For any occasion, an opening night needs to be memorable, well organised and have a great atmosphere. Stoke-on-Trent s Axis Festival succeeded with flying colours on Wednesday 02 May with a superb performance from Sandi Thom and guests at The Sugarmill in Hanley.
Mellow and entertained
Sandi Thom brought to the Sugarmill and the Axis Festival a great sense of community and well-being. A gig where people are enjoying the show together instead of jostling and shoving is always refreshing, and Sandi certainly seemed to keep the fans happy, mellow and entertained.
The Axis festival is bringing a host of music, performance and culture to the city between the 04 and 06 of May. Organisations like Love Music Hate Racism, City of Stoke-on-Trent and a host of local businesses are helping to put the city on the cultural map. Sandi's show must have reassured them that their time has been well invested, with a room full of people cheering and clapping.
A friend playing in your living room
Opening with 'Horse Power' and packing a mixture of instruments including a keyboard and harmonica, Sandi demonstrated a mixed, talented style to which her recorded music does not do justice.
Sandi bantered with the fans and has a humble charisma that, like her folk music, makes her gigs feel like a friend playing in your living room instead of a national star playing in a nightclub. Naturally, Sandi squeezed in the hit song 'I wish I was a punk rocker' as a finale, treating the already jubilant crowd and then rounding off with an encore of the more relaxed ditty, 'The pink and the lily'.
Sandi was supported by two local acts, a solo acoustic and vocal set by Holly Reynolds and rock band My Dead Lovers. "Being asked to play the opening of the Axis festival on what was only our third gig in this band obviously meant a lot to us," said My Dead Lovers Guitarist Mark Eyden.
"Geographically Stoke's in a great location for live music, being not a million miles away from Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham or even London and I think this festival goes to prove it."
Young Holly also went down well with the crowd, performing a simple acoustic set with amazingly clear, strong and emotive vocals.
Sandi performed without any fault at The Sugarmill and is certainly an act to be marked for live shows with her intimate style. It is clear that the Axis festival has attracted both talented entertainment and a great crowd of music lovers to the city of Stoke-on-Trent.