Friday, 20 November 2015

Not Your Typical Victorians - Charlie

Gorgeous Dress
I wasn't expecting to be writing this but after such a great night at Think Tank , meeting people like Daniel and Pete and my friends Gillian and Moira, and seeing the amazing costumes that people were wearing , really how could I not?

The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing were promoting their new album Not Your Typical Victorians with their hybrid rockney metal edge. Their comic timing is impeccable , they look great , have a musical saw ,and had the crowd up starting with the title track of the new album through some excellent material such as Charlie , a but of Hey Jude , lots of crowd joining in songs before finishing their encore with Isembard Kingdom Brunel.

They are Steampunk and here is a definition from Impossible Gears:

Steampunk is a design aesthetic rooted in Victorian Science Fiction. Steampunk items are characterised by a high level of craftsmanship and imaginative use of traditional materials combined with unusual additions such as clockwork mechanisms

Daniel and Pete

Daniel and Bo Peep
They really are a must see band and the crowd they attract look great and are incredibly welcoming and friendly.

Another brilliant night , these are a band on my automatic must see list.

If you haven't seen them , do something about it now, at least buy their new album.

And I met Pete, and Daniel of Impossible Gears which has some amazing looking stuff on there. These are the sort of people you meet there

Go on get out !!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Wigging Hour Approacheth

I really didn't expect tobe writing this and certainly wasn't going to be taking any pictures , but the Star Spangled Chestwigs had a Halloween Bash at The Doll at The Black Bull and the place was amazingly decorated , the crowd were fantastic and the band just cemented themselves as my favourite live band for a lot of reasons. I 've said all that needs to be said about them them, The play SHITE and their gigs and the greatest fun you can have without getting locked up.

Lots of favourites were played "Swords of A Thousand Men" , "Antmusic" , "Mama Mia" and lots
more. And the night just flew by.

Although tonight is Halloween , last night was a brilliant curtain raiser and if you get yourself back down there tonoght there will be more (Wigless) mayham.

Shev Takes Time Out For A Slash
A wonderful night was had by all , I got to see my brilliant mate Tom and discuss all sorts of intellectual stuff including the merits and robustness of COBOL (which I first used in 1980) as well as enjoying the brilliant set by the Chestwigs.

There's more video on my Youtube Channel here.

And there's more photos here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

99 Problems and The Chips Aren't One and Fighting Breast Cancer WIth A Big Pink Dress

Monday night I went to see my mate Steffen Peddie's show which gave this piece it's title . I've just realised that I should really get a bit of video to go with it. Steffen  is a great racounteur and can certainly tell a great tale an make your side hurt laughing . The concept of this show is that people put random questions into a bucket and he picks them out and tries to answer them.

The first time I saw him I asked "Why Can't Negative Numbers Have Square Roots?"  and on Monday I asked "What Is The Longest OED Word That Doesn't Contain A Vowel" . He didn't get the end of the second question but still managed to magically weave a comic routine from both questions. The show , because of it's nature is different every time and it takes gits and skill to walk that improvisation tightrope and Steffen proved himself a master in both shows I've seen.

Do I need to say any more , just go and see him

Oh he has a youtube channel here too

Calendar Girl
Secondly  Steffen has a heart of gold because collecting the suggestions were a gorgeous collection of ladies from The Big Pink Dress who are raising awareness and funds to help research in Breast Cancer . To date they have raised over £11,000. Here is their fund raising page.

This is information about their calendar:

Calendars selling quickly but we do have some in stock now at the Visitor Centre in Haven Point, Pier Parade, South Shields. £6.00 in person or £7.35 inc P&P. Telephone 0191 4247788

Sunday, 9 August 2015

A Very Special Festival - Chase Park Whickham 2015

This is probably not going to be a normal music review, because it's more about the concept of this amazing festival. It's supported by Keiro (you can find out about them here) who cater for the needs of young people with disabilities. Keiro in Japanese for  "Pathway and/or Journey". Hence the festival featured Aukestra brought together by Autism and their love of music. I spoke with the lovely female singer who was wearing a great T-Shirt with the words "My Superpower Is Autism - What's Yours" on the front.

A Special Day
The thing about this festival is that it was designed so that people in wheelchairs could easily get about , with tracks laid on the grass. I spoke with people with various "disabilities" and it was just normal. This is how it should be in everyday life, everyone I spoke to was absolutely brilliant. I will be going again next year as it was totally amazing. Oh and the other thing they had someone signing all the songs for anyone who couldn't here. This festival really did bring everyone together.

Also it was family friendly so lots of children heard some brilliant music , so I'll run though the music now with the odd thing that stood out for me. When I first saw the poster I thought Turin Brakes were the headliners, then I looked at the snazzy graphic and realised they were second on the bill!

My next shock was the ticket prices £6 for an adult , £10 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children).

Anyway there was a lot of music on there so I will just point out a few as I said before.

First band that struck me were Hot Soles  , who I did get close up to but produce some excellent rock sounds and any bill with them on is woorth going to see.

Then next were Gallery Circus who get better every time I see them, Theres only two of them but they make an amazing noise and have come on in leaps and bounds since I first saw them in Bar Loco .. and they were good then.

Aukestra were again excellent and I talked about them at the start of this post, just great to see them enjoying themselves and entertaining the crowd and I did catch 15 seconds of them on my Instagram feed , which is here.

Hulkenburg looked and sounded as you would expect from the name , a monster challenging two piece who might have frightened the children but I certainly liked them.

Monogram came on around five and sounded awesome and epic , I suggest you check them out although only a three piece the sound that cam e just filled the area , in a very exciting way. Check them out .

Slug were next up , part of the Sunderland family that has brought us The Futureheads , Field Music and Beak, dressed to the nines and impressing the crowd with some amazing and sophisticated sounds.

Turin Brakes still have it and their songs hit the right chords with everybody, and amazingly rich sound provided by two acoustic guitars . There songs , once heard are never forgotten.

Finally Ash hit the stage and the crowd went sedately wild , there were children and and peopel with disabilities all having a great time. I included the filmed finale which blurs at times , but you can see the song being signed and the crowd having an amazing time. They played lots of hits , some new stuff including "Free" and  "Cuckoo" from Kablammo  finishing up with Burn Baby Burn.

An amazing and perfect day

I'm now looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

An Unexpected Scottish Festival Treat

A good friend invited me up to a small festival at Dalgety Bay , on his doorstep. The bait was Big Country were playing , and after how good they were at Corbridge last year, £20 for a ticket seemed like a steal.

When we got there there was a view of the Forth Bridges and a very good covers band playing Nazareth , Joni Mitchell and U2 songs and this was around mid day this was the start of the PKD Festival . It was only when I got there and saw the line up that I realised what a bargain this was, not only was there Big Country , but we had The Animals featuring Zoot Money , XSM (ex Simple Minds) featuring one ex Simple Mind but delivering in a big way through the rain.

Possibly my biggest surprise was a band called Sorella , a country harmony band who did a stunning version of Queen's "Somebody To Love"  and finished with the song above which I am sorry I dont know the title of , but it is good. They'd opened with a wonderful version of Seven Nation Army which segued into Sweeyt Dreams Are Made of This,

Pirates in Dalgety Bay
I also met the guys from Black Pearl Bay selling their Pirate Wares and Booty , who were absolutely top guys and great fun

Big Country delivered a blistering set , although their music is perfect for outdoor festivals , opening with "Harvest Home" before ripping through an extensive greatest hits list.

And this was after all the other treats and before From The Jam closed the gig.

These band still have it and special mention has to go to the Neil Diamond Karaoke turn who had a lot of the crowd joining it , it wasn't rock but it was fun.

All in all a day that far exceeded my expectations , I suggest you book for next years now.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A Divinely Trashy Afternoon At The Soundroom

This afternoon was my first visit to the Soundroom Recording studios in Gateshead , essentially to see the Ferriday Fireballs and Woment In Revolt. Unfortunately the Fireballs' bass guitarist was taken ill so we were treated to Woment In Revolt sans costume.

Starting Pepper
However before that I'd sampled a couple of the stalls and loved the idea that they have started a Sergeant Pepper type installation at the back of the studio. At the moment there's just the drums guitar and the name , but the intention is to get everyone who uses the studios to appear in the installation.

I had to walk to the studio from Newcastle , but  it was a nice day and it turns out that it's at an intersection of lots of but routes, so is actually very easy to get to. Everyon e I talked to was really pleasant and if I ever need a studio I will definitely use them. It's a community project so everyone can get involved

Beki's Delights
Today was also a rumble sale (see here) and there were loads of great related stalls and displays like Beki's on the left and the guitars and keyboards and vintage Apples below.

There was lots of vinyl books and CDs as well as lots of suitably delectable divine trash.

I got a couple of CDs and 7" singles, which I have to listen to later.
Apples and Axes

Anyway we were treated to an excellent set from Women In Revolt , who soundchecked with Rumble , a short snippet is here on my Instagram Channel. They then opened with tRockin' With The Rollers and gave us forty minutes of excellent garage rock , in a very relaxed setting. A mixture of covers and originals including Richard Hell's Love Comes In Spurts and Wayne County's signature tune "Fuck Off" both excellently executed before closing with Oestrogynal Itch. Looking forward to the next gig.

So a really great way to spend the afternoon, and hope this is the first of many afternoons there, and I cant wait to see the SErgeant Pepper installation grow.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Divinely Trashed Summer Salsa Style

Art the moment the Vamos festival on in full swing on Tyneside with lots of events covering all areas, including food , film , dance and music , with a hot saucy Mexican/ South American / Iberian flavour.

Upcoming with have chocolate , Kid Creole ,  print , a film history of Mexploitation at the Tyneside Cinema curated by my good friend Craig , who this week I found was behind a book about the films of Elvis Presley. Check the link for a full list of events at the festival , lots of then free and all of them worth your time.

Divinely Trashy
This post is a short one about a showing of an Isabel Sarli mexploitation vehicle, The Female, with an excellent introduction by Craig , who pointed it out that it was a true "B" movie , meant to be in Mexico but shot in Argentina ,and dubbed not subtitled , as well as being in black and white . Craig told us that Isabel's make up and hair was always the same whether she was in bed , in the kitchen , or digging a ditch , and was  the inspiration for Divine's look in the numerous John Waters films that he appeared. That fact alone was worth the price of admission and needless to say the film is what you would expect , but great fun to watch. It is available on Amazon here and lots of here films are on Youtube as long as you confirm you age. Every afternoon in the Tyneside Cinema Cafe there are related film clips and music from the genre for you to enjoy.

This was a great start to the week , but the Divine Trash presentations are always worth going along to as you always discover something that you never imagines could be true.

Looking forward to the next one

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Trillians Rising

Trillians is Go
This week has been amazing (see my main blog for why here) , and tonight at Think Tank? my friend Barbara told me she was reopening Trillians , Necastle's legendary Rock Bar , with a proposed opening date of 12th of June.

When Trillians closed it was like something had been cut out of Newcastle , and with the proliferation of  flash harry bars made me fear that something similar would happen here, but know it's been taken over by someone who holds the rock spirit close and will foster that, giving the rock community it's home back.

I saw many great gigs there including The Coyotemen and the Star Spangled Chestwigs, as well as just enjoying the cracking jukebox , and fantastic atmosphere. I am so looking forward to going there again enjoying good music , great atmosphere and just being with great people.

You need to get there too , if you don't use it then don't complain when all you have left is your local Tesco to buy your drink.

The music is The Eagles "Journey of The Sorcerer" , theme tune to Douglas Adams Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, Trillian  being the girl Arthur tried to get off with.

So get yourself down there , it's time to rock again.

Think Coyotemen , Think Dictators

Tonight was my fourth gig in five days. Everyone has been brilliant, Clippah , Arkala , Ms Dynamite , Dalaro, Pop Will Eat Itself,  and tonight The Coyotemen and The Dictators. I must say I am extremely spoilt in my options to go and see bands in Newcastle , and the long weekend has given me the option of making the most of everything.

Coyotemen are go
Tonight we went along to Think Tank? and were served up a high energy treat, Missed the first band but the Coyotemen ,bedecked in suitable shirts and impressive Mexican wresting masks served up typical classic high octane rock and roll peppered with classics such as "Any Port In A Storm" and "New Tattoo" (hope I got the titles right).

 These guys give you faith in rock and roll and get better every time I see them despite every gig they play being their final blow out , but we know the Coyotemen will go on forever. Not a second wasted, top speed entertainment, setting the stage for the nights headliners.......

Dictators on Stage
... the Dictators featuring Handsome Dick Manitoba, they are rock royalty , and it is just amazing how many songs you know and even if you don't know them you ended up singing along. Mr Manitoba has a bar in New York and offered everyone a drink , so that is one of the places I need to visit when I go later in the year. Songs like "Cars and Girls" , "Avenue A" , "Faster and Louder" and the place jumping , spiced with covers of "Slow Death" , "California Sun" and the finale of "Kick Out The Jams".

A stunning night , I've seldom seen so many smiling faces at a gig , and Handsome Dick is a brilliant front man in a brilliant band. I know they are legends , and tonight I found out why.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

An Unexpected Sailing on Clippah at JJ20

This is a post I certainly didn't expect to do , especially on the blog. It was my friends John and Julie's 20th Wedding anniversary , but where most people organize a meal , night out , part at home , John and Julie organised their own weekend festival with camping , bands and DJs in a big field in Northumberland signposted by JJ20 signs down even ever smaller and rougher roads until you find the place, which is well landscaped for music.

The Engineer Has It Covered
Last nights band Clippah were a young five piece , the lead singer sporting a huge beard. They ran through an instrumental sound check which sounded promising and I posted 15 seconds of it on Instagram.The engineer had a great sense of humour as the picture shows, and then the band kicked. My first impressions were Free, and they had a good mix of originals and covers , doing justice to the Sonics "Have Love Will Travel" and a superb version of the Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter", I didn't catch the titles of all the songs but the crowd loved them and the time flew by., remember "Rib Cage" and "Coastline" was brilliant.

They have a Facebook page and play a charity night with the DJooks in Morpeth (details here)

An  excellent night and will be seeing these guys again

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Lion Still Talks

This was my third gig in three days , and once more at the Cluny to see the amazing CW Stoneking's New Orleans Australian Jazz Blues

I walked in on the Monkey Junk Blues band , a geordie two piece belting out acoustic based blues standards with some force , including Robert Johnson , Elmore James , Charlie Patton and more , finishing with a crowd driving version of Muddy Waters "Got My Mojo Working". I spoke to the singer , John Nellist, and he told me about the blues club they run in Heaton at The Butterfly Cabinet which is now on my list to visit.  Andy the guitarist was stunning and played some excellent slide . That's second band in three days with a brilliant slide guitar , the other being the Smoke Fairies.

Gon' Boogaloo
CW Stoneking came on stage with a new band. This is more Primitive Western Swing that Primitive Horn Orchestra.One the early new songs was Zombie from the album Gon' Boogaloo which I immediately added to my collection , the crowd were hooked and buzzing. Seeing Stoneking is like being transported to an alternate 1930's reality and it's great, the band were given rests during the night but Stoneking kept on stage regaling us with tales of how he worked as a handyman , shipwrecks , pygmies and how he can never play his banjo ever again , plus the reason for the existence of the Bermuda Triangle.

The band were amazing , and the two backing singers wonderful adding to a fantastic experience. I'm already looking forward to the next gig , another amazing night in the presence  of a genuine character and genius.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Goth In All Over The World

I'll be honest , I went to this gig to see Jordan Reyne and was disappointed that she was to unwell to play, but these things happen and I'd rather that she got better so she can come again. Having said that there were still three bands on to enjoy, all in roughly the Goth and Rock universe.

I was talking to a blonde girl with teh promoter Eddie , and she turned out to be the singer with Arcane 39 the opening band. They opened with a cracking take on Black Sabbath's War Pigs, and I was expected more in the same vein especially with the bands name , also a female lead on a Sabbath song gave it and great feel. The following songs were essentially sometimes off kilter (in a good way) rock , sounding better for me on the fast numbers. Definitely a band to watch out for and you can find em on Facebook just click on the name link.

Next up were Dead Eyes Opened and for me they were the revelation of the night, a three piece with shades of Sisters of Mercy , late period Damned and a sliver of Nick Cave. This band a Goth and carry threat in their sound. Song after song , wave after wave of amazing sound , which didn't let up. Definitely looking forward to seeing them again and chatted with their singer , who is a really nice guy.

Mission Statement
Headliners were Rhombus with and expansive guitar based sound and imposing stage presence. The bass guitarist had guested with Dead Eyes Opened.

The Cluny was possibly a little too small for them but they filled the place with sound and had the select crowd on their feet all the way through until the end. A good end to a great night of Goth oriented music , every band is on my list to see again , and should be on yours to see at least once.

In Orbit at The Riverside - A Public Service Broadcast

On Thursday I went to see Public Service Broadcasting for the second time this year, now expanding to a four piece recalling Kraftwerk's line up in feel as well as look. Several of their songs such as Spitfire utilise Neu's Motorik mechanical beat , giving an excellent framework to the entertaining as well as educational delivery. The Riverside was fully opened up for the night meaning that those at the back had the top half of the stage blocked out, the Riverside does need and internal redesign at some point for putting on big gigs, but I was at the front so it didn't really matter, the building is impressive and the bar staff very efficient.

Smoke Fairies
The support were the Smoke Fairies who manage to combine a heaviness with etheriality, with some amazing dirty slide guitar. They also provide backing vocals on the Public Service Broadcasting song Valentina on The Race For Space album. Their set passed fairly quickly as every song was excellent andit was a welcome return when their voices graced Valentina. The Shadow Inversions track gives a good indication of how good they are and the video is extremely inventive as well.

In Orbit
Public Service Broadcasting took to the stage at 9pm , now expanded to a four piece , playing old and new songs and wowing the crowd with the visuals and brilliance of weaving new music wit old samples and footage. They are probably the only band that you come away from having learned and seen something new. Songs such as Spitfire and Go stood out before their encore starting with Gagarin complete with brass section and dancing cosmonaut andfinishing with Everest with a poignant dediation to the Nepalese earthquake.

They are the first band I've seen that sell their own tea towels , this time on how to build your own rocket.

So another brilliant gig, and this was the first of three consecutive nights for me.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Nadine Shah GOTH Girl

I've enjoyed a lot of gigs recently , but not reported them on here because the bands are big and will definitely reported elsewhere. These were the Alabama 3 at the O2 Academy and Lee Scratch Perry at The Riverside , both amazing nights, but last night was Nadine Shah at the Gateshead Old Town Hall ( with a great acronym GOTH). It's the first time I'd been here as a venue , although it had been used by the Tyneside Cinema during it's refurbishment, but I was still not too sure what to expect although I had been one for one of their Choir programs.

Support band were Retriever , a local band and friends of Nadine, they played a half hour set, and the audience rightly loved them , the guitar treatment made sound as though it was in another building , but in a good way. I liked them and would happily pay to go and see them. A 4 piece with Jesus and Mary Chain Influences I found various articles but they're on Twitter here, and have a couple of EPS and singles out at the moment.

Nadine Shah Onstage at GOTH
Nadine Shah came on at 9 O' Clock to an acoustic loop based "Nothing Else To Do" from the new album Fast Food much to the crowd's enjoyment. Nadine's voice is deep and mesmerising and needs almost no accompaniment , but the music she and the band provide and are mesmerising slabs of drone excellence embellished with sounds notes and riffs that leave you amazed and stunned. I've been a fan since first hearing Aching Bones from her first album "Love Your Dum and Mad" which also got a run out last night along with the singles Stealing Cars and the closer "Fool" from the new album. The set was brilliant and the setting was amazing. Nadine was emotional as it was a hometown return , and she admitted to being nervous , but last night just confirnmed her position of one of my favourite female artists. While her look owes a little to Robert Palmer's backing singers on Addicted To Love crossed with Siouixsie her warmth and crowd engagement was wonderful.

I think she is already in with Jordan Reyne , PJ Harvey and Siouxsie as one of my greatest female artists, and I enjoyed this gig knowing that the next time she will probably be on the main stage at the Sage. The sound was amazing and the band were brilliant , and anyone not there missed a truly amazing night, although they can still buy the albums which are both amazing and probably unlike anything you will have heard. A great night and a privilege to be there

Monday, 23 February 2015

6 Music Festival Day 3 - With A Baggy Finale

PSB at the 6 Music Festival at the Sage
This was the main day that I wanted to see , though every day was worth going to see. Today was great because it was shared with a lot of friends who I went with , as well as a few who I didn't know were going. We started with an attempted lunch at the Central who unfortunately ran out of food due to the overspill for the 6 Music Festival.

We then went for coffee at The Baltic before wandering into the Sage for the first act. It turned out that John Hopkins the headliner in Hall 2 had pulled out resulting in lots of clashes for me. British Sea Power, Nadine Shah (the stand in act and so brilliant) , and King Creosote to start off with , then Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Wire and Gaz Coombes next up and the night finished with a choice of The Charlatans , The Maccabees and Teleman . This is just my own personal tastes but as I said in my last post Festivals just mean you miss out on some good stuff because , in your opinion, there's better stuff to see. This festival worked extremely well because it's still very cold outside and the festival was completely inside in The Sage.

The only problem is that the concourse stage resulted in a crushed crowd for the popular acts such as Public Service Broadcasting, they need to think about re siting the Concourse Stage , maybe at the West End so that you can use the whole of the concourse to watch the gig.

Anyway like yesterdays post this was my choice of viewing and listening:

British Sea Power:

 This was the first difficult decision of the day especially given that Nadine Shah was now playing . I caught some of King Creosote while helping my friend Bethany get her guitar and bags to to the cloakroom after being escorted there by security, They seemed to be under the impression that she was some kind of guerrilla busker!

Anyway I went into Hall 1 and  British Sea Power were already under way accompanied by on stage flora although the fauna was absent. The sound all over the Sage is the best I've heard anywhere and British Sea Power used it to full advantage.

I must confess , despite owning several albums , I don't know any songs by British Sea Power apart from "Waving Flags" , just love allowing the whole album to wash over me, and their set was treated in the same way. Very powerful rock, and a brilliant start to the night.

Gaz Coombes:

A lot of people thought Gaz Coombes would be "all right". About fifteen minutes in they were shoe horning people into seats. Gaz and the band were not highlighted on stage , but the songs were fantastic and I think a lot of people will be ordering a copy of Matador on the back of this performance. I can name check songs such as Buffalo , 20/20 and Detroit because I've been playing the album for a few weeks after hearing songs on BBC 6 Music.

The sound was amazing and the crowd, like me , loved every minute. By the end of this set you had had your moneys worth for the festival.

Neneh Cherry:

Neneh Cherry had the second smallest band I'd seen at the festival, just here , drums and keyboards / electronics. Despite the minimal line up the sound filled the hall and the songs had the crowd going. Her music is beat heavy but she does sing and her father ,  trumpeter Don who died twenty years ago, would have been so proud and impressed with her.

Public Service Broadcasting:

This was on the concourse and because so many people wanted to see it, it ended up with an , in my opinion, dangerous crush in front of the stage. I moved out to the side and enjoyed another brilliant set featuring excellent visuals , material from the new album "The Race For Space" culminating with the now classics "Spitfire" and "Everest". It's not often you get educational great music , but with these guys you do.

The Charlatans:

 The final set of the festival for me and Hall 1 was so packed that I ended up in the back row at the top of level 3. The band looked a long way off but immediately the crowd were "up for it, mixing new material with classics like "One To Another" , "The Only One I Know" and "Country Boy" before finishing in a glorious finale of "Sproston Green"

A brilliant end to a brilliant festival.  Now it's time to come back down to earth.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

6 Music Festival Day 2

The Sage Seen behind The Tyne Bridge
The problem with big festivals is that usually there will be acts that you miss because of clashes, or worse because you can't get tickets. That is why I'm unlikely to ever get to Glastonbury, which has become very corporate and is a critical victim of it's own success, and there is no answer to that. It is the most popular, awaited festival there is , everybody wants a ticket and everybody wants to play, but you are bound to miss lots of bands you want to see, unless you are one of the morons who go because it's Glastonbury and thinks the Foo Fighters are something from WWE RAW.

While I missed Friday and all the daytime acts I did manage to get tickets for Saturday and Sunday night at The Sage , even though , like Glastonbury , the tickets sold out in minutes. Anyway after going through the ticket checks the event was extremely well organised and every act I say was brilliant. The only real clashes for me were Father John Misty and The Fall and then Django Django and Royal Blood. The main draw for me was Royal Blood , who I'd missed at their sold out Riverside gig in October.

The great thing about the festival is that there are four performance areas in use all under cover of the immense Sage glass domes. You can wander between halls and stand or sit depending on what you want to do. The festival program is here as a PDF download

Anyway this was my choice of viewing:

Ghost Poet:

Introduced by Tom Ravenscroft , my first choice in Hall 2, not too packed but an excellent take on hip hop with a great supporting band , featuring material from the new album. The sound was spot on and that is one of the benefits of hearing acts at the Sage. The new album features the excellent single Off Peak Dreams which has had a lot of airplay on 6 Music.

The Fall:

A typical Fall show, but the sound of the band was incredibly clear. Two drummers driving behind a besuited Mark E Smith's monotone ranting vocals in an absolutely brilliant set. This was in Hall 1 the main hall at the Sage and the stalls seats had been removed to create a large mosh pit. The funniest thing I saw was four women comparing holiday snaps and family photos in their phones and tablets as The Fall played, I'm sure Mark E Smith would have been amused by the incongruity of it all.

Kate Tempest:

Still in Hall 1 this was Kate's second set of the night having played with Eliza Carthy earlier. Kate is a rapper and poet with an excellent social edge . Backed by an excellent band she delivered a brilliant set , challenging and exhilarating. She also delivered a call for social care and not to be apathetic as well as telling us that the music community should be treasured, and how we were all apart of that. The biggest sin is apathy , while we might not know what to do we should maintain our awareness . Hopefully attitudes like hers will contribute to a major change come the election this year.

Stuart Maconie:

Just caught Stuart doing a  Northern Soul disco in Hall 3 , I stayed for Gloria Jones' "Tainted Love" and "Sliced Tomatoes" by The Just Brothers plus another one with suitable disco lighting. Very Enjoyable.

Royal Blood:

Royal Blood were the main reason I bought a ticket and they certainly did not disappoint. A two piece assaulting the crowd with monstrous riffs and a stunning light show. This is a band that really need to be seen live. The album is great, but live they take it to another level. They were on for about forty minutes but it went by very quickly. Again Hall 1's amazing acoustics added to the amazing experience.

Gruff Rhys:

The last act I saw , featuring mesmerising songs from American Interior , his latest album on an excellent stage beset by cacti. The songs are up to Super Furry Animals standard and the set was a fantastic end to a brilliant night. I'm now looking forward to today.

Friday, 20 February 2015

King Charles Man Made Gallery Circus at The Riverside with a bit of Johnny Marr

Last nights gig was my first at The Riverside (formerly Sea), a night club about twenty feet away from the waters of the River Tyne and part of the Think Tank? empire. The gig was absolutely superb apart from the toilets overflowing and leaking onto the crowd below and threatening £30Ks worth of sound console that had to be protected by bin liners, they seriously need to resite the toilets. But I managed to avoid the shower and took a spot behind the consoles which gave us a better view of the bands. The names of the bands run together sound like some kind of profound statement and they all gave an amazing show

Man Made

Man Made on Tour
A three piece, long hair real rock ban, and another case of me not being too bothered about the support band, but I am so glad that I caught them . Shook hand and congratulated the guitarist after the gig and they can grace bigger stages than here. Vocals and guitars blended into excellent songs which made the time fly by and they are playing Think Tank? on March 7th so that gig should be put into your diary straight away but at the moment is not showing up on the web site.

The lead guitarist is Niles Marr son of Johnny Marr and he is pretty good, and that could explain a lot. I am so glad I saw them. Their facebook page is here.

Gallery Circus

I first saw Gallery Circus at a Burlesque night at Bar Loco (I think is was Barcolo then) , and expected a couple of angsty student, they were actually good and one of the highlights of the night. Five years and they are still a two piece playing a non stop exhilarating aural assault that took your breath away.The video for Hollywood drip gives you an idea of why you need to see these guys. Gallery Circus are something else.

By the end of their set, you really had had your moneys worth for the gig and the headliner was yet to appear....

King Charles

The fancy clothes and ringlets have gone , but there's still a fair barnet there, King Charles started with a new song solo, before the band hit the ground running with Mississippi Isobel. Kirsty said that every King Charles gig she goes to there's more and more people know the words to the songs. I still think he's the best thing since Adam Ant and the songs are catch as hell.

Several more favourites were run through before closing the main set with a cover of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" running into Lady Percy, the crowd stamped and chanted for an encore and they werent disappointed. Another triumphal gig for King Charles leaving the fans wanting more and awaiting the new album

Oh by the way , this gig cost £13 , after seeing the acts , double that would have been cheap.

A fantastic night.