Liverpool band Sugarmen split up on stage at White Room headline gig at Magnet


Sugarmen’s Luke Fenlon

As White Room play the headline slot at Magnet, Getintothis’ Mark Rowley finds it’s the shock split of Liverpool band, Sugarmen which makes all the noises. 

The rumour mill had been working overtime during the last couple of days regarding the possible split of a fine young Liverpool band, Sugarmen, which on paper had a bright future; on account of being signed to major record label Sire/Warner Bros and having recently released their first album, Local Freaks to positive critical response.

After playing for the large part, a gut-busting set of impeccable sounding tunes, the band sadly went out with what can only described as a whimper rather than a bang, as they seemed unable to decide whether to play one more song, and then struggled to remember how it went, anyway.

It was at this point that band member Chay Heney turned to the audience to say, ‘We’re Sugarmen, and that was our last ever gig.’

During a brief chat with bassist Tom Shields soon after the show, it was cited that personal and musical differences were the reason for band members deciding to throw in the towel and head their separate ways.

For their part, headline act White Room played an excellent live set to what has to be said was a lower than expected turnout. On a mini-tour of northern cities to promote their EP Eight (on Deltasonic), the Brighton five-piece still managed to put on a stylish performance and band members appeared to be enjoying themselves throughout. Lead vocalist, Jake Smallwood danced about the stage in fine style, oozing charisma, whilst the others kept a tight rhythm, overlaid with some starry, sky-gaze guitar effects.

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Highlights included opener, You Stole the I.V., the bouncy Cable-Built Dreamland and the slightly eerie, Cannibal Song. The Blue topped the lot and is an infectious sounding pop anthem that will undoubtedly have them sitting on shoulders and singing along at next summer’s festivals.

Earlier in the evening, there were sets from TV-ME and Déjà Vega.

Liverpool 3-pieceTV-ME have a laid-back, 60s sound and pull together a range of influences. The Beatles are definitely in there, with a hint of 10CC and even Squeeze from the 70s, also. The band enjoyed showing their multi-instrumentalist talents, regularly swapping guitars and microphone, and also chucking in some recorder, pleasant harmonies and a substantial amount of drum machine for good measure!

Their first single release, Peppercorn Boy and new single, Space Geno were the standout tunes.

Winsford trio, Déjà Vega opened the evening with what at first appeared to be a casual (sit-down) rehearsal of It’s All Gone Wrong, which then gradually morphed into a pumped motorik bass beat and drum rhythm, over-ridden with whirring, psych distortion and wild, raucous vocals. Their 5-song set, including The Test and Friends In High Places, was over far too quickly.
Make no mistake, this band are immense! Some of the best gigs you will ever hope to see are played in front of little more than a handful of people and this was one such show. It really was an onslaught of blissful noise; a just reward for those who were early and lucky enough to be there.

Photos by Getintothis’ Tom Adam




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