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Sumo Cyco/Skarlett Riot/Altered Sky: Audio, Glasgow

ian sutherland
Words: Ian Sutherland

30th March 2018

sumo cyco

The last time local pop rockers Altered Sky set foot on a stage in their hometown it was for a celebratory headline slot in The Garage, a much bigger venue than the cosy confines of Audio.

The chance to make some new friends by supporting an international touring act can't be sniffed at though so they bound on stage with their usual enthusiasm and, as they say around here, get stuck right in.

The sound is a little polite and Ryan Zdrojewski and Tara Behan's guitars lack some of their usual bite, but the natural energy of the band carries them through.

They always have the advantage of the colourful and cheerful presence up front of singer Ana Nowosielska and her clear voice and stage presence generate a reaction from a crowd most of whom haven't seen the band before.

Her attempts at encouraging some signature hand banging (something I haven't seen anyone else do) are very successful and by the time they finish a short but high impact set their tuneful punky pop rock has a large number of new admirers.

Skarlett Riot are a more straight-ahead Metal outfit and the volume and the guitars are much crunchier as they launch into 'Break' from their album 'Regenerate'.

The first thing that strikes me is how confident their singer Skarlett has become. She is constantly up on the edge of the stage and exhorting the crowd to join in, while effortlessly hitting all the notes that she needs to.

As the set progresses it does start to sound a bit one-paced to me and while they are a likeable, energetic band it's not until the closing pairing of 'The Wounded' and 'Warrior' that you get songs which really show off their full potential.

I think these guys are still a work in progress but with the hard work they're putting in it's only a matter of time before they are firing on all cylinders.

Headliners Sumo Cyco are a brilliant example of how DIY can work in a music business which is still in a state of chaos and uncertainty. As an independent band, they have created their own universe with each video and gig taking you to Cyco City, put together an original sound and managed to get themselves noticed all around the world.

Getting on the road is a huge part of that and when they hit the stage in any town it's the upfront and totally magnetic Skye Sweetnam who makes everyone sit up and take notice.

Skye is a lovely woman but that's not why the crowd's eyes are drawn to her. She is a human dynamo, never standing still for a minute and always with a dance move here, a look there or a big smile for someone in the crowd keeping you interested.

The stage can't contain her for a whole show so at various points she is out in the venue on guitarist Matt Drake's shoulders, or singing on the club's bar while giving the barman a high five or getting everyone to crouch down with her before exploding upwards to join in with the song's crescendo.

sumo cyco

The rest of the band do their best to keep up and through the jagged reggae punk of 'Undefeated', the full-on punk metal of 'Sleep Tight' and the sub-ska groove of 'Move Mountains' Drake and bass player Ken Corke are hot, sweaty and quite possibly drunk bundles of energy.

Eventually the six-stringer ends up on the bar, but it's Ms Sweetnam that captures the hearts of the crowd, an irresistible force running roughshod over any resistance in her path.

Sumo Cyco don't really fit into any musical genre neatly. They do their own thing and it's not always easy to get hold of what they're putting together, but live it all works and they are an unforgettable experience.

The wild sense of humour extended to taking a non-traditional picture with the crowd from the stage with everyone encouraged to act like they're fighting the person next to them.

Anarchic, noisy, exhausting but above all a great live act. That's Sumo Cyco and I loved my time in Cyco City.

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Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.


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