Indie pop band Sugar wowed the crowds as they headline The Castle Hotel in Manchester last week. With a new drummer, and new sound ready to perform live, the band were truly raring to go.
Opening the night was solo singer/songwriter Livvo. Using loop pedals and passionate vocals in an effect heavy set, it provided energy in a touching performance. A uniquely talented solo act who was able to alter the sounds of his acoustic guitar through various peddles, which created a soundscape which could be compared to that of The Stone Roses, yet keeping to a much more folk direction. Either way, Livvo produced an emotional and empowering start to the evening.
Second on the bill was Waywell. A solo electronic artist who blends the sounds of Four set, Bonobo and more, whilst adding his own personal touch to his sound. Using a guitar to bend beautifully crafted riffs that suited the style of music, Waywell was able to entice the crowd, and fully attract their attention. Beautiful and intense visuals lit up the stage behind him, as he was able to build a sound which was blended together in expert fashion. No stops, just constant, ear-soothing sounds for half an hour.
Finally the headliner Sugar. After the sudden departure of their previous drummer, a new member was drafted in, but only a week before this performance. Having only before used drum pads, Sugar adopted to use a traditional drum kit and their sound has never sounded more exhilarating.
Pop ballad ‘I Never Said’ sounded immaculate with their new drummer leading the line and created a dance-like beat, and lead singer Matthew Petit providing an emotional performance. ‘Waking Up’ enticed much louder synth as well as more stunning vocal lead performances. Introductions with guitar and loud, piercing bass further added to a much more diverse sound live as it is through earphones.
Further down the setlist, the band played upcoming new single ‘Too Good’ (out May 4th), as well as performing the BIMM album featured ‘Truth’, which was performed gracefully The Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club) esque vocals from Petit created an epic pop performance which created a majestic and delicious soundscape leaving you wanting more and more. The four-piece ended the night with a brilliant rearrangement of ‘U Don’t know me’ by Armend Van Helden. A truly brilliant rendition of the club classic, where Sugar made it their own.
Sugar are onto great things. A unique and versatile sound, and not afraid to tackle difficult renditions of well-renowned songs, as well as providing stunning pop ballads, as well as instantly great tracks. Sugar are destined for the top.
Here is a gallery of images for each artist. Click on the artist to view each gallery!
Words and photos by Piran Aston