Live Review: Sumo Cyco/Skarlett Riot

Sumo Cyco/Skarlett Riot

The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes – 15/3/2018

Since their latest album Regenerate hit the masses it’s been all systems go for Lincolnshire heavy rockers Skarlett Riot.  A newer more purposeful sound and the feeling the band have been reinvigorated of late is born out by tonight’s performance.  You’d never guess bass ace Tim Chambers is actually standing in for regular four stringer Martin Shepherd, he looks almost part of the furniture.  Brothers Danny and Luke on guitar and drums respectively both prove to be superior musicians, masters of their respective crafts.  And Skarlett herself is in fine voice.  The always solid vocals now have a more mature power to them.  Straddling the line between rock and metal Skarlett Riot are the real deal.

It takes a brave band to mix music like Sumo Cyco do.  You have pop, rock, metal, funk and even a hint of jazz all in one splendid technicolour dreamcoat of sound.  It should be a mess but it isn’t.  Much of that is down to the sheer quality of musicianship both in the writing and playing.  The other thing about the Canadian quartet is that they are so damn happy.  All four band members look like they’re having a ball and that rubs off on the crowd who are entranced.  Skye Sweetnam rips through the set like a woman possessed, one minute pop princess and the next metal warrior.  Her energy levels are astounding but the really impressive thing is the quality and range of her singing.  The music melting pot is fine in theory but you need to be able to deliver it and Sweetnam nails it.  There are some lovely musical touches from all the band too, special mention has to go to the wonderful funky bass of Ken ‘Thor’ Corke.

The two bands on offer tonight prove that new music is alive and kicking just as hard as ever.  Anyone saying rock is dead hasn’t heard Sumo Cyco or Skarlett Riot.  Rock isn’t dead, it’s only just beginning to wake up.