Devilskin and Sumo Cyco @ Think Tank? Newcastle 3 March 2017
It was a night of striking similarities and beautiful contrasts as New Zealand natives Devilskin and Canadian upstarts Sumo Cyco shook the foundations of the Think Tank.
Devilskin came to the north-east with a mission to prove that their homeland isn’t just about Lord of the Rings and Lorde and Jenny Skulander tore through the image of a quiet, tranquil land like a bull in a china shop – even if her voice is as crystal clear as the pristine waters of Blue Spring.
But unlike that area of natural beauty, Skulander’s voice has a series sting in it’s tail and it’s her ability to transform into a growing, aggressive and predatory animal that makes it so special and means any live performance will be worth noticing.
The band have two albums out now and the co-headline bill gave both acts an hour to showcase the best from their material. The allotted amount of time felt perfect as Devilskin went through their biggest songs like Little Pills, Elvis Presley Circle Pit and Mountains – although perhaps the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the perfectly executed Barracuda by Heart.
But it would have all counted for little if it wasn’t backed up by the impressively flamed bearded duo of Paul Martin on bass and Nail on the lead guitar, whose abrasive and energetic style is the perfect foil to Skulander.
While Devilskin impressed with their style, Sumo Cyco showed that the limelight didn’t only belong to their Kiwi colleagues and produced a high energy performance that their albums deserve.
Lead singer Sever was a teen pop sensation in another life and even opened for Britney Spears. In many ways those skills are transferable and the Canadian looked comfortable on stage and reveled in the limelight.
The singer made the most of the intimate surroundings and took to the floor on a number of occasions, even ending up lounging across the bar calling for a shot of whiskey from the barman. It was exactly the sort of thing the relaxed crowd needed to pep them up and get them going.
Just a quick listen to Lost In Cyco City or 7/10 RUSHONROCK rated upcoming album Opus Mar will reveal a band who can only operate at breathtaking speed and the live show was no different. Not only were the band’s energy levels outstanding, but they also seemed to have genuine fun on stage and that translated to the crowd.
Old classics like Go Go Go, Fighter and The Ugly fitted in easily alongside new material like Anti-Anthem and Move Mountains, although the latter perhaps lacked the bombastic fire that’s fueled by Skindred frontman Benji Webbe on the album version.
Co-headline tours are fairly rare to see but when done right it can produce something special. The two bands should be filling venues bigger than the Think Tank? and two hours of high class hard rock should really command a bigger premium than the £11 entry fee.