“An awesome night”....
“Sounds of the Suburbs (hereinafter referred to as "SOTS"!) are one of the circuit's top bands. Here you have a firmly established act, and in my opinion, one of the most honest bands out there. Cover bands, by definition, have various styles of musical shoes to fill as most will (be obliged to) offer sets of generic tracks from heavy rock to cheesy pop. SOTS however have stuck it to ambiguity and proudly come out of the music closet with heads held high and strutting their spunky punky stuff. SOTS make no bones about who and what they are and have carried into 2010 some core-punk DNA from the late 70's making them stand *out *from the crowd like a cheeky kid at the back of the class who despite being the noisiest little tyke still provides exceptional entertainment and great times.

"Proud to be punk" is the feeling you get at a SOTS gig, however this band are no fools and have masterfully avoided being pigeonholed or excluded from general appeal. The pleasing thing is that regardless of the era a particular track originates SOTS are able to take it and, like a satirical political graffiti artist, leave their mark for all to see.

One of my favourites when I saw the band at Mr Bumble, Camberley was Blondie's "Hanging On The Telephone". Lead singer Fran gave this song superb authenticity with the band providing the perfect blend of live energy and musical accuracy and for that moment the venue and I along with it was transported back to 1978 where you really could have been watching the real Blondie performing to a young student anti-anything crowd. An immediate follow up with The Ruts 1980 track "Staring At The Rude Boys" was another which caused a great deal of foot stomping and playful pushing about.

The same could be said for all their classic *punk* era tracks: The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" brought frenzy to the crowds with enthusiastic bouncing and a good old fashioned mosh. Equally entertaining were their more modern numbers in particular the Stereophonics' "Dakota" which began to a huge appreciative applause as did "Sex On Fire" - a track they were asked to play twice by ravenous-for-more customers. There was also a fitting tribute to 70's Camberley based punk rock band The Members with a corking cover of The Sound Of The Suburbs, the track responsible for inspiring SOTS name. It was noted that after the gig a satisfied customer proudly disclosed to SOTS her family relationship to one of The Members' original line up and complimented the band on a great performance.

Musically SOTS have much to be proud of. They are a solid, hard working band and together produce a wonderfully tight and powerful wall of sound. Fran especially, it seems, has a passion for this era and style of music and it comes across in her consistently engaging performances. Her voice well suits the material they cover and you can't help but love the ranty, rallying, punky sneer that's so befittingly ever present in her vocals. There were notable performances from drummer Ian who skilfully nailed the peculiar timings on Foo Fighters track "Times Like These" and overall kept this fast paced band in great time from start to finish. Both guitarists provide powerful playing and a great depth of sound perfectly suited to the power-chord nature of many of the SOTS tracks. It was great to hear some BV's from Humpty too. New man on the axe, Jack, brings a youthful approach to a mature sound and demonstrated some great riffing as well as tight and reliable rhythm. Bass player Rich nicely wraps up the low end with rock solid and deep bass, complemented by the responsive PA rig SOTS use.

With their classic punk-inspired logo backdrop to the gritty attitude of their performance, SOTS will give you a break from the generic norm of the cover band plain-Janes. You'll be left at the end of the night bellowing for more, you'll get it and you'll come back again and again for a top up in the following weeks. Thanks for a great night keeping punk very much alive! “

Graeme Nash


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