Concert Reviews

Sumo Cyco / Skarlett Riot Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 19, 2018    
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Sumo Cyco / Skarlett Riot - The Live Rooms, Chester (UK) - 14 March 2018

February into March always seems to be a busy time for tours. This is my seventh gig in less than three weeks and I still have two more to go. It can generally be a difficult time to travel and I know that a number of shows on various tours have been cancelled in recent weeks due to the snow. Fortunately, this has not affected me and even though there is a biting wind blowing through Chester tonight, it is at least dry. I have seen both Sumo Cyco and Skarlett Riot twice before; Skarlett Riot on support slots with Kamelot and Gus G and Sumo Cyco as headliners or co-headliners in their own right. It is not always the case, but on paper the two bands together on the same bill are a good fit musically for the crowd.

Sumo Cyco Live 1

With only thirty minutes allowed on stage, Skarlett Riot impact from the start and more than half of their brief set comes from the recently released and well received 'Regenerate' album. The music is heavy, the riffs are spitfire-like and the pounding bass and drums keep the tempo red hot. Lead-singer Skarlett may be a diminutive figure but her vocals belay her stature and are very powerful. The mix is a little unclean for my liking and it helps that I'm familiar with the material. 'Break', 'Closer', 'Calling' and 'Warrior' are all taken from the new release and as they move around the stage, one can't help but admire their determination to win the crowd over. Skarlett Riot are a hard-working and very likeable young Modern Rock/Metal band with some good songs, who always manage to get things off to a fiery start.

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Sumo Cyco's musical style is a heady cocktail of Rock, Punk, Pop and Reggae that makes for an entertaining live spectacle. Skye Sweetnam (Sever) is a Tasmanian Devil of a front-woman with a vocal delivery akin to Gwen Stefani's unmentionable daughter. The Live Rooms is quite an intimate venue and is probably half full. Sweetnam is renowned for going walk-about and tonight is no exception. She involves the crowd at every opportunity and even takes the time to visit the bar for a shot of Jack Daniels. The set is a good mix of songs from the debut 'Lost In Cyco City' (2015) and sophomore 'Opus Mar' (2017). It's difficult not to get caught up in the events, but even more difficult not to spill my drink. Everyone seems to be familiar with the songs and the hooks to 'Anti-Anthem', 'Free Yourself', 'Passengers', 'The Ugly', 'Fighter' and 'Like A Killer' are more infectious than a virus in a Stephen King novel.

Sumo Cyco Live 2

During 'Move Mountains', Sweetnam encourages everyone to get on the floor (not with my knees!) before coming to life like a hypnotised cult. Guitarist Matt Drake and bass player Kenny Corke are no less animated, with Drake maybe a little more frantic than Corke and he manages to regularly straddle the monitors without missing a note. The show concludes with a brand-new song, 'Undefeated', taken from a soon to be released EP. A bold move indeed, but a clear indication of Sumo Cyco's confidence. It's a heavy song that's full of energy and a memorable in-your-face hook.

After the show, both Skarlett Riot and Sumo Cyco are keen chat to everyone in attendance, but unfortunately I have to be in work the following morning so have to make do with a fifty minute car journey home in the company the band's albums. Not everyone's cup of coffee (I don't drink tea!) for sure, yet two great live bands who may fly under the radar and don't get the credit they deserve.

Dave Bott

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