Live Review: Rebel Alliance Tour – Trillians, Newcastle, January 26th 2010

Pulling into Newcastle as part of the inaugural Rebel Alliance Recordings Tour, and with the absence of founding band and headpiece Sonic Boom Six, today is the day for some of the ground-level grafters to prove their worth. Random Hand and The Skints make a welcome appearance, as well as London labelmates Mouthwash, and new signing from across the pond, Chris Murray (and, apparently, his friends). There’s something for everyone, here!

Opening tonight’s show, with punters still piling in, is a band who has made quite a name for itself within the past year, East London quartet, The Skints, as they unleash their concoction of delightful dubby ska-punk infused with heavy reggae undertones. Beginning with Mindless, there is an impeccable flow throughout, with each song flawlessy intertwining with one another. Boasting a sickening amount of talent as Marcia Richards pulls out all sorts of weird and wonderful instruments, while also delivering her sweet-as-sugar vocals, and taking the spotlight during Roanna’s Song. Drummer Jamie Kyriakides is responsible for the soulful reggae sounds, while guitarist Josh Waters Rudge spits out his Streets-esque vocals, all wrapped-up in the dirty basslines of Jonathan Doyle. This band just keep getting better and better.

Up next is the Canadian-born and ska-acoustic legend, Chris Murray, not to mention, one of Rebel Alliance Recordings’ newest signings – and first international one at that, as he takes to the stage along with the backing of his friends from The Skints – Jamie Kyriakides, occupying the drums, and Jonathan Doyle, taking care of the bass.  It’s hard not to watch this one without a smile or bob of the head, as the threesome deliver a fine selection of Murray’s breezy tunes, with tracks such as Ex-Darling and Home going down an absolute treat, and remaining in your head for the rest of the evening. Good call on this one, Rebel Alliance.

Rebel Alliance grafters Mouthwash sound a lot better than they do on record, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff. Their songs don’t have the fun time brassery of Random Hand, nor do they have the laid-back vibes of The Skints, but it’s good, honest ska-punk, and the crowd seem to think so too. Whether they’re dishing out feel-good move-alongs or slightly more upbeat tracks like particular highlight That Girl, it’s getting recieved well. Their cockney-twinged vocal offerings pay quite a nice compliment to their vibes, and they’ve obviously gained some new fans tonight.

It’s fitting that Leeds-based Random Hand close this leg of the tour, they’ve probably played more shows at Trillians than they’ve had hot meals; it shows, there’s a great chunk of people turning out in droves to watch them. Their metallic brand of ska-punk sets the room bouncing, skanking, moshing, and having a general party. Anger Management, as always, encourages mass participation in it’s almost football chant-esque chorus, whilst siren-lead Anthropology sends people into a frenzy similar to that of a bull faced with a red cloak. The quartets on-stage banter is second to none, even taking time out to try and deliver a due baby mid-set with the help of their music. A new taster of what’s to come was answered with a new track, delivering just the right amount of fun you come to expect from this band. Forty-minutes is a more slender Random Hand headline set than usual, but given this is a rotating headliner, it’s a perfect amount to keep the masses coming back. Until next time…

Faye Turnbull (The Skints, Chris Murray) and George Cannings (Mouthwash, Random Hand).

Stay tuned for our interview with Random Hand coming soon! In the meantime, check out our interview with The Skints from July, HERE.

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