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.