Music: New purveyors of old school rock

Written By: Cary Gee
Published: November 8, 2017 Last modified: November 8, 2017


St Moritz Club, Soho, London

Remember leaving your school uniform in a carrier bag, in the coatcheck of a dank basement club, before heading downstairs to enjoy a classic-rock gig? Well it seems that ‘classic rock’ is now a young persons’ game, exemplified by the unfeasibly youthful, perfectly named Sticky, who do their damnedest tonight to resurrect the visceral thrill of bands enjoyed by their parent’s generation.

Even the song titles, ‘Suburban Life’, a loud evocation of a teenage wasteland, and the two-fingered ‘Juvenile’, hark back to a time when revolution couldn’t be contemplated without first nailing down the soundtrack.

In Maximillian Peston (whose grandfather Maurice used to contribute to this magazine) Sticky boasts the perfect frontman. Equal parts Johnny Thunders and Patti Smith, Peston perfectly balances a sensuous aesthetic with a slipperness that says it’s ok to look and impossible not to listen.

All the elements of old school rock ‘n’ roll are present, and largely correct. There’s the right amount of feedback, a pleasing hum and a strong undercurrent of electricity designed to keep the crowd on its toes. I say designed, but the joy of Sticky, is that they are simply too young to have arrived here via anything other than a gloriously happy accident. That’s not to say they can’t play. Geraint Friswell leads strongly from his bass and young Percy Mackay certainly has the full kit on drums. It’s just that at this stage in their careers Sticky’s sound remains joyfully uncomplicated, and all the better for it. This is music as pure entertainment, theirs as well as ours, and if that means collectively ripping their shirts off by the second number, well you can blame that tease Peston who was first to bare his chest, or the heat, or simply the fact they still can.

‘Los Flamingo’ and ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ display great humour, while the percussion-driven, brain-bending rhythm of ‘Bengoshi Mind’ raises the temperature and boils the blood. ‘Wannabe’ could have come as a nasty surprise ending, but down here, with these boys who make everything seem perfectly possible, the only shock is just how good Sticky already are.

Photo: Peter Clarke

About Cary Gee

Cary Gee is a freelance journalist and Tribune columnist