After a whistle-stop tour of smaller, more intimate gigs performed either side of an appearance at Download Festival during the Summer, Canadian noise merchants Sumo Cyco made good on their promise to “come back soon” by doing exactly that. Word of mouth on this band is incredible: you catch Sumo Cyco in concert, you wax lyrical to anyone who will listen, and hopefully they will then do the same. It’s an underground movement gathering up a head of steam, thanks to the insane amount of energy blasting out from the stage.
Yorkshire based alt-rock outfit As Sirens Fall have the job of main tour support, and they have brought their own cheering section with them. It’s not very often you witness a support act with such a passionate following. Not only are As Sirens Fall t-shirts visible in the crowd, but also a handful of ASF tattoos. Watching the interaction between frontman Mikey Lord and the crowd gathered around the floor-level stage it’s clear there is a genuine connection between the artist and the fanbase.
A strong My Chemical Romance influence is evident throughout the well-received set, with Mikey Lord showing signs of the same sense of tortured fragility that MCR guru Gerard Way has. The emotional ‘Lily’ is a prime example, although you could say that ‘Like Vultures’ has more of a Brian Molko vibe. Musically, As Sirens Fall play energetic, melodic alt-rock, with the emphasis on melodic. Each song is tailor made for audience participation, and it’s clear that those gathered at the front know every word as they bellow them out with force. There’s also lots of bouncing when As Sirens Fall are onstage; if you are near the front then be prepared for a workout.
After a crazy-ass intro that sounded like the Beetlejuice theme tune on speed, Sumo Cyco pile onstage and the fun really does begin. Opening track ‘Love You Wrong’ has so many twists and turns that it will make your head spin. Frontwoman Skye Sweetnam switches between harsh and clean vocals with ease; the change of pace mid song comes out of nowhere and makes you give up trying to pigeonhole the band.
‘Fighter’ encourages the early signs of a pit, and once the adrenaline and booze has kicked in the pit becomes larger. Sweetnam and guitarist Matt Drake don’t need an excuse to go walkabout and are happy to oversee this! ‘Loose Cannon’ features some mighty buzzsaw riffs from Drake, along with some ska/ragga/dance influences peppered throughout. And that’s the magic of Sumo Cyco; they have enough riffs, growls and power to keep the metalheads happy, while they keep those that prefer things a little lighter happy with the ear-worm melodies from Sweetnam. ‘Undefeated’ for example. Imagine Gwen Stefani downing a bottle of tequila, jumping onstage with a metal band and totally killing it. Amplify that thought 1000% and you are almost at Sumo Cyco.
Talking of booze, during ‘Free Yourself’ Skye goes to the bar, climbs up, and proceeds to down shots of whisky. Never underestimate the drinking capabilities of Canadians – remember they are trapped under snow for months at a time! Fuelled by the shots, the intensity of her performance switches up several gears as she unleashes more and more ferocity. ‘Crowd Control (Do What We Want)’ and a full-pelt ‘Cry Murder’ has pits breaking out, with Sweetnam the chief instigator.
As the set nears the dreaded curfew, Skye continues her tradition of performing on someone’s shoulders. Both Matt Drake and someone from the front row are called upon to carry her through the crowd, and once back on terra firma she proceeds to go for a crowd surf. As previously mentioned, she has an insane amount of energy. That wouldn’t mean anything without the songs to back this up however, and Sumo Cyco have them by the bucketload. New material like ‘Run With The Giants’ certainly whet one’s appetite for the new crowd-funded album.
Hours after the show ended, my face was still hurting from smiling so much. Trust me, that takes something special.
Review – Dave S
Images – Dave Jamieson