needed to be rebuilt.
“Anti-Anthem” follows with its great singalong lines and its not long before I’m soaked in beer from somewhere at the back of the venue! Likewise, it’s not too long before the crowd surfers start too, although, weirdly, most just surf around on the crowd without ever making it to the stage… one does however and has a bit of a sing song before joining her mates again. Matt Drake is dripping sweat in a venue that has now become a proper sweatbox!
The vocals of Skye “Sever” Sweetnam are perfect for the music, sometimes soothing, sometimes razor sharp. She is the perfect front person too, commanding from the stage like some general commanding their troops in battle.
Before long she is on the shoulders of guitarist Matt “MD13” Drake and they’re out in the audience, while still playing and singing! Eventually Drake makes it back to the stage, leaving the vocalist at the back of the venue, still singing. Eventually she surfs herself back to the stage to rejoin the rest of the band. The crowd laps it all up…
Ken ‘Thor’ Corke on bass and “Trozzi” on drums do a fantastic job of holding the chaos together, providing a rock solid platform for everyone else to build on. Corkes bass style is worthy of note too, he looks so laid back playing that you’d be forgiven for thinking he was in need of a very long sleep but the sounds he creates put paid to any doubts you may have about his playing, this is a man who knows his way around the bass!
There’s so many classic songs throughout the set, “Fighter”, “My Name is Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Passenger”. Each one with huge hooks and really catchy choruses. They also throw in “Give it Away” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The set comes to a close with “Move Mountains” where we’re encouraged en masse to drop to our knees and then come to life at the appropriate moment in the song, once again Sweetnam has the audience eating out of her hand. Drake and Corke also get low on the stage and the scene is set!
Before long Drake is up on the PA stack which looks ever so slightly precarious but he makes it down unscathed! Set closer is “Undefeated”, which is a new song (there is a video out for it but that’s it). It rocks along and makes for a good feeling about future material and then, as quick as it started, the gig is over.
Sumo Cyco return for one last song before the gig is really over though! I leave the venue with a massive grin on my face, this is one of those gigs that you leave feeling good about things! Sumo Cyco are a great band with some ace killer songs but live they absolutely smash it. Definitely try to catch them when they next venture to the UK, you will not be disappointed!