Hailing from the hometown of the Merseybeat and Atomic Kitten, Sugarmen are anything but sweet as their punk infused sounds warm up the crowd of The Foundry prior to headliners, The Jesus and Mary Chain.
The lengthy nine track setlist allows the band who have been together for four years, to dive deep into their music collection and give the audience a great mouthful of tunes. On stage, Sugarmen channel a sense of arrogance between them and the crowd, with their minimal intervals during tracks and only pausing to say a few words about plugging their debut album. But with this arrogance, that has been successfully embraced by several bands before them, comes the greater awareness of how the band have thought about their appearance on stage to coincide with their sound. Lead singer, Luke Fenlon, stands strong on stage with vocals that suggest a disinterest in modernity.
Central Line embraces the era of the late 1970’s with echoes of a punk intro clearly inspired by The Clash welcome the crowd to bob their heads along. The 70’s punk infused sound is carried on into tracks like Push Button Age and Golden One which both see an effort to bring back the punk era of the late seventies but also reinvent it in the 21st century, with Fenlon’s wailing vocals cut with slow moving psych guitar playing.
Unlike many up and coming bands who appear to focus heavily on the meaning of their lyrics, Sugarmen appear to focus more on their musical sound and output making them an interesting band to follow. It would be disrespectful to say their songs are meaningless but Sugarmen are clever to get attention heading towards the punk guitar rhythms and upbeat drum playing.
Prior to the show, Forge also had the opportunity to speak to Sugarmen about the bands future and their climb onwards and upwards.
Interview by Florence Mooney
What would you say the biggest musical inspiration for the band is?
It’s quite different for all of us but I think the Velvet Underground is a big one for all of us.
How has your sound developed as you have been on your musical journey?
It took a while but we found are own sound I think, we drifted through a few phases that didn’t feel quite right but It was good to try stuff out, Most of it just in the studio. We seem to of ended up closer to how we sounded when we first started!
The Jesus and Mary Chain are obviously heavyweights in the business, have you learnt anything from spending a bit of time with them?
We’ve only done one show with them so far but we’re fans so it’s been fantastic. I always love watching their old interviews!
Your hometown, Liverpool, is steeped in musical history, from the Beatles to Circa Waves. Do you find this a pressure or inspiration?
I don’t think we ever really think about it like that! The Beatles are a band that belong to the world much more than they do to Liverpool so I think if you felt that pressure you’d feel it anywhere. I spent 2 weeks on tour in Europe as a roadie with Circa Waves, good band and good people!
Your music is quite face paced, and it sounds like you have made it with live shows in mind. What’s your favourite live show you have played?
I think we just try to write the best songs we can and then try to shape them the best we can! We possibly think about how it would sound recorded more but it’s no bad thing if it seems like we have playing them in mind when we write them, I suppose we do too! We played in Venice with Mick Jones for the opening of his exhibition at the bieniali, I think it was vivaldis courtyard!
Your debut album is out in October – what is the next step after that?
Hopefully go see a bit of the world and play some shows!