Sonic Boom Six (often shortened to SB6) are a five-piece rock band from Manchester, United Kingdom. Their eclectic sound combines different elements of several genres and has been described by Kerrang! as "taking ska, pop, grime, dubstep, punk and metal apart, then rebuilding them as a hyperactive hybrid". Their lyrics tend to focus on social commentary with a live show known for "clashing activism and good times". The band's influences include Bad Brains, Public Enemy, The Fugees, The Specials, The Streets, and The Clash.
Sonic Boom Six first appeared on the Manchester punk scene in April 2002. Some of their members were previously in the band Grimace. Their self-titled demo, recorded with Jerry Melchers, was self-released in October 2002. To promote the CD, they toured the UK with third wave ska veterans The Toasters and London ska punk/hip hop band King Prawn. They also toured with Coolie Ranx and performed as his backing band. In September 2003, they released The Turbo EP, their first release for Moon Ska Europe. This was produced by Ace (of Skunk Anansie) and Christophe. After a series of good reviews, Sonic Boom Six were invited to perform a session on BBC Radio One's The Lock Up.
After further touring with Catch 22, as well as on the Moon Ska Launchpad Tour 2004 (alongside Zen Baseballbat, Graveltrap, Babar Luck and Dumpster Pop), the band re-united with Ace and Christophe to record their second EP. Sounds to Consume was released on Moon Ska Europe in August 2004, and include the Turbo EP as bonus tracks. After tour dates with Left?ver Crack and The Suicide Machines, the band appeared on BBC2's Asian arts programme Desi DNA performing in a scrapyard, as well as being interviewed by Adil Ray for his show on the BBC Asian Network.
Sonic Boom Six performing "All In" with Itch of The King Blues. Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, 27 August 2006
In early February 2005, Sonic Boom Six replaced guitarist Dave "Hellfire" Kelly with guitarist Ben, who used to play sax, thus making SB6 a four-piece. Ben's old sax parts are now played through a sampler when performing live, or by musicians from other bands, such as Grown at Home and The Flaming Tsunamis. In 2005, the band opened the Love Music Hate Racism event on the Leftfield Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, played Belgium's Sortie 23 festival and performed at the premier of the Rock Against Racism film Who Shot the Sheriff? with HARD-Fi and Roll Deep. 2005 also saw the release of the Champion Edition of Sounds to Consume, which featured four of their original demo tracks (remixed by Tim G), three remixes, an acoustic track and a video. They also embarked on several dates on the inaugural Good To Go Tour alongside The Aquabats and Never Heard of It.
In 2006, the band recorded their second session for BBC Radio 1's The Lock Up, which was broadcast on 27 June. They were joined by Pete and Tucker from Jesse James and Itch from The King Blues. Their debut full-length album, The Ruff Guide to Genre-Terrorism, was released on 10 July 2006 on Deck Cheese Records, and in August 2006 the band played the Reading and Leeds Festivals as a last minute replacement for Paramore. They were joined again by Itch of The King Blues for a performance of "All In" (singing the parts of the song written by Coolie Ranx) and Nick 'The Blade' Horne of Howards Alias, partner of vocalist Laila, who played trombone on the songs "Bigger Than Punk Rock" and "Until the Sunlight Comes".
In May 2007, they played at the Slam Dunk Festival at Leeds University Union with Paramore and Reel Big Fish. During Reel Big Fish's set, Laila joined the band on stage to sing parts of "She Has a Girlfriend Now" alongside Aaron Barrett. She joined them again during Reel Big Fish's Monkeys for Nothin' winter tour in 2008. They played the Reading and Leeds Festivals again in 2007, on the Lock Up stage, playing not only their own material but covering the song "Sound System" by Operation Ivy. During this song, Itch from the King Blues once again joined them on stage to sing it. November 2007 saw the release of the band's second full-length CD, Arcade Perfect, on their own Rebel Alliance Recordings.
In May 2008, the band embarked on the Rude Awakening 2008 tour, alongside Big D and the Kids Table and Random Hand. 2008 also saw a second Ruff and Ready tour. This was followed by the release of a remixes, b-sides and rarities album entitled Play On: Rare, Rejected and Arcade Perfected, which the band toured in support of in late 2008. Nick Horne also joined the band as a full time member, now playing guitar and bass live as well as trombone. They played at the Hevy Music Festival on 1 August 2009.
In May 2009 Sonic Boom Six released their third album City of Thieves, once again on Rebel Alliance Recordings. August 2009 saw Sonic Boom Six open the Main Stage at the Reading and Leeds Festival.
On 8 October 2009, it was announced on the band's official website that Ben Childs would be leaving the band after the forthcoming "Boom or Bust" tour and that he would be temporarily replaced by Matthew Reynolds ? current vocalist and guitarist with rock band Drawings and also formerly of Howards Alias. In February 2010 new permanent member James "Jimmy T Boom" Routh, formerly of Myth of Unity, joined the band on guitar.