Sugarmill 22nd June. Elly Kingdon, The Taskers, Ben Owen and Aaron Mobberley.
It may not have been a sell out gig but it was a massive turn out. By the end of the night it was clear that the people who attended were there to witness Aaron’s first ever headlining gig.
First thing that was noticed was the quirky stage set up of all things that you could find on a stage there were two plastic dinosaurs, someone’s good luck item? Don’t know but that mystery was never found out.
Elly Kingdon scribbling down her set list on the back of a scrunched up receipt was told she was ready to go on. Her quirky dress sense and personality was shown from the moment she stepped on the stage. After every song she gave a cheeky little “thank you” which shows she really was grateful for the audience being there. As it was Elly’s first gig at the Sugarmill after 3 years, the majority of the people there hadn’t heard of her before so they all stood in silence just glaring as she told stories before every song. They were interesting and it was like a blurb before the lyrics of the song. Her voice in every song was unique and its one that people will memorize. Before she hands the stage over to The Taskers she points out she has an EP available and it is “limited edition”. As soon as she stepped off stage, the rest of the night she was selling her EP’s which really shows that the audience liked the sound of her and wanted to hear more.
With the announcement that they went to watch Pearl Jam the night before gave the idea that this could this be an influence for The Taskers? This was a real change in sound compared to Elly. It had a heavy drum beat and a screeching electric guitar it fitted with the genre garage rock. The duet who is brother and sister had a great connection which really made the performance what it was. The band is one to remember as Sophie was the drummer and it’s rare to find a girl drummer, as she began to play the head banging from the crowd began and they were shuffling closer to the stage and this is where you notice that Jack was wearing wellies; is there a story behind this? No-one knows. Throughout their performance they had varied speed, when they slowed it down the bass and the swift drum beats was exceptional and when they sped it up they really made a show worth watching. Cheers echoed as they finished their performance on a well played instrumental which showed Jack brimming with enthusiasm and clearly enjoying the evening’s performance. The thoughts of Jack smashing his guitar up when he ripped it off his chest was floating around the room.
The Cure influenced singer/songwriter Ben Owen came on stage with Robbie Stewart the violinist. They were confident and seemed chuffed with the crowd. They start with an odd cover for a folk artist; LMFAO’S ‘Party Rock Anthem’. It was a surprise hearing that type of pop song played by violin but Robbie pulls it off. This well-known pop song soon flowed into another well-known pop song – Lady Gaga ‘Poker Face’. Ben and Robbie put their own signature on both songs and made it their own which is clever and it’s a sign of creative and successful musicians. The crowd loved the original sound that Ben and Robbie were producing and the way they owned the stage by jumping on the blocks. The first 10 seconds of the next cover was played and screams erupted. The popularity of this song is over the top; Coldplay ‘Paradise’. The way Ben moved away from the microphone varied the sound of his folksy vocals. Ben Owen and Robbie Sherratt certainly put the acoustic back into the acoustic show. Ben was allowed two more songs and he kept repeating himself as if in disbelief about how awesome the crowd was.
All round Mr. Nice Guy – Aaron Mobberbley takes to the stage. He nervously tunes his guitar whist making conversation with the crowd in such a pleasant way that the crowd respected. He plays the first few notes on his acoustic guitar a member of the audience quotes “This is something special.” Everyone was completely focused upon Aaron’s talent in the opening song. He apologised for the awkward silences when tuning his guitar but the audience didn’t mind as they stood in the tranquil atmosphere, patiently appreciating the humble character Aaron is. They way Aaron told a story before ‘Roulette Winning Gold’ was interesting for the audience. The adored folk singer/songwriter really connected with his audience as he added humour within the little story. He said “It’s a kind of sad song that describes a man I met on a bus who was a gambler, he’s probably not here tonight he’s probably in the casino down the road” The audience were amused and gradually throughout the song shuffled closer to the stage where they were nearly kissing his feet. Aaron had a special guest to join him – Helena Raby. They had been working on a song called ‘Rubik’ for a while. Aaron swaps his acoustic guitar for an electric guitar; this was a new look for Aaron as normally it’s acoustic all the way. Helena‘s gentle vocals merged perfectly with Aaron’s authentic voice. Helena was somewhat of an unfound talent. The back lighting was a rather psychedelic pattern that created and suited the soft, warm atmosphere that has been built up throughout the evening. The well known folk artist in Stoke-On-Trent plays his music beautifully and his passion for playing live is at the artist’s maximum level. When artists reveal they are going to play a new song the audience become intrigued, this is what took place when Aaron played “Family Reunion”. It was a new song, its emotional affectionate lyrics and dulcet melody gained love from the crowd. He is someone that everyone adores its undeniable. When the band was brought on stage to play the EP named song ‘Commitments’ it was something to treasure in your mind forever. It was like a downfall of music hitting you right in the heart where you feel that love again for Aaron!
Mobberbley can without doubt tick off that he has successfully wowed the crowd with his first headlining gig. He brings it all to a close with ‘Crayons’ and ‘Looking For’. ‘Crayons’ is another song from his ‘Commitments’ EP. He says “this is a loved dovey song that will make you happy”. He accomplished this task as smiles filled the Sugarmill. ‘Looking for’ got the crowd’s arms up in the air swaying and this concluded the night in a room flooded with a warm and tender atmosphere.
Overall great performance by all acts. They all did the music scene in Stoke proud.
By Lucee Clarke