BUD SUGAR & friends 




Words: Joe Spivey

Photos: Paul Newbon


Upon arrival, around 6:30pm, I found myself wandering the backstage of Arena. Whist passing doors and various corners, a clear atmosphere of family, friendship and gratitude was the first thing I came to notice. Speaking to the hostess Nichola, it became apparent just how much everyone was excited about this event and how it really was a homecoming for everyone who performed, finally getting an opportunity to perform on the biggest stage Hull has ever had to offer. 


At this point, it was a mere ten minutes before the doors were to be opened. The anticipation from a growing queue of both young and old could be felt burning through the walls of the Bonus Arena. It was clear just how much this meant to the audience, as it did to the performers. ‘Vibe Tribe’ adorned t-shirts, flags, bags and others were spotted across the line which was now stretching down the stairs and back towards Paragon Station. As the clock hit seven, the doors broke open and, as a cheer from the crowd broke free, the first in line rushed through the doors and into the arena, eager to get the infamous barrier spot for the first act of the night, Vialetters.



What was once an empty odditorium, was now a respectably filled channel of excited and buzzing attendees, that became more so as Vialetters took to the stage. Although only performing a short set, the newly formed Hull band curated a very enjoyable atmosphere as they showcased a plethora of both released and unreleased singles. Those released, available on all streaming platforms, such as the latest single ‘Genera’, got the crowd moving and it looked as though a good portion of the crowd knew this number, whereas the unreleased songs on the set, created intrigue and excitement around what Vialetters could do next. The Hull band performed a strong and thankful set, closing with ‘State Of Me’, Vialetters seems to have a bright future being a band for the youth in the smaller spaces. One to watch.




After a short break as Vialetters left the stage, the energy in the room seemed to blast through the roof as Endoflevelbaddie appeared. As the crowd came rushing forward to soak up the buzz Baddie created, the madness being blasted out the speakers drowned the audience. Although masked with light and smoke, and the actual masks they wore on their faces, frontman ‘Player 2’ bounced and danced across the stage, seeming to move in and out of a trance as the music went across the room, getting everyone moving all the way up to the VIP boxes. The highlight of EndoflevelBaddie’s set was certainly the reference to Hull and its bubbling music scene, bringing to the stage Lyn Acton of Pearl’s Cab Ride for a few numbers, before closing the set with a collaboration with Hull’s own funk frontman, Luke Bowe of Young Jack. All in all, it was energetic, lively and a strong supporting set for the main act of the night.



Entering the stage in complete darkness, Bud Sugar replicated the anticipation that was brewing before the doors opened all those hours ago, before exploding into colour and confetti as the show began. By the second song ‘Snowflake’, Bud Sugar created a wave of groove and soul that spread across the audience, hypnotising the knees into movement. The crowd soaked up everything the Hull band had to give, from EP and album tracks to a new song inspired by their African and Hull upbringing and heritage. Bud Sugar embraced their ska and reggae roots and were ready to take it into a new dance and groove-based direction, and this they achieved, bouncing their afro-beat all the way down to the back seats of Bonus Arena. After getting through the usual small gig fight, Bud Sugar maintained a lively stage, filled with: dancers, flags, brass sections, giant inflatable balls, confetti, bikes and even some crowd surfing by Lans. Bud Sugar performed a passionate set that explored themes of fatherhood, heritage, culture and growing up and left the stage suitably messy and the crowd suitably ‘vibed’.


Bud Sugar and their guests created an emotional atmosphere both on and off stage and gave the audience a performance that will not soon be forgotten.