Lipstick Sunbeam + Parkmoor + Skarlett Riot 4th August 2011

By Lauren Brooks

First up, Driffield’s Lipstick Sunbeam began the evening with a set of heavy alt rock played to a small and unresponsive crowd. The first thing that struck me about this band was the fact that, during their initial song Had A Bad Day, the drummer performed the vocals. This was the first time I had seen this band, and from this fact alone I was impressed. The track was an excellent start to their set, showcasing drummer Ollie’s great voice, and some catchy riffs from Neil and world’s tallest guitarist Joe. Mixed with some engaging beats, and some solid bass from Aaron, this was an enjoyable song indeed.

The second track they performed was something for the Queens of the Stone Age fans in attendance, a cover of their Go with the Flow. Guitarist Neil took on the mantle of vocal duties for this song, and whilst I found his vocals to be ropey in places I do acknowledge that Go with the Flow is a challenging song to sing. I found that the dual vocals in Get Out of Here worked well – with both Ollie’s and Neil’s voices complimented each other and created a good sound. Other songs they played included I Just Wanna Play Today, I Don’t Want To Die, What Did She Say andHigher Ground, the latter of which was a mellower song than those that had come before and so stood out to me. The laid back style created by the guitar and bass chords combined with the slower, more relaxed drums gave this song a nice ambience. One thing I would say about this song is that Neil’s vocals needed to be stronger as I thought they lacked soul, and if this was improved I would have little to fault with this song.

After a stint of crowd interaction in which the band implored the crowd to “Fight for our CD’s!”, Lipstick Sunbeam ended their set on a high with a contrastingly louder and more energetic track called Nothing Sticks, which was altogether a stronger, harder and rougher song. After this, the set ended somewhat abruptly. While I did enjoy this set, I thought that a bit more crowd interaction wouldn’t have gone amiss. I also thought that the band seemed to get into their set just as it ended. However they have some good ideas, and I particularly liked their opening track Had A Bad Day.

After a short break, rock n’ roll band Parkmoor captivated the crowd with their first song Down Down Baby, which opened with an engaging riff from Ben which reminded me of the opening toLiving After Midnight by Judas Priest. This was then joined with some lively drum beats from Tom and energetic vocals from Sam. Their set continued with similarly upbeat songs such as Only Road, which incorporated some throat-knottingly fast vocals, and Beatles cover Come Together, which was a treat for all in attendance as not only did they do the song justice but also made it their own.

Parkmoor’s next song, Tonight, had a different feel from their others, possessing a delightfully mellow and bubbly tone from the guitar and bass, with contrastingly strong vocals and drumming. She Rides With The Devil, which followed, was their most hard rock track, especially during the intro, and combined a striking combination of guitar solos and vocal screams, as well as a great catchy chorus. After Mercy, a laid back track, Parkmoor finished their set by performing a Pearl Jam cover of Alive.

Overall I though Parkmoor were a fantastic band, and was particularly impressed with Sam’s voice which was exceptional and very reminiscent of Chris Robertson’s vocals in Black Stone Cherry. I thought the whole ensemble worked really well together and the song I most enjoyed was She Rides With The Devil. This track stood out to me because it was so catchy and had the crowd singing along, myself included. Also notable was the band’s ability to play to a different tone, as demonstrated with Tonight. While a lot of bands can struggle to give their songs varied sound, and fall into the trap of sticking with one preferred style/tone, Parkmoor showed that they are skilled at avoiding this problem, and that is a credit to them.

Next, 4-piece hard rock band Skarlett Riot burst onto the stage with explosive energy performing the aptly named Party Hard, a very up-tempo and upbeat track which caught the audience’s attention and had them moving along. With vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chloe, aka Skarlett, centre-stage, flanked by the guys of the band decked out in scarlet, the band projected easy confidence and a rock n’ roll attitude, their music containing more catchy hooks than a bag full of exceedingly hyper cats. Frontwoman Skarlett possessed a great singing voice which was strong and melodic, and also engaged the crowd with a winning charisma and stage presence.

They continued to rock the stage with Read My Lips and Fake It, the latter of which Skarlett amusingly introduced as “one for the girls in the crowd who’ve maybe had shit sex”. They then continued with a newer song, Don’t Judge Me, which had a slightly different sound than the previous songs – It also included some strong guitar solos from Danny and the next track, Don’t Believe It, opened with a striking drum solo from Luke. Draw The Line had a different feel again, it was a slower paced song which showcased Skarlett’s skill at holding a pitch-perfect note while keeping an aggressive edge. Skarlett Riot ended their performance with Walk Away, which had a nice bass led bridge from Tom.

This was an excellent band to see live, and it was easy to see why they have become so successful. Their catchy music appeals to a wide range of people, and it is obvious that the members of SR enjoy being on-stage and this gives a great vibe to their performance. Skarlett’s vocals are very versatile and work in song of varying tones and styles, and her vocal range is impressive as she hits both high and low notes effortlessly and with the precision of a ninja grandmaster’s kill. The only thing the band is lacking is more interaction between the members, as they didn’t seem to talk to each other much at all. Also I hope that they get to play to a bigger crowd when they return to Hull on September 11th with Vains of Jenna, and that the crowd also isn’t afraid to approach the stage.

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