Six Nation State

There has always been something inherently romantic about the underdog. Ever since Goliath was shown up by that little guy, the notion of the less-favoured draws particular attention. Simply put, I always shop at Superdrug rather than Boots.

With this in mind, imagine the satisfaction gained when witnessing the musical equivalent; an unsigned band wiping the floor with one of the bigger boys.

With Lennons playing host to the much hyped Nine Black Alps, the scene was set for a local band to put a stop to the days of heads-down-toilets and stolen lunch money. In fact, so outclassed were Nine Black Alps that it seems unfair to waste any more review space on them. So there.

The Superdrug of the evening turned out to be Six Nation State, a band with members hailing from Guilford and Eastleigh. A stylish looking six-piece, they took to the stage in an array of beanies, panama hats, smoking jackets and floppy hair.

Beginning the set with ‘Do I Feel the Same?’, the band’s visual character was soon accompanied with a sound to match. It was clear that all six were comfortable playing together and the instruments fitted in a perfect yet haphazard fashion. The first song allowed the crowd to swell as people were lured from the bar, though this may have been down to the stunning female backing singer placed centre front stage.

Continuing with the second track from their demo ‘I’m Feeling Happy’, which the lead singer Jerry tells us is inspired by a certain controversial pastime, SNS expand on their captivatingly original sound. With a great bassline, offbeat percussion, and energetic punky guitar. The only thing un-enjoyable about the performance so far is that niggling feeling in the back of your mind as you desperately try to place them in some sort of musical niche.

Just when you think you’re getting somewhere, later in the set the band reveal more musical shades; ‘The Country Dong’ being an ode to Dolly Parton’s cleavage and introducing another dynamic to the SNS sound. The traditional country and western guitar chords and authentic vocal line combining well with rocky drums and bass – the end product being an originality which can only be challenged in these here parts by Dead! Dead! Dead!.

With the crowd growing even bigger both in size and spirit, SNS really seemed to be enjoying themselves onstage, a refreshing change to those bands who look like each performance is a chore. With the lead guitarist nodding his head Slash-style and the bassist bouncing around looking like a Cheshire cat, the crowd soon followed suit – leaping through the ska-fuelled ‘Up and Down’ as well as ‘1 2 3 4’.

Are we any nearer to placing SNS? You’re kidding, aren’t you! If that wasn’t enough, ‘I Hate the Summer’ creates a mellow dreamy reggae sound with Jerry’s own style of vocals illuminating on top.

Closing the set, the two final songs allow other members of the band to steal the limelight for a while. ‘Turnaround’ sees a great lead guitar part followed by a drum solo to match, and again in the Beatles-influenced (though slightly darker) ‘Helter Skelter’, the drummer is allowed to run riot.

Until the final note in the set, Six Nation State retain their undoubtedly fresh style, and seem to revere the moment more and more; Jerry and the bassist climbing the drum kit (one for health and safety) and every member of the band beaming with delight.

Sum it up? Erm, not sure I can; musically fantastic, visually entertaining, brilliantly original. My mate Caroline liked them anyway…

Guest article from Dan H.

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