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GIG REVIEW: The SQ Stage, Day Two, July 15th

Posted on Sunday, 15 July by

For this year’s Eastbourne Extreme, SQ Magazine are working to showcase some of the brightest and most brilliant local music talent at the SQ Stage – a free, two day live music festival that’s taken the town by storm. Here’s the tale of the second day, featuring performances by Liquid Fuse, The Harkes, Lauren Rebecca, The Blues Evergreens, No State, The Vindickers, Lion Bark and Half Crown.

With an animated and confident frontman, incredible drumming, and surging guitars, rock n roll band Liquid Fuse drop-kicked off proceedings with belting tracks including ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks and ‘Loaded Gun’. Mid-track mash-ups of songs such as ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC and ‘Bulls On Parade’ by Rage Against The Machine gave the band’s set, which was full of rock stances, double-kick drumming and blistering solos, a satisfyingly fresh edge.

Returning to Extreme for the second time, Eastbourne favourites The Harkes got a great response from the crowd, wowing them with surprisingly gritty and gravely vocals and a real rock sound. With old favourites like ‘She Knows’ and ‘Old Seaside Towns’, as well as a phenomenal cover of ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ in their arsenal, the band seemed casually confident, moving about the stage like pros. With easy to sing-along to choruses alongside dark lyrics about death and disillusionment, The Harkes really pushed expectations to the limit.

The first female to have performed across the entire weekend, Brighton singer/songwriter Lauren Rebecca brought a chill to the thankfully satisfying weather with bittersweet lyrics that fell like teardrops on her guitar. Vocally similar to Kimya Dawson of The Mouldy Peaches and maybe even Kate Nash, Lauren Rebecca’s delicate and humble tones across tracks like ‘Only You’ and ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ were a welcome calm amidst a storm of rock bands. Most definitely one to watch.

One of the weekend’s most impressive bands The Blues Evergreens wowed the crowd as they worked through a mix of different genres, with blues and reggae sounds meeting classic rock and soul. With covers of Madonna’s ‘Music’ and a supped up version of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, the band showed themselves off as one that has improved massively on the year before, with some magnificent finger work and style.

With a set that improved as it went on, grunge trio No State got the crowd’s attention and played an infectious cacophony of catchy beats and basslines. Full of flair and punctuated by hard finishes, they had the energy of a much larger band and a blistering, riotous sound.

Masters of infectious and jumping pop punk tracks with sing-along choruses, a hint of ska and elasticated guitar work in tracks like ‘Buddy Song’ and ‘These Love Songs Don’t Make Sense’, The Vindickers were a band who looked as good as they sounded. Surprising many with a cover of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, they had a real punk heart to them that was prominent more during their live performance than it is in their recorded work. With beats and notes that wrapped around each other, and raw to the bone vocals, The Vindickers owned the stage, and owned their fans.

Curiously named penultimate band Lion Bark had a real summer festival sound, with vocals and shimmering guitars that echoed the work of bands like Captain. Standing rigidly for most of their performance, the five-piece had a touch of soul to them, with a robustly strong bass and drum backline. Lion Bark’s style defied real classification and comparison; a fusion of rock, folk and country with a hint of archaic, steampunk electronica.

Finally, with two singers and a brilliantly British rapper in their midst, final act Half Crown were a jump ahead of everyone else and were a great act to close the stage. Raw and soulful, their contagious sound, which is impossible to do justice, was a seemingly limitless mix of genres, with more springing to mind than we could keep track of. This was a demonstration of flawless, boundless talent. Written so well that it defies belief, their poetic rhymes drew complete attention from the crowd and left many people open mouthed. Impeccable.

From everyone at SQ: Thanks and praise must go to U2M, Eastbourne Borough Council, the incredible line-up of acts, our entire team that played their part this weekend and of course, everyone who turned up over the course of the two days. Who wants to see more in 2013?

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