StOp, sToP a Hard Rock/Glam Metal band, founded by front-man Jacob in Barcelona in 2009 and, now based here in the U.K. party hard and tour relentlessly. I saw them when they played at Rebellion Bar in Manchester last year and was pretty much blown away, so it was with eager anticipation that I headed a little further south to see them at The Nags Head pub in Macclesfield. It’s a bit of a rabbit warren with, four rooms (I think) including a pool room, plus there’s beer garden for smokers. Plenty of choice of reasonably priced drinks including Trooper, conveniently located opposite Macclesfield Rail Station and only a few doors away from a Travelodge, should you wish to stay in Macclesfield. There’s also ample parking nearby, which is free in an evening, but make sure you park in one of the free car parks and not the station car park which isn’t free.
The Nags Head regularly has bands on and I have been a couple of times, to see an AC/DC tribute band YCDC. I initially thought Macclesfield won’t know what’s hit it when StOp, sToP come to town, then I remembered that, as well as silk (yes there is a very interesting silk museum) one of their finest exports is The Macc Lads so they would embrace a bit of StOp, sToP and, if not, well they’d just have to ask them offer them some Beer & Sex & Chips ‘n’ Gravy and ask them to StOp, (sToP)!
I had a quick chat with the band before the show and you can see the interview on YouTube here. The bands play in the room towards the rear of the pub, which has a great wooden floor for dancing, some great lighting for a small venue, and lovely striped curtains, to make you feel like you’re sat in your living room. The stage was set up with Danny’s fantastic pink and black animal print, furry drum kit with pink and black feather boas adorning the microphone stands. Initially there were around twelve people in the room when the band came on, although there were more people sat in the other rooms and people stood at the bar. StOp, sToP came down from the dressing room and Jacob stopped to say ‘Hello’ to someone he recognised then they started the party with Lola which isn’t a Kinks’ cover it’s a hard rocking number about a Spanish Lola from their lates album ‘Join The Party’ and already more people were coming in to join the StOp, sToP party! Jacob asked ‘Do you wanna party tonight?’ and it looked like most of the audience did! Next came Hard Road from their debut album ‘Unlimited’ then a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire and with Vega in his flame New Rock boots and Jacob in purple lamé with black flame stitching (could have been leaves but they were flame like if they were!), this was a great song and their version had people looking like they were dancing on hot coals!
StOp, sToP are fun to watch and really give it their all. Jacob with his white painted face pulls some interesting faces, but then they all do. Danny has a mighty fine head of hair and Vega is a tall, dark and handsome Spaniard, think of a young Joaquín Cortés, and he seemed to appeal some of the ladies of a certain age in his furry hat and ripped jeans. Mothering instinct no doubt! In case we didn’t know Jacob said ‘We are StOp, sToP. It’s a very strange name but, fuck it, we like it!’ They played more of their own tracks Diane, with some great riffs and screams. Poser which started a bit like Poison’s Your Mama Don’t Dance was announced by Jacob saying ‘Don’t want any posers! I’ll be watching you!’ before pointing at his eyes then the audience. A bit of dry ice, the guitarists spinning, synchronised kicks and some piercing screams of ‘Poser’ ensued. Then ‘We’re going to talk about something white and sweet Cocaine’ came before the title track from Join The Party and listening to it, I started thinking, this sounds like Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love and that song was, indeed, blended into the party albeit heavier and a bit funky, and the party ended with Jacob and Vega on the floor! A ‘Thank you’ from Jacob led to some whistles and whoops before Jacob said there was ‘One more to come before the break’ and the last song of the first set was a cover of Up Around the Bend by Creedence Clearwater Revival (also covered by Hanoi Rocks) with some Action by The Sweet cleverly worked in. Then Jacob said ‘Thank you! Back in ten minutes’
After a suitable break the second half started with In Your Face from ‘Unlimited’ which reminded me a little of Skid Row’s Makin’ a Mess. ‘The Only Thing We Want, The Only Thing We Need’ was the introduction to a cover of the Bryan Adams song, which had people dancing. Lost In The U.K. started with Vega on slide guitar and a bit of a country vibe. Vega looked to be stroking the fret (Ooh er!) and I noticed his beautifully varnished silver finger nails. Their latest single Toilet Party with a bit of a Love/Hate Black Out In The Red Room start was followed by In’n Out, again from the ‘Join The Party’ album, and this one had Vega using a voice synthesizer to give a wah wah wah wah effect, think Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer. After that Jacob said ‘Thank you motherfuckers. I’m going to ask you a question, make that two questions. Are you having a good time? Two, are you happy? The next song is about happiness’ and the song Happy Man from ‘Unlimited’ was like a slower Get The Funk Out by Extreme. Jacob and Danny were clapping and encouraging the audience to join in. ‘I can’t hear you – your turn’ said Jacob and everyone was singing along to the ‘Na na nas’ which fortunately were easy to master. Jacob stepped down into audience to play a bass solo then he ended up playing behind the bar, reminding me of Joel O’Keeffe and his forays into the audience, every time I’ve seen Airbourne. Vega joined in on the six strings and Jacob rejoined the others back on to stage.
‘I wanna party’ yelled Jacob before their entertaining cover of yet another Creedence Clearwater Revival song Proud Mary, famously covered by Tina Turner and StOp, sToP gave it a twist of their own by seamlessly blending in AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. It sounds a strange combination but it works and, judging by the cheers and claps, was certainly popular with the audience! Two more of their own songs the brilliant Born to Rock and Bad Hair Day, one from each album came next. Then Jacob told us that back in 1969 they released a song but someone stole it! He said ‘You know the song, I want you to scream it’ and that song was a cover of Deep Purple’s Hush. I think this had a bit of Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones mixed in and some Hey You by Jimi Hendrix. Could be wrong on this but I’m sure I picked up some of the lyrics and there was possibly a few more songs worked in. The band were really giving this one their all. A guy ran to front, stripped off his coat and scarf and started shaking his stuff. Couldn’t work out if was trying to emulate Michael Flatley or Tom Jones though!
‘Rock and Roll will never die’ said Jacob ‘It will never die! Good night and Thank you!’ then he held his wine aloft and said ‘We can’t say Good bye without StOp, sToP Jacob was scraping his guitar strings on the microphone, everyone was dancing, Jacob and Vega were bouncing across stage playing together. We then got some solos. Vega at the front of the stage for some screaming riffs, with rhythm backing him up, and Jacob asked us to make some noise for Vega. Danny Stix then gave us a drum solo thrashing the skins before some whoops from the audience and he stood up. Finally ‘Oh yeah. Jacob on bass!’ who told us how they got the name. ‘Police were always telling me you – Stop!….. Stop!’ A few popular classics were blended in, I’m not sure I got them all but they included Iron Man by Black Sabbath, I Was Made for Loving You by Kiss, something by AC/DC but couldn’t get which one before they moved on to Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Deep Purple’s Highway Star. Jacob was crouching and then playing kneeling down. A few shouts of ‘Whoah’ had people shouting back ‘Whoah yeah! Possibly a bit of Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up (they play faster than I can scribble!) A few more ‘Whoah yeahs’ and then the last words to the song StOp, sToP and they all ended up on floor.
Vega and Jacob were then playing on floor. ‘We’ll be back’ shouted Jacob before a cover of Get Back by The Beatles. Some loud cheers and claps came from the audience ‘Thank you very much mother-fuckers’ said Jacob ‘I would go home but do you want more? If you want some more, you need to jump when I say Jump?’ this had everyone jumping, some higher than others. A frenetic version of I Used to Love Her by Guns N’ Roses ended a fantastic set. Jacob said ‘Thank you very much. We’ve got CD’s and t-shirts. We’ll be back’ If they do come back to Macc then I hope they add a bit of Macc’s finest into one of their songs. I’m thinking Poser mixed with Failure With Girls could be a winner (and it’s usually true anyway!) or a co-headline gig would be cool, and yes I have seen The Macc Lads, albeit many years ago!
A thoroughly entertaining evening was had by all. I asked some of the audience if they had enjoyed tonight’s show and the comments included ‘Absolutely Awesome’ ‘Excellent!’ and ‘Yeah, really enjoyed it’ Their set was a good mix of their own material and popular classics rock songs, with some songs being cleverly blended together to add a bit of spice! I can see these guys going on to bigger and better things, they certainly deserve to. In fact it has just been announced that they will be played at Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma this May. I’m sure they will be well received!
If you like Glam Rock and a bit of good old Heavy Rock then see StOp, sToP in a small venue whilst you can you. You won’t be disappointed – it’s like seeing a big band play your local boozer! See here for dates at a venue near you, although I’m thinking The Woolpack in Doncaster may now be cancelled/postponed but you can’t blame them! Doncaster -v- Oklahoma – tough call that! ;)
Jacob A.M. (Lead singer & Bass guitar)
Vega (Guitarist & Backing vocals)
Danny Stix (Drums & Backing vocals)