Plymouth White Rabbit - 14th April 2010

Although a recent poll named Bristol as “Britain’s most musical city”, many people would argue that this reputation lies elsewhere. With its ongoing prosperous music scene, Manchester has almost certainly become one of the most productive British cities during the last fifty years, in terms of rock music. In recent decades, however, Manchester has been more widely known for its indie and dance scenes than anything else. Punk rock, for example, has seen little output from the city since the early 80s. Although The Buzzcocks and The Fall are still touring and occasionally releasing albums, it seems as though most modern incarnations of the genre have failed to attract young Mancunian musicians. Fortunately, Sonic Boom Six prove to be one exception.

SB6’s winning brand of punk, ska and hip-hop has earned them a number of praising reviews in the music press. Not least for last year’s ‘City Of Thieves’ album. However, despite the critical acclaim and some success in the States, they are somewhat underappreciated in this country. Although they continue to sell out tours of smaller venues, they have seen little of the recent popularity that other British punk bands have experienced.

Anyway, sole representatives of the Manchester punk scene though they may be, tonight is not about their home town, but about one of the stops on their current UK jaunt - Plymouth. As the five-piece take to the stage in the White Rabbit, the modest but enthusiastic crowd are a positive sign of SB6’s growing popularity. Their previous headlining shows have been less successful and support slots have failed to do them justice. The last such occasion was when they opened for Reel Big Fish at Plymouth University at the start of the year. They were billed so early that most people were still queuing to get in while the band played. That particular incident gets a mention tonight and singer Laila K dedicates a track to those who missed them at that gig.

Tonight’s performance is definitely one for the dancers in the crowd. Most of the songs on the setlist, many of which are taken from ‘City Of Thieves’, are some of Sonic Boom Six’s more upbeat, rhythmical tunes. Tracks such as ‘Rum Little Skallywag’ and ‘Strange Transformations’ get the moshpit skanking like crazy. There’s even a cover of drum’n’bass dancefloor hit ‘Addicted To Bass’, which proves popular and, surprisingly, suits SB6 down to the ground. There are also a few faster moments when the occasional circle pit breaks out.

A couple of tracks from previous album ‘Arcade Perfect’ make an appearance as well. These include ‘Sound Of A Revolution’ which, Laila announces, pays homage to Rage Against The Machine. During the chorus, the audience gladly sing along to the borrowed lyric in question, which is instantly recognisable as the famous line from everyone’s favourite Christmas Number One ‘Killing In The Name’. Next, the Rage theme continues with the ‘Know Your Enemy’-sampling rock tune ‘The Concrete We’re Trapped Within’.

In addition to the awesome setlist, the onstage banter is also successful. Laila and bassist/rapper Barney Boom regularly joke around with the crowd in between songs, which continues the entertainment for the Plymouth fans. At one point, Sonic Boom Six also show their appreciation for local heroes Crazy Arm, which seems to impress the audience.

Hopefully, this tour is another step in the right direction on Sonic Boom Six’s rise. The support they are now receiving at their live shows continues to prove that their popularity is ever growing. So, maybe when their next album is released, it will receive more than just good reviews and they will finally get the reception they deserve.