BROTHERS OSBORNE | LUCIE SILVAS | 27.11.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

BROTHERS OSBORNE | LUCIE SILVAS | 27.11.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Brothers Osborne and Lucie Silvas – 27th November 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)

Brothers Osborne have been on my list of bands to see for quite a while, ever since Spotify randomly served me up ‘Shoot Me Straight’ on a “Discover” playlist one day. Since then I’ve had both of their albums on near constant repeat, hooked in by the perfect mix of outlaw country-rock, vividly descriptive lyrics, TJ Osborne’s distinctive deep voice and John Osborne’s incendiary guitar playing.

Support for the evening was provided by the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas, promoting her new album E.G.O. It’s hard to pin Lucie’s style down to one particular genre and you could tell she has a wide variety of influences, her set was a mixture of pop, country and soulful blues.

Opening song ‘Kite’ had a really funky bassline and got the audience dancing, and this was followed by a stripped down piano-led ballad ‘I Want You All to Myself’ which was beautifully delivered and highlighted Lucie’s stunning voice.

Lucie mentioned that at a meet and greet earlier she’d been talking to some fans who’d recently lost someone special to them, so she delivered a breath-taking acapella verse and chorus of ‘Forget Me Not’ in their memory. I was standing close to the fans in question and I could see how much the gesture meant to them- it was a beautifully touching moment.

A surprise inclusion of the Jackson 5’s ‘Who’s Loving You’ was skillfully performed, before Lucie closed her set with the title track from her new album ‘E.G.O’ and received a very warm ovation from the crowd.

Headlining at O2 Academy for the first time, the Brothers Osborne are touring their latest album Port Saint Joe. The band were last here as support for the Cadillac Three and it seems that word had spread since their last appearance, with a sizeable crowd awaiting them in the packed out main hall.

Opening with kickass party song ‘Drank Like Hank’, Brothers Osborne were on great form. The Brothers have the rock n roll combination frontman/lead guitarist archetypes nailed down, and they front an excellent band of musicians. TJ has an understated charisma as the frontman, and his voice is deep and powerful without being domineering, while John on lead guitar always plays the perfect piece for the song, from slow tasteful blues licks to more intricate well-crafted extended solo sections.

The band kept the energy up with a storming rendition of ‘Shoot Me Straight’, the two brothers’ vocal harmonies locked in tight, and John Osborne showcased his impressive guitar playing in the first extended lead break of the night.

The setlist was perfectly balanced and showed the depth of brothers’ songwriting abilities, from soulful ballads like ‘I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)’ and ‘Pushing up Daisies’, to an awesome slide-blues jam in ‘Down Home’, to more upbeat songs about the finer (and simpler) things in life in ‘Greener Pastures’ and ‘Rum’. Their vocal harmonies shone throughout the set, especially on their Dierks Bentley collaboration ‘Burning Man’, and the whole band were impressively tight throughout. Additional credit must go to the sound engineer, as the overall mix was crystal clear and TJ’s deep, sonorous vocals cut through with clarity in a cavernous venue where that can be notoriously difficult to achieve.

There was a brief respite in the set for a short acoustic section, including ‘Tequila Again’ and a stunning rendition of ‘21 Summer’, with a cover of Steve Earle’s ‘Copperhead Road’ included for good measure. A personal highlight of the evening was an epic delivery of ‘Stay a Little Longer’, which started as a beautiful country pop tune that finally building into a massive rock instrumental crescendo in which John’s exquisite guitar playing took centre stage.

The main set was rounded off with ‘It Ain’t My Fault’, complete with an extended jam in the mid-section which gave the rest of the band a chance to show what they could do too, plus some more impressive guitar playing from John. The band left the stage but the audience weren’t satisfied to let the evening end there, singing the main riff from ‘It Ain’t My Fault’ loudly until the brothers returned for a 5 song encore, in which Lucie Silvas joined the brothers on stage to duet on a beautiful rendition of ‘Lovin’ Me Back’.

The audience were given one final opportunity to lose their voices with a cover of John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ brought to a close probably the most impressive gig I’ve seen in 2018 in terms of overall atmosphere and performance (no mean feat in a year that has included Steve Earle, Blackberry Smoke, Iron Maiden, plus my all-time personal favourites The Wildhearts and Volbeat).

Note: At the time of writing it has just been announced that Port Saint Joe has been nominated for the Best Country Album Grammy, further proof that this is a band that’s on their way to greater heights!

Setlist:

  1. Drank Like Hank
  2. Shoot Me Straight
  3. I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)
  4. Weed, Whiskey And Willie
  5. Greener Pastures
  6. Down Home
  7. Rum
  8. Burning Man
  9. Tequila Again (acoustic)
  10. 21 Summer  (acoustic)
  11. Copperhead Road (Steve Earle cover)
  12. Stay A Little Longer
  13. It Ain’t My Fault
  14. Pushing up Daisies
  15. Pawn Shop
  16. Lovin’ Me Back (with Lucie Silvas)
  17. A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright
  18. Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver cover)

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HOLY MOLY AND THE CRACKERS | 30.11.2018 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

HOLY MOLY AND THE CRACKERS | 30.11.2018 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Holy Moly and the Crackers – 30th November 2018 – Newcastle Riverside

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Holy Moly and the Crackers - 30th November 2018 - Newcastle Riverside

There was quite a buzz as I arrived at the venue. Many had gathered early from a varying of ages. Holy Moly and the Crackers were kickstarting the weekend for many at the Riverside in Newcastle.

Opening the night we have local band Portraits. I saw these guys recently supporting another band and something felt a bit flat that night. Not with them, but the night in general. This night was very different! They gave their all again but everything seemed more free-flowing and every member on the stage felt pumped with energy. There was definitely something in this Friday night air.

Moments before Holy Moly and The Crackers came on the floor space literally packed in every inch and spirits seemed very high. Lights down and smoke filling the stage and I felt the audience’s excitement in me! Holy Moly are Newcastle based and they have been on the scene for a quite a few years now. I am Newcastle based. Heard the name for years. This would be my first time seeing them though I have crossed paths with a few members at times.

Holy Moly & The Crackers - Riverside, Newcastle - 30th Nov 2018 - 39

The venue erupted as soon as the music started from both the crowd and the band. It was pure electricity pumping through me as I watched what was going on in front of me. Every member on that stage was infectious with energy. It was a solid set from start to end.

Holy Moly & The Crackers - Riverside, Newcastle - 30th Nov 2018 - 34

Leadman Conrad Bird was unstoppable. He covered every part of the stage and up close with every member of the band. How he kept his breath throughout is amazing especially as he was also on the trumpet and guitar. In fact that goes for every member, it just so happens Conrad was covering space more, as we had Ruth Patterson’s arms everywhere when she wasn’t conducting the fiddle. Accordion player Rosie Bristow was almost doing acrobatics as she played with Nick Tyler on his electric guitar jumping up and down behind her then Jamie Shields slapping da bass and Tommy Evans drumming like all possessed drummers do! Piece this all together and it is one of the most exciting things to witness at a live show.

We are given many songs from the back catalogue including Cold Comfort Lane which featured in the blockbuster Ocean’s 8. River Neva brings a real ‘knees up’ affair but to be honest the whole night is one big knees up. And if that wasn’t enough we are treated to some new songs such as All I Got Is You to acrobatics moves in Upside Down courtesy of their circus performing friend Hannah.

It sure is one big party with Holy Moly and The Crackers and we end with Devil & The Danube…..if only they were allowed…as not even given the chance to completely walk off the stage the chants for one more come quick, fast and loud, that Ruth and Conrad remain on stage for a beautiful duet called Ain’t That Enough. Maybe the quietest song of the night but the energy is still the same as Ruth’s vocals get the chance to shine that bit more and are complemented by Conrad’s huskiness. The venue is at high intensity that when the song finishes the other band members run back on stage and play us out with the stomper that is Mary.

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ANNA PANCALDI | BRYDE | LYLA FOY | 24.11.2018 | Hemelvaart Ayton | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ANNA PANCALDI | BRYDE | LYLA FOY | 24.11.2018 | Hemelvaart Ayton | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Anna Pancaldi, Bryde and Lyla Foy – 24th November 2018 – Hemelvaart Ayton

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy - 24th November 2018 - Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland
Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy – 24th November 2018 – Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland

There are some artists you can see time and time again and it is always refreshing, take the artists Bryde and Lyla Foy for instance. I only saw them play the night before prior to this gig. This gig was last minute as it was a ‘day off’ but their friend Anna Pancaldi had a solo gig with no supports so traveling an hour plus up the A1 sounded great, for them and for me.

Hemelvaart is just past the border into Scotland and a little hidden gem in the village of Ayton and is known as a bier cafe and the beer is worth the drive (but do stay so you don’t drive after sampling the fine stuff!). Pair this with fine music then you are onto a great night.

Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy - 24th November 2018 - Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland
Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy – 24th November 2018 – Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland

Lyla opens the nights proceedings. The set begins with the final track; With The Night from her current album Bigger Brighter and it is such a soothing performance. If the lights had been dimmed more and there was a fire lit, what a cozy night it would have been. The audience are a very quiet bunch and seemed too polite to say anything, which in a way is good as we could hear every beautiful note Lyla gives us.

The first few songs Lyla performs are on keys and then moves to the guitar. After a few tuning problems we hear Impossible, which actually featured in an animated series called Bojack Horseman! A bit of tweaking here and there, we got a slightly different version for those familiar with Lyla’s music but non-the-less and being  the natural talent that she is, it was a wonderful end to her set.

Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy - 24th November 2018 - Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland
Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy – 24th November 2018 – Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland

There’s no messing with Bryde as she manages to squeeze in seven songs into her short set with a mix of songs from her debut album, Like An Island, and a few EP tracks. We begin with Handstands and even get the quieter tracks like Wait. The audience remain their quiet selves and again this is a bonus. Over the past year I have seen Bryde a number of times and mainly backed by a band but this tour sees her solo and it is amazing. She looses non of her charm being solo. In fact her performance is that bit more captivating. I would say much more but I also love it when she plays with the band. The chemistry she has with the band is bounced off the audience instead on this night. We also get the wonderful cover of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Flaws as a duet with Lyla. Hearing them together is something to be witnessed and it’s great that I can say that I have had the privilege of seeing it performed twice.

Anna Pancaldi is a new name to me and an added bonus to the night although it was her headline show as I had come on the back of the Bryde and Lyla Foy tour. Being a music fan, especially of live music, I always try to get to see all acts on the bill and my original reasonings for being at the Hemelvaart show was the reverse of most people in attendance. We all got more than we bargained for.

Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy - 24th November 2018 - Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland
Anna Pancaldi with Bryde and Lyla Foy – 24th November 2018 – Hemelvaart Ayton Scotland

An acoustic guitar accompanies Anna’s soulful tones as she opens with Promise We’ll Never Grow Old. Anna is also quite a character and in between songs we get stories of misheard Anne Marie lyrics to accidental roadkill and to finding the comfortable silence in between songs. Yes, there was that silence again but it definitely was at one with the room. Anna gets to showoff her talents more so and if you had her emotional charged vocals you would too, and we get an acapella version of Can’t Help Loving Dat Man from the musical Showboat and ends her set unplugged. Her set is very stripped back (as it is for Bryde and Lyla). After hearing the songs in this environment and then hitting the streaming sites to hear the full sound, it was definitely a pleasure to hear Runaway and Stay Right Here this way.

Bryde pointed out earlier that we were getting three female artists who are three very different artists. Lyla had her dream-pop, Bryde gave us her fierce and fragile indie and we finish on a more soulful vibe with Anna. In recent times there’s been a lot of talk of diversity in the music industry in that more female musicians should be placed higher on the bill at festivals and even headline them. What tonight proved at Hemelvaart is that there’s enough diversity amongst female artists that this should not even come into question. All three artists on this night are worthy of those much talked festival slots and airplay. They are actually better than some that gain those headline slots!

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MUDHONEY | THE WILDEBEESTS | THEE HYPNOTICS | 30.11.2018 | Leeds Beckett | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MUDHONEY | THE WILDEBEESTS | THEE HYPNOTICS | 30.11.2018 | Leeds Beckett | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mudhoney, The Wildebeests, Thee Hypnotics – 30th November 2018 – Leeds Beckett University

Review and photography by Neil Vary (Neil Vary Gig Photography)

Mudhoney – 30th November 2018 – Leeds Beckett University

Garage rock veterans The Wildebeests get things started, before most people even notice that the band is on stage. The room quickly starts to fill up as the band, consisting of John Gibbs on bass, Lenny Helsing on drums and Russell Wilkins on guitar and vocal duties shared between all three, fire through a fast paced 30 minuets set of hard garage rock.

The Wildebeests – 30th November 2018 – Leeds Beckett University

After a quick change around it’s time for Thee Hypnotics to take the stage, kicking things off with ‘Soul Trader’. Jim Jones struts, kicks and screams his way around the stage, while Ray Hanson blasts out a wall of psychedelic guitar, the rhythm section of Phil Smith on drums and Jeremy Cottingham on bass keep everything in line. Half way through ‘Revolution Stone’, Ray and Jim kneel down on the stage and start beating out the rhythm with their hands like two preachers controlling the masses. They finish their set off with ‘Justice In Freedom’.

Now comes Mudhoney and it’s only at this point that it hits me that the unassuming man that’s just walked on stage is one of the forefathers of the Grunge rock scene. He looks more like he should be working in a warehouse not fronting Mudhoney. In fact working in a warehouse is just what Mark Arm does, managing the warehouse at Sub Pop Records in Seattle.

They waste little time and get things started with ‘Into The Drink’ before launching straight into ‘I Like It Small’, not giving the audience time to catch it’s breath. This gets the crowd bouncing about and the first crowd surfer of the night is up and away. ‘Hey Neanderfuck’ from the latest album “Digital Garbage” makes a swift appearance early on too.

On and on the hits keep coming with little talking in between, just the odd “thank you”. But with songs like ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ and ‘Suck You Dry’ in their catalogue nobody really wants to hear talking. Near the end of the set Mark puts down his guitar, picks the mic back up and becomes a man possessed seemingly by Iggy Pop as he jumps, bounces, dances and runs around the stage with venom in his voice as he belts ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Paranoid Core’ and ‘21 century Pharisees’, all from the latest album. Then that’s it. Off they go before returning for an encore, ending the night with ‘Here Comes The Sickness’, ‘Sweet Young Thing (Ain’t Sweet No More’ and a cover of ‘Hate The Police’ by the Dicks.

Everybody leaves the venue happy that they could have quite easily been back in the early 90’s at the height of grunge rock scene.

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PAUL SMITH | KATHRYN WILLIAMS | 28.11.2018 | London Moth Club | REVIEW and PHOTOS

PAUL SMITH | KATHRYN WILLIAMS | 28.11.2018 | London Moth Club | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Paul Smith – Kathryn Williams – 28th November 2018 – London Moth Club

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai) 

Let’s get the introductions over with. Paul Smith is probably best known as the lead singer of the band Maximo Park who does some of the best jumps on stage while dressed smart in suits and hats.

On this night at London’s Moth Club, he is Paul Smith, solo artist backed by The Intimations. Many of my music loving and gig going friends love Maximo Park and Paul Smith. Me? Well I’ve dipped into the music now and then, at the now defunct Split Festival and at the recent Great Exhibition Of The North with views of the back of a tug boat and collaborating with Rachel Unthank. The last night of the Diagrams tour would be my first full experience of Paul Smith with my full attention.

Paul Smith - 28th November 2018 - London Moth Club
Paul Smith – 28th November 2018 – London Moth Club

I was there with an open mind and unfamiliar with the back catalogue. This would be some night. This would be a night I could be very open and critical. On first thoughts what came to me was, “lucky he has Kathryn Williams supporting him.” He states in the show that he doesn’t like reading reviews as he has a photographic memory for insults. Don’t worry though, Paul Smith, I think this is one of the decent ones.

Kathryn Williams - 28th November 2018 - London Moth Club
Kathryn Williams – 28th November 2018 – London Moth Club

I have seen Williams a few times and she is simply captivating. Her strong set includes dedications to Sylvia Plath with songs from Hypoxia and a nod to Leonard Cohen before finishing with Little Black Numbers, where she entices us with the use of a loop pedal blending her harmonies.

The room soon filled ready for Paul Smith. There was competition for the front that there was even a scuffle of words for place to be right in front of Smith. It later ended with a hug! Then through the crowd members of The Intimations appear through the crowd followed by Smith. The silent room soon booms as he introduces, “we are Paul Smith and The New Intimations,” then straight into Public Eye, which is also the opening track to his latest album, Diagrams. We then delve into his first album Margins from 2010 with North Atlantic Drift. This seems to be the basis of the night. A celebration of where Smith started his solo career outside of Maximo Park to where he is now and with the backing of the trio that make up The Intimations for his latest outing with Diagrams.

I suspect that everyone in the room (except me) is familiar with how a Paul Smith show works. They are packed in tight smiling and mouthing lyrics back and engage in his storytelling. My eyes move from watching Smith to his band Tom, Nathalie and Andrew. I am fixed on the electricity on the stage, not just because I had a camera, I put that away many times because this was a great SHOW! I was drawn in every second. At times I took myself away from the front of the stage to stand to the sides and back to see the crowd but to be close up to such a charismatic performer had me taken that half the night I was up front.

Paul Smith - 28th November 2018 - London Moth Club
Paul Smith – 28th November 2018 – London Moth Club

The Moth Club stage is pretty small but Smith moved his smart shoes over every centimetre of it. Once you are in the grasp of Smith he keeps you there. He rewards us by bringing Kathryn Williams back to the stage as they duet on Beauty Contest and it in itself is sublime. We even get a few surprises from the album Contradictions with People On Sunday and Break Me Down.

High on energy The Intimations help Smith close with Silver Rabbit and we even get one of his famous jumps which I am told is a rare thing outside of the other band. How it was done on that stage without taking out Nathalie Stern to his right or the amps to his left is something but this IS Paul Smith. He even marks the occasion by bringing out a special guitar to match the Moth Club in its gold glory but the night is not done yet. We are now past the venue curfew and getting close to the times of the night bus service but the roar of the crowd keeps Smith on stage alone and the Maximo Park fans shout loudly for Unfamiliar Places and By The Monument gets a choral sing-along.

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65DAYSOFSTATIC (Decomposition Theory) | JOHANNA BRAMLI | 24.11.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

65DAYSOFSTATIC (Decomposition Theory) | JOHANNA BRAMLI | 24.11.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

65daysofstatic (Decomposition Theory) and Johanna Bramli – 24th November 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The evening begins with Johanna Bramli taking the stage and delivering a mesmerising 30 minute set of musical soundscapes from an array of keyboards, samplers, a theremin and other electronic gadgets. Joanna created a layer upon layer utilising all the technology but also with her voice giving it an ethereal feel over sounds of thunder created by her fingertips and samples of conversations all being held together with hypnotic beats, drones and accompanying visual projections! Check out her EP Spirals but better still see her live to get the full effect.

Between set changes there are constant sound bites and snippets of tunes of various genres, not just your usual “playlist“ of similar artists and I believe that this was a deliberate part of the evening to set you up for what was about to happen.

65daysofstatic are currently breaking down all barriers of the “gig” perception with their Decomposition Theory tour (read our interview about the tour here). Lit only by the glow of their laptop screens or the flicker of light from the projections behind them the emphasis is definitely on the music being created as there are literally only shadows moving between instruments and computers during the performance. Below you’ll find a photo of a piece of text handed out before the show explaining what they have set out to do, the reason being I think it best coming from the horse’s mouth. This isn’t through laziness on my part I just think I may not do it justice! It’s hard to review something so unique where there is no right or wrong, no bum notes or missed favourites.

Performing as a three piece tonight 65daysofstatic have an outline for each piece and the screens show the coding as it develops along the way and at times the audience aren’t sure where the piece has ended and whether to applaud yet or not (much to the amusement of the band and audience).

There are still those crushing guitar and drum moments but they are mixed with electronic beats, creating patterns of sound that just pull you in and demand your attention. Towards the end of the evening’s performance the rhythmic coding projection changes to flashes of images then single words as the track builds and builds giving me the feeling of having donned my sunglasses in John Carpenters They Live and seeing the subliminal messages!

Even in the near total darkness of the Sage, you can see that the band are thoroughly enjoying this freedom onstage to break away from the expected. With a wave a smile and a thumbs up they’re gone and we are all left to our own take on what we just saw. I said to a friend “I think I’ve just seen an unreviewable event“ and I meant it in a good way, as I was totally engrossed by each twist and turn.

I felt the whole night – the pre-performance music, the support and 65DOS – came over as one whole aural installation, if that makes sense and I’d definitely visit the gallery to “view” it again.

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MOGWAI | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MOGWAI | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mogwai – 24th November 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Mogwai announced their final UK tour for 2018 and it came as a bit of a welcome surprise. This marks my third time seeing them this year, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them over the years. That said, I still find myself getting incredibly excited when they tour. This one was extra special and unmissable due to the fact that my other favourite band The Twilight Sad are opening. That’s all the persuasion I needed, I grabbed some tickets on the presale and promised myself I’d just go as a punter and watch the band. As the show grew nearer I flip-flopped and decided I need to photo this show! There’s something hugely rewarding about photoing a band you’ve adored for years, it’s a buzz that I haven’t found elsewhere in life.

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Since there was no Newcastle spot on the tour I decided to go for the 200-mile round trip to Leeds. I’m pleased to say it was worth it, the band are in remarkable form at the moment, recent soundtrack album Kin has proven a welcome addition to my record collection and they played one track from it tonight, the pop-rock gem of an earworm We’re Not Done is positively the catchiest thing they’ve ever released. I’ve had it in my head for about four days now! They follow that with the fantastic Party in the Dark, another hugely catchy song.

Don’t Believe the Fife is quickly becoming an all-time fave for me and it’s been pretty consistent in setlists since the beginning of the Every Country’s Sun tour. It lulls you into a steady mellow pace then right hooks you with a huge wall of guitar at the crescendo. Perfection.

Setlist;

  • Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home
  • Friend of the Night
  • We’re Not Done
  • Party in the Dark
  • Old Poisons
  • Crossing the Road Material
  • Rano Pano
  • Don’t Believe the Fife
  • Auto Rock
  • Remurdered
  • Every Country’s Sun
  • Like Herod
  • Helicon Pt1
  • We’re No Here

One of the things I absolutely love about seeing Mogwai is the setlist surprises. Yes, there’s the standard songs that you expect to hear such as Remurdered but there’s an air of excitement with not knowing what treats you’ll get. So many classics from their back catalogue, it rewards the megafans who go to all the gigs.

Like Herod raises the hairs on the back of my neck as that bass line begins. Strobe lights pummel my senses, coupled with the sheer volume it’s an overwhelming experience, I close my eyes and with the strobes, I can see lights dancing on my eyelids, that’s a fantastic sensation. I really wish more bands would embrace lighting as part of the show experience, not too much mind, Mogwai have the balance about right. Light and sound, dark and bright, quiet and loud.

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

We’re No Here ends the night to great cheers from the crowd. Mogwai masterclass of no-nonsense performance, just letting the music speak for itself. This is the third time I’ve seen them this year and to be honest I wish I’d done more. I did head into this gig wondering if I’d be able to write anything, what more can say? Remarkable band. I head off back to Newcastle not content with that dosage I blast Mogwai all the way home!

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THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Twilight Sad – 24th November 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

A night in Leeds with two of the greatest Scottish bands of all time! It’s an early start for TTS since it’s a Saturday and there’s a 10pm venue curfew. That doesn’t deter the TTS Fans who are down here in numbers to support the lads.

Their slow and steady trajectory is building to a long-awaited new album which is out early 2019. With sold out shows all over Europe now, the secret is out. Gone are the days of turning up and paying on the door.

The first time I saw them was in 2011 with Mogwai at the Gateshead Sage, my ticket from the show above for nostalgia purposes! That night hooked me in and I’ve been a fan ever since. Despite technical issues on the night, they made a memorable impression, I went and bought both of their records the next day. That’s what they do. You see them, you’re blown away, you come back to the next show with more pals and let them in on the secret.

Hard graft, great support slots and damn good songs have paid off. They’re now labelmates with Mogwai on Rock Action Records. Truly a band on the rise. I can’t think of a band that deserves success more than these humble chaps. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of them in 2019. New album ‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ is out in January and a full UK tour is anticipated.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

The Twilight Sad take to the stage, it’s really dark, moody vibe with nearly no light, just a whiff of smoke and the occasional strobe. With the band performing in silhouette for much of the show.

The set is a lean 45 minutes, so there’s no messing about. Highlights include new material I/m Not Here and VTr which are both becoming firm live favourites. Seb’s percussion propels VTr to another level, impossible not to lose your shit to this one.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Videograms, I have to admit is a bit lost on me. A minor change of direction soundwise but it seems to be growing on me with each listen. Its sound is highly synth-led, Cure Depeche Mode, INXS type vibes show the band have grown and diversified from the bludgeoning wall of guitar sound that I fell in love with back in the day. There’s something magic in the new sound, but I must admit I adore that wall of guitar noise! However, it does add balance to the set, giving a softer edge and adding a welcome respite. I need to hear it in context of the record, give me a few more plays when I get my hands on the LP and I’m sure it’ll grow on me.

Their version of the classic Keep Yourself Warm gained the most enthusiastic response from the crowd. I’d love to hear a live version of this released, it’s simply wonderful.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

They close on And She Would Darken The Memory, which sends shivers down my spine and fists pumping in the air. It’s all over too fast, just a little slice of perfection. There are no tears for me this time around, the Leeds Brudenell show (head here for that write up) was very cathartic experience with my own mental health battle this year, music has saved me. I’m back to that lovely feeling of sheer euphoria from a Twilight Sad show.

With a bill like this, it’s easy to forget that I’m actually here to see two bands! Oh yeah, Mogwai are still to come! A full review and photo feature for that very soon.

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MIDDLE KIDS | 21.11.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MIDDLE KIDS | 21.11.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Middle Kids – 11th November 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Middle Kids - 11th November 2018 - Newcastle Think Tank
Middle Kids – 11th November 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

It’s going to be difficult to review this one without gushing! Not only did they release one of the best albums of the year with Lost Friends, they then go and put out a brilliant new single Salt Eyes recorded at none other than Ryan Adams Pax-Am Studio, after they supported him on tour. So on a cold November evening, Middle Kids from Sydney, Australia have come to play their first Newcastle show and I am glad to say their performance is on par with the high rating of the album!

Airing Salt Eyes as the second song in the set, I noticed many of the crowd singing along word for word. Hannah Joy’s voice is just awesome. She hits every emotion known, whether she’s behind the guitar or piano or just fronting the band with the mic tracks like Edge Of Town, Tell Me Something and Mistake are even bigger and better in a live performance. The atmosphere in the Tank tonight is fantastic, there’s a great rapport between band and crowd. I think it surprised them how many knew every word and they joked that they should take everyone on tour with them as a choir.

It’s difficult to describe where the music lies without pigeonholing it. They’re just great lo-fi indie pop songs and I’d say if you’re a fan of anything influenced by The Pixies, 10,000 Maniacs, Belly mixed with a bit of alt-country and some fantastic slide guitar then these could/should be your new favourite band.

Finishing the set with title track Lost Friends And Never Start, Middle Kids have definitely added more to their Newcastle fan base and I’d say they became another in a long list of Think Tank shows that everyone will claim to have been at when Hannah asks the sold out shows “So who saw us the first time we played here?”

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THE JAPANESE HOUSE | ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND | 19.11.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE JAPANESE HOUSE | ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND | 19.11.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Japanese House and Art School Girlfriend – 19th November 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Amber Bain headlined Newcastle O2 Academy to a very excitable crowd. I was one of those excitable ones as there is just something about the production that Bain puts into her project The Japanese House that when I listen to her music, it’s like riding an emotional rollercoaster. I have seen her perform live once prior to this date and watching her is almost trance-like, well for me at least, as a lot of the crowd gathered at the front are in a different kind of state that makes them scream and wanting to reach out and touch Amber. I guess that could also be considered trance-like but as I said, an emotional rollercoaster, it definitely is!

Art School Girlfriend

My excitement hit another high before walking into the venue. I somehow missed the memo that a fairly new act going by the name of Art School Girlfriend was the support act of this tour. ASG has a similar vibe to TJH but maybe more so on the ‘chill vibe.’ I first saw ASG at The Great Escape earlier in the year and people were lucky to get in to see her. She was high on the list of ‘ones to watch.’ She also headlined her own tour a few months prior to this support slot. Both times, she was with a full band. However, on this tour, she’s flying solo and was just as mesmerising. Her performance didn’t feel any less complete than if she was with a full band. I was stunned into silence but sadly, half the crowd were immersed in their own conversations. ASG was the perfect opener to this night and seeing her perform solo was a wonderful surprise.

The crowd pushed closer to the stage when The Japanese House appeared. A low tempo opener introduction put an excited silence over them as smoke and blue light filled the stage then the first sight of Amber sent them into a frenzy as she and her band opened with Face Like Thunder. Bain interacts with the crowd from the get-go as she shouts out ‘How you doing?’ to little waves, winks and smiles to members of the audience. The same interaction is given to her band as she shares a laugh here and there to even a drink!

Mid-way through the set we are given new tracks Lilo and Follow My Girl and the fans have already been studying the lyrics as you can not only see a lot of them mouthing the words but also hear a good few sing along with Amber. It is like this with every song of the night, each song also met with screams of appreciation. Then there were the handful like me that are simply in awe of getting to not only hear but to see Amber on stage as The Japanese House.

Every note delivered feels very emotive yet effortless at the same time. Most of the crowd sing their emotions loud but for some, singing along sometimes feels like you are detaching yourself from what you are really feeling, if that makes sense. There are times when I sing my heart out (very badly) at gigs but at a gig like that of The Japanese House (and the support of Art School Girlfriend) I feel ‘absolute chill’ that my body feels like it is in another place and time until the house lights go on. I guess you could say it feels like euphoria.

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