GJB’s annual music roundup 2017 – FEATURE

I usually do a long winded wrap-up of the year but I can’t be bothered. No-one reads them anyway, right? Hehe!

Sod it here we go…

Best gigs

  1. Gojira – L’Olympia, Paris
  2. Sigur Ros – Armadillo, Glasgow
  3. Deftones – Glasgow SECC
  4. Liars – Boiler Shop, Newcastle
  5. Idles – Think Tank, Newcastle
  6. The National – Usher Hall, Edinburgh
  7. Mclusky – The Cluny, Newcastle
  8. Breeders – Glasgow ABC
  9. Grandaddy – Warehouse 34, Newcastle
  10. Jen Stevens – Customs House, South Shields

Best albums

I haven’t really listened to much new music in 2017. But this batch came out on top.

  1. The National – Sleep Well Beast
  2. Idles – Brutalism
  3. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
  4. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
  5. Primus – The Desaturating Seven
  6. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now
  7. Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness
  8. Guided By Voices – August by Cake
  9. British Sea Power – Let the Dancers Inherit the Party
  10. Bad Breeding – Divide

Band I’ve seen the most

DUNES of course



Gordon Armstrong picks his best music photos of the year – PHOTO FEATURE

Gordon Armstrong picks his best music photos of 2017 in this special photo feature

It’s been a fantastic year for gigs and lost count of bands I’ve seen. There have been some other amazing gigs like Therapy, Anthrax, Life Of Agony, Mr Big, Courtesans and many more that I could fill this up with. However, I’ve obeyed the rules and stuck with the ten!

Bring on 2018 and hundreds of more opportunities to be told “First 3, no flash”. Massive thanks to everyone who have helped me do all of this throughout 2017, it’s greatly appreciated.

Blink 182 – Metro Radio Arena

had to include this as it was my first arena photo pass and quite a production to bust my cherry on!! This pic pretty much sums up my reaction as the curtain dropped and I knew I had only 6 minutes or so ( 3 short songs ) to get in and try to get something !!!

Living Colour – Newcastle Riverside

One of my all-time favourite bands and they absolutely killed it at the Riverside. I chose this photo as it is pretty much straight out of the camera with no edit and I just love it!

Lightyear – Think Tank Newcastle

Lightyear made a welcome return to the scene after a lengthy hiatus and as this photo shows still have an electric energy.

Cheap Trick – Manchester Academy

Legends! I was absolutely blown away at being given the chance to shoot them for HRH Mag and was my first time in print.

Glenn Hughes – Newcastle Riverside

The voice of rock himself! I love this portrait for the detail that shows through.

Fat Freddys Drop -Boiler Shop Newcastle

A fun band to shoot. I loved how the industrial piping on this one looks like a sound wave coming out of the trombone the way the light hits it!

Manic Street Preachers – Live From Times Square

I was so honoured to be able to photograph all seven nights at the Live From Times Square and could have easily picked my 10 from those shows alone but for me this one of Nicky Wire caught my (and a lot of others) attention.

Afghan Whigs – Church Leeds

Afghan are a bucket list band for me, so to also get to photograph them was just an amazing experience. However to then get Greg singing the first song down your lens ……..Shame I couldn’t get a clearer one but hey I’ll take it !!

Every Time I Die – Newcastle Riverside

What is becoming an annual masterclass in carnage ETID once again tore the place apart! I think they’ll always be in my top ten pics of the year as long as they play as it is a photo op every five seconds when they play.

Turnover – Newcastle Riverside

Their new album has hardly left my turntable since release and it was great to see them able to be that good live too. This photo though I just love the feel of it.

GJB picks his best music shots of 2017 – PHOTO FEATURE

GJB picks his best music photos of 2017 in this special photo feature

This year has been a fairly quiet one for me. I haven’t had as much time to go to shows as I used to, videos and weddings have taken over my spare time and I have to admit I love doing those too. I love my job!

Despite the lack of gigs in my life (only about seventy in 2017!). I’m still struggling to pick only 10 photos.

My highlight of the year is no doubt seeing my heroes; Gojira at long last, after many years of missing them through poor timing and lack of cash! 2017 I got to see them twice, including a pilgrimage to Paris and I managed to get to photo them in Newcastle (despite their PR company telling us BSC isn’t big enough for them. #smugmodeengaged)


I’ve seen my work evolve and change again this year. I found my editing getting a bit too soft and commercial looking. I suppose the change is largely due to working on editing videos, it’s had a direct influence on how I look at photos. Looking at levels and contrast to make more subtle but edgier photos. Also, I’ve spent more time looking at the subject and their actions, rather than going for that clinical/technically perfect shot. I’m never happy. You can always improve. I can’t wait to see how my work evolves in 2018.

Anyway, less chat and more pictures! Here are my picks, in no particular order.

Gojira – Newcastle O2 Academy

Gojira - March 2017 - Newcastle Academy

Gojira – March 2017 – Newcastle Academy

Well they had to be in, didn’t they? I love this shot of Christian Andreu rocking out. Taken with my 15mm fisheye lens on a full frame camera, so it’s super wide. In reality, I was about 1-2 feet from him when I took this.

I have this printed and framed in my studio. The thing I love is the detail. When editing I didn’t notice the decals on the guitar until the print arrived and that blew my mind. The twelfth fret has a G from the Gorjira logo and there’s an awesome rat decal between the bridge and the neck. There were so many good shots from that gig, but this one is a standout for me.

See the full gallery feature here

Anthrax – Northumbria University

Anthrax - February 2017 - Northumbria Students Union

Anthrax – February 2017 – Northumbria Students Union

I could pick any photo from this gig. They know how to put on a show. Lighting was perfect and of course, they love a bit of showboating for the camera. Simply put this is thee most fun gig I’ve ever shot. Scott Ian lives and breathes heavy metal. Such a great icon. It’s another fisheye shot. That tatty, battered little second hand Sigma has never left my kit bag since I bought it. It’s been dropped, scratched, beer spilled on it, the paint has all come off so you can’t tell the settings but it’s the best £150 I’ve ever spent!

See the full gallery feature here

Liars – Boiler Shop

Liars - October 2017 - Boiler Shop Newcastle

Liars – October 2017 – Boiler Shop Newcastle

Remarkable show and brilliant venue. I’ve had Liars on my bucket-list for donkeys years. I couldn’t believe my eyes when this was gig announced. Sadly the crowd was fairly thin. That didn’t deter the band. So many memorable shots. Made more memorable by the impact of the gig. At this point, I was a bit down and fed up with music photography. It gave me the boost I needed. One of my fave gigs of the year.

See the full gallery feature here

British Sea Power – Newcastle Riverside

British Sea Power - April 2017 - Newcastle Riverside

British Sea Power – April 2017 – Newcastle Riverside

I’ve seen BSP a million times but this was the first time photoing them. The band were really nice and their manager allowed us to shoot the whole set rather than the usual 3 songs and out. So I had a field day! I think I came away with something like 500 photos, which is silly but is a good indicator of how much I love this band and how much fun I was having!

I decided enough was enough and that I’d taken way too many photos already. So I headed upstairs to the guest area. For some reason I didn’t put my camera away, I can’t remember why. I think I was going to zoom in to get a setlist photo. Then this fluke of a shot happened. I caught Yan’s eye as he was leaning back and rocking out. Right place right time. Another photographer was standing next to me, so I tapped him on the shoulder and showed him it. “Jammy twat!” was his reply, which made me chuckle. I adore this photo!

See the full gallery feature here

Car Bomb – Newcastle O2 Academy

Car Bomb (band) - March 2017 - Newcastle Academy

Car Bomb (band) – March 2017 – Newcastle Academy

As all music togs will know, drum shots are a chore to get. Drummers are usually far away, hidden in smoke and piss poor lighting. But when bands bring the kit to the front it’s an absolute joy! My fisheye lens meant I could get right up close and still get the other members in the shot. Phenomenal drummer. I could feel the power and the air of the double kicks hitting me. Thank f**k for earplugs =D

See the full gallery feature here

Idles – Think Tank

Idles - March 2017 - Think Tank

Idles – March 2017 – Think Tank

Hooked from day one with this band. They came to our little Newcastle and played a brilliant show at Think Tank. Lovely chaps too and the drummer loves Brown Ale. Fond memories of this gig. They’ve since gone on to conquer the festivals and played with some band called the Foo Fighters at O2 Arena in London. Canny.

See the full gallery feature here

Electric Wizard

Electric Wizard - Riverside Newcastle - August 2017

Electric Wizard – Riverside Newcastle – August 2017

Amazing to photo. Can’t say much more than that! Loud as f**k and brilliant.

See the full gallery feature here

Melt Banana

Melt Banana – June 2017 – Newcastle UK

They came back! This time with the Cluny’s brand new lighting rig. Worth the beating I got in the pit. Mental show and amazing gig!

See the full gallery feature here

I’ll Play The Villain – Newcastle O2 Academy

I'll Play The Villain - Newcastle O2 Academy - June 2017

I’ll Play The Villain – Newcastle O2 Academy – June 2017

Another right place, right time deal. I was chilling stageside enjoying their set and happened to have a 105mm lens with me. Dark stage lights but the highlights just hit the right spot as the singer let rip a mighty roar.

See the full gallery feature here

65daysofstatic – Boiler Shop

65daysofstatic - Boiler Shop Newcastle - December 2017

65daysofstatic – Boiler Shop Newcastle – December 2017

I had to pick this one, it was such a challenge to photo. The whole gig was a battle but I excelled and game away with some of my best work of the year. Pat myself on the back there 🙂

See the full gallery feature here

Best Blank Slate Sessions of 2017 – VIDEO FEATURE

We run down the best Blank Slate Sessions of 2017!

It’s been a busy year at BSC. Lots of changes and lots of videos! I think we’ve released over 20 professional videos this year. I’m sure 2018 will be even busier!

Here’s our pick of the bunch (in no particular order)

Creature – Fire

Laura Elsy

Dunes – Velvet

Souls of Jack Ketch – 466-64

Witch Charmer – Worlds Burning

Book your band a session here

the blank slate sessions - newcastle - heaton - cheap video

Music bloggers and photographers wanted – Blank Slate Creative

Blank Slate Creative are looking for music bloggers and music photographers for 2018

Manic Street Preachers - Times Square Newcastle - August 2017 crowd shot

Manic Street Preachers – Times Square Newcastle – August 2017

We have more offers for cool gigs and new albums than we can currently manage. At present, we focus on rock, indie, punk and metal but we are able to expand into other areas depending on demand. Opportunities are available for those with a passion for music and a knack for capturing the moment.

  • Gigs (photo features and live reviews)

  • Album reviews

  • Interviews

We’re looking for people with a strong focus on quality content, as opposed to quantity. Live gig coverage and new albums up for review that kinda thing. We’re a small team at present and would like to bring more music fans in to help with that side of our blogging.

Avenged Sevenfold - January 2017 - Newcastle Arena

Avenged Sevenfold – January 2017 – Newcastle Arena


Writing skills are essential. Experience not necessarily an issue, although willingness to embrace feedback and guidance from the editor is a must. You’ll need access to a computer or device suitable for writing reviews and internet access to email your content in.


You’ll need your own gear, capable of delivering pro-standard photos. Touring bands tend to be access only but there are the occasionally paid shoots and second shooter duties on offer to reliable togs.

We’re also able to help tutor photographers who’d like to learn the ropes.

Over 18s only as venues we cover tend to have age restrictions.

Get in touch…

Check us out on Facebook

The Wildhearts, Reef and Terrorvision co-headline tour heading to Newcastle – GIG NEWS

The Wildhearts, Reef and Terrorvision co-headline tour heading to Newcastle

News from the 90s just in! A joint tour is rumoured to be heading to Newcastle O2 Academy on 20th May 2018. More news when we have it. Excitement! is kicking in already!!

UPDATE! This is now confirmed and tickets are on pre-sale https://priority.o2.co.uk/tickets/5a059272dc0e82003c2b7610/reef-the-wildhearts-and-terrorvision 

The Wildhearts - Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015

The Wildhearts – Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015

Reef Newcastle Riverside April 2015

Reef Newcastle Riverside April 2015

Hot Snakes return to Newcastle! – GIG NEWS

Hot Snakes return to Newcastle! One of the greatest bands you’ve probably never heard of are back. First time in Newcastle for donkey’s years.

They’re making a comeback with a new album out on Subpop in 2018. It might be the year they conquer the world. Do not miss this gig!!!

Hot snakes - newcastle

The Smokin’ Coconuts – Last gig of the year – GIG NEWS

Blank Slate faves the Cocobollox are playing their final show of 2017

They’re a treat to the eyes and ears!

Catch them at the newly done up Globe this weekend! It’s only FREE entry too. They’ve got some cracking beers there. So you should go you know.

The smocking coconuts

Submit music news

REBELLION FESTIVAL confirm Peter Hook and the Light for 2018 – MUSIC NEWS

Rebellion Festival confirm Peter Hook and the Light for 2018

When Joy Division and New Order legend Peter Hook performed at Rebellion Festival in 2016 it was widely regarded to be one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. It is, then, with great pleasure that Rebellion can confirm that Peter Hook & The Light will return to play the festival in 2018 for a special ‘best of Joy Division’ set.

“It’s a real pleasure to be returning to Rebellion Festival with The Light again,” states Peter. “Rebellion’s a tremendous event bringing together a great line up of alternative and punk bands with a very enthusiastic crowd. The reactions are always great and it attracts a real mix of people to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, a great venue in its own right. It’s always a unique occasion and one of the highlights of the year.”

Joining Peter Hook in 2018 is the kind of line-up that Rebellion Festival is known and respected for the world over, bringing together the best and most vital bands from the long and varied history and present of punk and alternative music.

Some of the other acts already confirmed include the cream of UK punk such as The Exploited, Cockney Rejects, Angelic Upstarts, Discharge, Ruts DC, UK Subs, and Slaughter & The Dogs joining a host of punk and hardcore from around the world, including legends such as D.R.I., The Adolescents, SNFU, Toxic Reasons, Raw Power and many more.

Website: www.rebellionfestivals.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RebellionPunkMuskFestival

Dunes – Free download – NEW MUSIC

Dunes – Free download

Dunes have just unleashed their recent Blank Slate Session as a free download 🙂 Go grab it. It’s dead good!

Find out how to book a session for your band here