Live Review: Sonic Boom Six - O2 Academy, Oxford 24/03/2017
We caught Sonic Boom Six at the Oxford date of the UK tour last month, our photographer Heather Lowe was there to capture all the action.
When I arrived to the venue, I entered the room upstairs to a small crowd of 10 people, and honestly I expected there to be more people in the room at the start but within minutes of arrival people started to enter the room. The crowd were conversing with one another while the venue played a mix of indie and rap style tracks in the background to help set the atmosphere for the evening.
First up on the stage was solo artist Jack Little, now I’ve seen him live once before but it was only for a short amount of time so I was looking forward to seeing what he’d bring to a full set, as from what I’ve caught in the past he’s always managed to leave a lasting impression no matter how many fans were in the room and that is one thing that I’ve always adored with small musicians. He entered the stage with his guitar and definitely played a more laid back set compared to the other bands but it was great to have something completely different to the rest of the night.
Jack had a perfect balance of serious tracks and ones with a more comedic value to them and it was so great to see someone have a laugh with the crowd as well as with themselves yet be able to be serious at the same time. His tracks seemed to have a recurring theme about him sleeping in late, which I found really relatable as someone who seems to sleep in on a regular basis. Safe to say my favourite song of his set was ‘Zombies’ just purely down to the lyrics as well as how Jack introduced it “I wrote this song just as Snapchat came out because I’d gone out with my friends to the pub and they were all sat around the table sending each other snapchats, so I got drunk and wrote a song about it” the entire track was so catchy and absolutely hilarious at the same time, I spent more time laughing at the lyrics than anything, or as my friend put it ’10/10, f*cking banter king’. Jack’s set was an absolute killer and I’m definitely looking into catching him perform live more often in the future
The lights dimmed and turned into a red and included some strobe lighting, which was shortly followed by Black Candy entering the stage. Now this band had some incredible guitar riffs, with a skindred vibe to them. “We’re hoping to entertain you the next twelve and a half - thirteen minutes” which was shortly followed by some insane lyrics, that had a rap vibe to them and as I’d count them as a rock band it certainly worked and had a really rad feel to it. “Jesus, what sort of imaginary set list am I reading” Their set included a whole load of banter too (even recalling the hilarious American accent), with some incredible drum beats and bass, and an insane amount of energy about them.
Usually when I’ve come to see a band that are a similar style to Black Candy they’re usually encouraging mosh pits but all this band wanted to see was head banging and foot tapping. The entirety of the set that the band played, was something I’d want to see again, just down to the jokes, and the atmosphere they had in the room as well the amount of moving about the stage they did.
Ghouls were easily one of the bands I was more excited to see on the bill tonight, after having a few conversations outside the front of the venue with a few fans talking about how incredible their live set was and that they were on their second or third time seeing them live and that every time they’ve seen them perform they’ve owned the stage. If anything having those little conversations with fans certainly gets you a little more pumped to witness what they mean. The punk rock 5 piece are coming into this year with a bang, with the release of their 12 track album ‘Run’ due for release in May, if their set tonight was anything to go by you can see why people are so pumped for this release, and if I’m honest it’s an album I’m stoked to listen to.
Ghouls entered the stage and kicked off their set with such energy and such a unique style to them, and I’m sure it had something to do with their punk rock style that had a melodic vibe as well as the unique brass instruments or the atmosphere in the room, but every ounce of their set left the fans and myself wanting more. The lead and back up vocals were so perfectly intertwined with the strums of the guitars it was on another level. The band had so much energy about them and were constantly running about the stage to the extent I’m certain that there was only a few seconds where I looked up to see them standing still, even when I glanced up from writing my notes briefly all I saw was the 5 piece jumping about the stage even with the fans joining in to. Every track the band performed in their set it was followed by a massive round of applause. If I’m being honest with you, I think Ghouls were easily one of the better bands of the night with their performance and musical style, and even though I am sure a few people may disagree I think it is safe to say this band are designed to be on a stage and are certainly destined for big things in the upcoming year.
Lastly to grace the stage with their presence Manchester based 5-piece Sonic Boom Six, now this is a band who aren’t my usual cup of tea but it’s always worth moving out of your comfort zone, nonetheless I was excited to see what this band were going to bring to the stage tonight. Before they entered the techs were checking a few final bits and pieces to the bands equipment just so the band were ready to jump straight into their set.
The kicked of their hour long set with ‘Do what you wanna do’ which showed how they’ve managed to create such a unique electronic sound with a variety of other musical elements and genres. Do What You Wanna Do, is the song SB6 entered this year with and you can understand why it took off so well. However when the first track came to a close the fans followed with an incredible round of applause, which proved how much their fanbase enjoys their live performance and I could understand why. During their set they included Ghouls member Russel to join them on the stage for a few songs too, and it was incredible to see two bands come together on a stage and for it work so perfectly.
Sonic’s lead vocalist Leila seemed to love her crowd interaction, whether it was little conversations with the crowd or encouraging them to join in with the band and it was impossible to see without a smile on her face. The set included some of the best dual vocals I’ve heard in a long time and it certainly added to their already energetic performance. The melodic vocals and rapping certainly got the crowd moving, whether it was the fans chanting the words back to them or having a dance, and it was definitely something that made the atmosphere so much better than I’d possibly anticipated for the night. Sonic Boom Six played a selection of new and old tracks in their set leaving no fan to miss out on the time they discovered the band. The band also included a cover of Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human, which had a great spin on the vibe sonic seem to go for.
In conclusion of their performance, whether it was mix of the rapping, guitar riffs, baseline or the atmosphere and the fact that the fans were dancing around the room and joining in with the band at every opportunity that they had. The entire performance was so full of energy and was lovely to see the band and crowd having such a delightful time.
Words and Photography by Heather Lowe