Edwyn Collins continues to put out some of the most exquisite music around, with every album he provides incessantly infectious tracks. Badbea is no different and tonight is the opportunity for him to bring that album to life in the always wonderful surroundings of the Boiler Shop. Astrid open the show with an equally catchy set, their hook-laden tracks are almost instant earworms and cannot be faulted.
Their short set certainly has a positive effect and paves the way for the brilliant Edwyn Collins to follow. Opening with new track Outside he wastes little time in getting stuck in, with stand out track Losing Sleep following close behind. There is an enthusiasm and passion that underpins this set, Edwyn is in his usual playful mood promising that many of these tracks are the ‘good’ ones.
The fact of the matter is there isn’t really a bad track throughout his set, there are a slew of Orange Juice tracks peppered throughout this set. These tracks still pack a punch today, with the likes of What Presence? And I Guess I’m Just A Little Too Sensitive both featuring early on. Of course A Girl Like You also goes down a storm with this packed audience.
The latter part of the set is where he really lights it up, with the likes of Rip It Up uniting the entire crowd in song as well as Don’t Shilly Shally which also inspires a similar sing-along. Returning for the encore it’s not difficult to feel the love for this man as it permeates throughout the room.
He closes out with the title track of his latest album Badbea and follows that with the brilliant Falling and Laughing, it rounds off a perfectly balanced set which is filled with many of his finest tracks. Tonight Edwyn Collins is truly on top form, and still proving what a wonderful songwriter he truly is.
The Boiler Shop continues it’s now established a reputation for attracting stunning artists to the region. I can’t honestly say I’d ever expected to see thee Kenny Wayne Shepherd in Newcastle. This was one of those must-see shows! Judging by the sell-out (or very very close to a sell out) I am not alone in grabbing this opportunity by the bullhorns!
It’s an early show and the heavy summer rain ensure that everyone is sheltering in the venue enjoying a pint when support act Jarrod Dickenson and his wife Claire take to the stage for a rather humble and delightfully slow-paced set. Offering a sublime Americana, folk-tinged blues proving a perfect mellow start to the evening.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is enough to draw in a crowd tonight but this is not just a Kenny show. He’s assembled a rather stunning lineup of musicians. In fact, it becomes quite a who is who of the blues-rock world! I’ll not go into the boring details but if you’re reading this I am sure you know who these chaps are and just how incredible a lineup it is.
They deliver a diverse range of songs, taking to the stage with a Women Like You, through to Turn to Stone. The evening seems to whizz by in the blink of an eye as they take to the stage for the encore. It’s a relatively short and succinct set, perhaps perfectly timed some might say. I was certainly left wanting more, although some of these types of shows can prove a marathon-esque task to get through. Not tonight, it’s a fast-paced pow-wow of a masterclass. Voodoo Chile ensures the guitar nerds get their fill of stunning playing with this massive and jaw-dropping version of the classic Hendrix song.
Govt Mule are a jam band that features a powerhouse lineup of musicians, including the Allman Brothers’ Warren Haines on lead guitar and vocals, Matt Abts leading the groove on drums with clockwork precision, Jorgen Carlsson on bass and Danny Louis on keys.
It’s difficult to predict what you’re going to get at a Mule gig – the band are renowned for taking a potential setlist of hundreds of songs on tour with them, they’re not encumbered by having any ‘anthems’ that they’re obliged to include. What you can guarantee is an evening that includes some deep cuts, unexpected covers, and extended jams all delivered with stunning musicianship.
The band decided to kick things off in an atmospheric fashion, starting the slow slide guitar led Hammer and Nails, then into Larger than Life and Whisper in Your Soul, which all showcased the band’s masterful control of dynamics, which would be a recurring theme throughout the night. The number of extended jams and slow-burning songs may have been a bit heavy to digest for a casual listener, but the Newcastle crowd (consisting of many well-known local musicians) appreciated the talent on show.
That’s not to say that the gig was simply an exercise in musical over-indulgence, there were still plenty of ‘hookier’ songs in the set too.’ Fool’s Moon’, ‘Slackjawed Jezebel’ and a pair of songs from the band’s new album Revolution Come, Revolution Go (‘Stone Cold Rage’ and ‘Drawn that Way’) were some of the highlights of the first set.
The second set included some exceptional cover versions, ‘Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood’ featured some mesmerising instrumental sections, ‘30 Days in the Hole’ elicited the obvious cheer from the crowd for the “Newcastle Brown will sure smack you down” lyric, but the highlight of the set was a goosebump-inducing rendition of the Allman Brothers’ ‘Soulshine’.
The band closed off the night with Warren Haines giving yet another slide guitar masterclass on a couple of blues covers, leaving the stage to rapturous applause, having given every musician in the room a kick up the arse to get practicing!
Hammer and Nails (The Staple Singers cover)
Larger Than Life
Whisper in Your Soul
Birth of the Mule
Stone Cold Rage
Drawn That Way
I’ll Be Creepin’ (Free cover)
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone cover)
Soulshine (The Allman Brothers Band cover)
Broke Down on the Brazos
Time to Confess
30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie cover)
I Don’t Need No Doctor (Ray Charles cover)
Come On in My Kitchen (Robert Johnson cover)
Gonna Send You Back to Georgia (A City Slick) (Timmy Shaw cover)
As a precursor to her slew of festival shows in the weeks and months ahead, Roisin Murphy decided to warm up for these in Newcastle. Opening tonight are duo Audiobooks, the pair initially don’t strike you as a typical duo and their music reflects that. Acclaimed and in demand producer David Wrench’s beats are crisp and clean, and they sound particularly pleasing in this wonderful venue. However, the same cannot be said for the bewildering Evangeline Ling whose vocals rather than enhancing the beats they sit atop, instead fail to enthuse.
Their sound is definitely unique but perhaps not in the right way, the culmination of their set sees Wrench shredding through a plethora of riffs whilst Ling screeches through the final track. The build up to Roisin Murphy’s set starts the best part of fifteen minutes before she even takes to the stage, a palette cleansing drone that slowly builds accompanied by looping visuals. As the lights dim and the band take the stage, Murphy makes her grand entrance opening with House Of Glass. This heavy number setting the tone for what is to come.
It’s a night of many costume changes, Murphy’s on stage wardrobe is truly impressive. Personal favourites Demon Lover and Ten Miles High featuring early in this superb set. However, by far the best costume and accompanied song is Plaything, as Murphy carries her silver ‘plaything’ around the stage. Sparking a significant crowd reaction as she twirls it around, it’s not just about that however as the song itself is particularly vibrant and packed with unbridled energy.
That is true of most of this fervent set, with Murphy barely stopping to draw breath the majority of the time. Without doubt she is in incredible form tonight, closing out her set with Overpowered and Flash Of Light you cannot help but be overcome by her style and manner. She has this crowd hanging off her every word, as they dance their night away. Roisin Murphy proves without a doubt how truly brilliant she is tonight with this insanely impressive set, it’s predominantly effortless her costume changes her relentless excitement all of which rubs off on to this elated crowd.
Here we are at the fabulous Boiler Shop as the Hit the North festival kicks off to see the wonderful electro-pop band Metronomy.
Metronomy first came to our attention many moons ago as a trio, supporting one of our favourite live bands the Infidels at the Newcastle O2 Academy. They had instantly made an impression on us as their unique and quirky sound instantly caught us, and they’d each had a light strapped to their chests, a pound shop gimmick that they synchronised whole routines together to. They got straight into our heads and when we saw them entering the public realm reimagined as a 5 piece and a whole new sound which still retained that unique goofiness that had struck us upon first encounter, we felt a pang of pride at what had evolved and that they still existed.
They emerge all pristine and in white, gentle-voiced and the crowd has grown and cheer as they give a fantastic and energetic performance. Everyone is dancing and having a wonderful time.
Joseph Mount has a gentle rapport and recalls that it’s been quite some time since they were last in Toon, and I am so pleased we got to see them right at the start of those formative days. They are a slick and brilliant live band that uplifted the crowd. A must see band that I am sure we will be seeing more of. Which is more than I can say for my ex-favourite band that introduced me to these guys in the first place.
I have somehow managed to miss Joanne’s previous Newcastle shows so this was my first live time seeing her live and boy I was not disappointed! With new album Reckless Heart only a month old Joanne treats the crowd to seven of its tracks through the set. Opening with the rockin’ In The Mood followed by the rollin Creepin’ the bar is set high very early in the night.
The band are locked in tight though and maintain the standard delving back into previous albums for Let It Burn and Wrecking Ball. However for me when they come back to Reckless Heart for The Best Thing I can’t stop myself having a bit of a dance (yep even on these old legs) with its wonderful funky soul feel, I am reminded of the likes of Galactic and Gary Clark Jr at their best.
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long is just one of those songs destined to become a classic, the solo is just jawdropping making you realise what a talent she is, no tricks, no whammy bar and very little effects, just technique, tone and pure feeling it’s one of those time you just have to applaud mid-song it’s that good. There are smiles all round on stage as the band play off each other and the infectious New 89 has everyone singing “you go your way I’ll go mine” before the walking bass line of title track Reckless Heart brings the tempo down a notch to a very appreciative Boiler Shop crowd.
The 90 minutes fly by and encores of Mud Honey and instrumental White Sugar see the night out. The latter sees JST absolutely channelling her inner Stevie Ray Vaughan to a tee (hope she won’t mind me seeing that) but still retains her own style. I know I said at the start I’d missed earlier shows but after this one, I will be doing my utmost not to do that again. I may be late to the party but at least I got there eh?!
We are standing in a packed, sold out Boiler Shop waiting for what is likely our top played current band in our household, the Sleaford Mods. Supported by LIINES, we had only managed to catch the last couple of songs due to having to trek back to our car to dispose of my backpack that was not allowed into the venue due to a recent policy change, but what we did hear was rocking, bassy and full of energy leaving us wishing a bag hadn’t caused such a controversy. So heads up if you are Boiler Shop bound!
I had been introduced to the Sleaford’s a few years earlier by a friend and I had been instantly hooked by the raw punk style fury and dripping sarcasm, spitting disaffected contempt and council estate life, corruptness and characters that I’d met on more than one occasion. This band blew me away with just how hooked into my generation they were, just how sick of all the shit and weary we are, voices sore from shouting. I instantly introduced them to the Mister knowing he was about to fall hard for this band, and I wasn’t disappointed as he ate the music alive. We had the pleasure of the front row at Beatherder festival 2017 where Sleafords headlined and watching the Mister dressed as Dorothy Gale dancing and singing with pure unadulterated joy to these lads will be one of my most enduring life memories. Fast forward 2 years and here we are again, front row poised and even headier having had the pleasure of popping along to the record signing and meeting Jason and Andrew earlier that day.
Andrew takes up his stance with the laptop and a beer, and spends the night looking like he’s having the time of his life, his stripped back beats that encapsulates hip hop, rave, electronica and pop but somehow weaves the same sarcastic humour as Jason’s lyrics with quirky notes and kazoo sprinkled into the mix, and you’ve gotta love anyone who gets a kazoo in there.
Jason is in full character as he belts out his performance with the skilled art of a poet. It would be easy to dismiss him as an angry post-punk performer but his clever play on words and sharp observations on the current state of affairs, his utter contempt and downright piss taking humour speaks to me more as a keen and talented writer who would be as likely to write a best seller as a top ten hit. His melodic voice goes from gentle and soulful up to furious screaming energy that can dissipate into silly humour dripping with searing sarcasm. At one point Jason proclaims how delighted and thankful they were that the album had reached number 9 in the charts, but I couldn’t help but laugh my tits off at just how much it sounded to my ears that this was a pure piss take and in reality they couldn’t give a damn toss about a number in a chart that means fuck all to our generation now.
To my utter delight when the set ended the guys exited stage left and were done. There was no encore and I liked that very much. Is there anything more wanky than jumping off stage and back on again for that one more song?
You may think Sleaford Mods are a bit marmite, but team Wyatt are big marmite fans!
Jon Hopkins – 17th November 2018 – Newcastle Boiler Shop
Review Neil Ainger. Photography Gav Wyatt
Enclosed in complete darkness, curtains drawn, alone and eyes closed I have pushed play on an album time and time again since its release and immediately felt at ease. From the very first beats of Singularity, time has seemingly slowed to the crawl of a much more manageable pace. I have been able to feel tension leaving my body and fears dissipate. It is a powerful sensation and something I experience less frequently as I age. That unique, emotional connection that I can make only to music. Music can make us happy, it can make us sad, it can inspire and motivate. It can heal and repair. It is the latter that has tied me to this record this year, as if I were desperately clinging to it like a life raft until the storm can be weathered. It is not just a record I have become a fan of but one I have depended on during the most stressful and traumatic year of my life.
The impressive Boiler Shop venue in Newcastle has rapidly expanded in its popularity and its value to the city over the last two or three years and on this night it was filled with an infectious and exciting buzz of anticipation which could be felt throughout Nathan Fake’s bold hour-long support set. With 15 years of experience, Nathan Fake is no ‘standard’ support offering, if there ever really is such a thing, but rather an integral part of the evening. After 60 minutes of his intense, techno-infused grind the venue is at capacity and I’d swear that the energy in the air is potent enough that I could hear it audibly crackling. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him afterwards for long enough to shake his hand and thank him for his set. Although the subsequent exchange was very brief he also seems to be very pleasant and this certainly adds to his charm.
From his humble beginnings playing keys for Imogen Heap in 1998, collaborating with Brian Eno and touring the world with Coldplay, Jon Hopkins journey to this, the promotional tour for his fifth solo record, has been one of twists and turns. When it seemed as though his career as a solo artist may never truly get off the ground, Hopkins could have easily found himself earning a solid living as a producer. This could have even proven to be a fruitful path to take. I feel, however, blessed on this night that this never happened and over the last ten years his career has simply gone from strength to strength. 2013s Immunity was a crowning glory. A reward for a steady ascent to the summit of his craft. It was met with widespread acclaim and following it up a whole five years later was always going to be challenging.
Those first beats of Singularity therefore are an immediate relief as well as the knife that cleanly cuts the electric tension of a capacity crowd, as the opening 20 minutes or so of the set are dedicated to his latest triumph. The title track serves as a slow and peaceful build into the albums lead single, Emerald Rush, which is met with a raucous cheer. Neon Pattern Drum is similarly received and is truly blissful in its delivery. Hopkins drives tirelessly through a consuming, trademark set of vigorous yet joyous bangers that are guaranteed to have a sweaty capacity venue both dancing and occasionally to be afforded a moment to breathe and bathe in the euphoria of the moment.
Hopkins makes very grounding and human music, taking sharp turns from energetic techno and percussive IDM to joyful, gentle piano music. It is the fragility and the vulnerability of his minimal piano music I would argue his set is lacking but there remains moments of a very real and intimate beauty in the remainder of his set, which featured some of his more prominent tracks in the back catalogue, such as Open Eye Signal, Collider and Luminous Beings.
During Emerald Rush, I find myself closing my eyes. Enclosed in complete darkness once more I could swear I am taken back to that all too familiar state. A feeling of standing alone, despite the heat of bodies as people dance around me. Completely at ease, despite the excitable atmosphere in the air. A feeling of time slowing down, solidifying a moment in time that frankly I wish would never end. It is a state in which life’s colossal and critical tests and trials are made to feel so small and insignificant that one is filled with a motivating reassurance that they can easily be overcome should you simply be able to survive just one more day.
Jon Hopkins live is a triumphant and jubilant experience. It is a warm and comforting exploration and celebration of the complex range of human emotion. It is the party we’ve been waiting all week for. It is the escape from all that is weighing on our minds. It is, frankly, whatever you need it to be. Whatever that may be, it is evidence that Hopkins is still very much on top of his game and, for me personally, I left thankful for what I had been given, for that which I encounter less and less, for that indescribable and overpowering emotional connection to music that little else can quite live up to.
PHOTO GALLERY Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow
Oh Sees (Thee Oh Sees) – 12th July 2018 – Boiler Shop Newcastle – Review and photos
Review and photos by Graeme J. Baty
Chatting to a few people before the show I was relieved to find that we all had one thing in common, i.e. not being familiar with the Oh Sees material, other than their reputation for them being one of the best live bands around. Everyone who has seen them, raves about them! Well, that was good enough for me! This year I’ve tried a few bands and different styles that I might normally pass on.
Local lads Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs nabbed the support slot so I made sure to get down in time for their set. They’re always tremendously entertaining with their Geordie Sabbath homage that you can’t help but love (a separate photo gallery to follow for their set shortly). This is a great bill for them and the crowd were going mental for it! They have a new LP due out and I’m sure it’ll make many a top 10 list of the year.
The Boiler Shop is continuing its reputation of bringing brilliant diverse acts (some of which are rarely seen in this part of the UK) to the region, such as Liars, Michael Gira, Ty Segall, 65daysofstatic, Marmozets, The Horrors and loads more! I was quite surprised to see them play here and I was happy to see the place packed to the rafters as they say! I believe this is the first time the Oh Sess have played in Newcastle, please correct me if I’m wrong 🙂
The second song in the set is The Dream and is a standout for me with its catchy bluesy boogie rhythm and wild guitar, it made for a perfect introduction to the band and is a good summary of what the night ahead will be like.
Dual drummers Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone were mesmerising to watch. Frontman John Dwyer contorts, yelps and entertains making for some absolutely brilliant photos! Whilst bassist Tim Hellman calmly keeps his eye on the bedlam and keeps them in check. They have this brilliant way of playing together, they don’t need words they just look at each other and react intuitively.
I walked in not sure what to expect but I walked out as an Oh Sees fan! I’m off to buy all the records. Hopefully, they’ll come back here and I’ll know more of the songs next time. That was f**king mint, nothing short of brilliant. I need more dual drumming bands in my life!!!!
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow
Photos are Copyright Graeme J. Baty. All rights reserved.