You may not be aware of the name Esperanza in other parts of the UK, but in and around central Scotland they have delivered high tempo Ska for a number of years now leaving dancing audiences happily exhausted after each gig. There used to be an advert on TV challenging you to eat a pastel sweet without chewing, the same can be said for Esperanza and dancing where even the most rigid wall flowers would be seduced by the Ska beats. Tonight they warm the floor for Brighton’s Bar Stool Preachers; a band that is making a name for themselves with a new album “Blatant Propaganda” full of tunes as well as having a killer live show.
Esperanza take to the small stage and it is small considering the personnel in the band, with 2 guitars, bass, drums, keys and a three part brass section nearly every move was one step beyond. This didn’t stop the bands enthusiasm oozing from each member, from the first note they looked like they were dodging killer wasps on stage avoiding each others flailing instruments and dancing feet. They set about the audience with a crowbar of finely tuned Ska songs, inflicting wave after wave of skanking melody and humour that had the crowd jumping. Song’s such as 2 Tone aint Dead, One Man Down and Forget It are clear favourites with the Glasgow crowd, they are well penned and arranged tracks that have enabled them to build a following that rarely lets them down. How many other Ska bands can fill a hall on the same night that The Beat & The Selecter are playing up the road? – that’s enough for anyone to take notice and shows how highly they are regarded with a long list of established acts wanting them as support. After a set of rumpus and commotion they retreat to the back room with a loud and sweaty crowd applauding another charged set.
The Bar Stool Preachers are definitely not Scottish; in fact the singer has an uncanny resemblance to Olly Murrs with his cockney wide boy chat. Although this may be an unhealthy burden to carry through life, he is more than compensated in other areas as the charismatic front man that explodes with energy around the stage. This band don’t do half measures ,it’s full on from the first chords, the mixture of Ska/Punk tunes set among working class lyrics are a frenzy of hooks and choruses that leave the dancing crowd needing CPR. It’s easy to see why this band are causing a lot of interest , touring the country playing their new album, leaving mini bomb sites behind them on the way. Of course energy and passion are great to have but you need to back this up with some serious tunes to be remembered in Glasgow, Trickledown and Clock Out, Tools Down are a prime example of the bands DNA as well as Bar Stool Preachers which they ended the night with. Although it has been well documented that the vocalist is the offspring of Colin McFaull from legendary band Cock Sparrer, but after seeing the band he quickly becomes Tom McFaull singer with the Bar Stool Preachers in his own right. There is enough of an interaction with the crowd without the words “get on with it” needing uttered, and every inch of stage given a bounce more than once. Their interaction and banter with the crowd have them eating out the palm of their hands; Keeping Busy, Looking Lost and Own Worst Enemy continue the high intensity before finally leaving us with the final rendition of their name.
Bar Stool Preachers have travelled up and down the country over the last couple of years, like so many other bands trying to build a following with an unknown name. Most fall by the side of the road unable to sustain the constant miles for little reward, the service areas of motorways are littered with dreams and egos young wannabes like road kill . These guy’s will survive and thrive where others have failed, they have the tunes, the choruses and in Tom McFaull they have a front man who is more than just the singer of the band. If your Ska collection is preaching the same old sound and in need of young upstart, try lending your ear to a Bar Stool Preacher.