EMMY THE GREAT | BISHI | 29.05.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Emmy The Great | Bishi – 29th May 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

It was a night of everything from people drawing, to human keyboard stands and lyric prompters to even someone telling the audience that The Pixies were on the phone (well the ring tone was them!) but before all this we had an electrofused sitar set in the form musician Bishi donning a somewhat Morticia Adams/Cruella De Vil hairstyle. She’s got style, she’s got substance and she mesmerised us with things I never thought could be heard from a sitar.

The crowd were somewhat dumbfounded and some, once they finished telling each other about their evening meal, were under the spell of Bishi who loop pedals her vocals and commands the audience with power stances and stares which are quite a contrast for what was to come but one thing for sure, if you witness Bishi live, it is one name you won’t forget and I am imagining that maybe her own headline show will be something big and bolder than what we had on this night.

So, Emmy The Great. I was actually going to start this review with pure cheesiness by saying that yes, she is great and well, thank fook for that but what is it that makes her great?

This tour is the 10th Anniversary celebration of Emmy’s first album, First Love. In those ten years she’s had a Second Love and other releases and is celebrating coming off maternity leave from having her first child and returned to Newcastle to play the first venue she ever played in this city. The night is all about celebration and reminiscing that there are some in the crowd that mouth every word that is sung by Emmy keeping her in check. If you follow Emmy on the socials, she’s made no secret that she has been somewhat suffering baby brain. She has also stated that she doesn’t like calling her fans ‘fans’ and this is what the night feels like. She’s connecting with those friends that you don’t see for a long time and when you do you just pick it up from where you left off, even for the 2-3 people in the crowd that have never seen or heard her play.

Emmy has her setlist ready which is simply a playback of First Love. She gives us a commentary of most songs including the MIA encounter which she says should have led to a sticky on the album as “cute but offensive!” The ‘interlude’ song, Easter Parade Part 2, follows where she jokingly invites the audience to top up their drinks and even exchange sketches as one gig goer, Jim, actually sketches throughout her set. She engages the audience as much as she can throughout on a personal level leading to great short exchanges, otherwise people are just living the album like they did ten years ago with many singing along especially that one audience member, Helen,  right in her line of view nailing every word with the exception of Emmy just getting right into it and sings ‘fuck on your grave’ rather than ‘piss on your grave’ during the title track which then leads the room singing in chorus for the rest.

Closing the night she invites Gary on stage who at her show the previous night in Sheffield to take on the roll to steady her keyboard for the closing track of the night, Everything Reminds Me Of You. And as she goes to step off the stage to a thunderous roar she returns to sing the last song from the album which is City Song and then into three of the four bonus songs on the album. The album has a few extras in sound but tonight it is Emmy, her guitars, a keyboard and a roomful of ‘friends’ reminiscing the good times through heartbreak to celebrity references. It was one of the most relaxed and fun nights of music I have had and this is the first time in her 10year plus career that I got to experience the greatness of Emmy The Great live and surely it won’t be another ten until I get to do this all over again.

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DEAF KIDS | RAKTA | CAVE SUNS | 24.03.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Deaf Kids | Rakta | Cave Suns – 24th March 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Deaf Kids – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review and photos by Graeme J. Baty from Blank Slate Creative

Cave Suns stepped in at late notice to fill the support slot. They are a band that many pals on the local scene have recommended to me over the years, yet I’ve never had the chance to see them. I made sure I was there for doors to rectify that! Rumbling psychedelia but with a twist, the songs are much more progressive and meandering, in a very good way. Rather than straight repetition the songs lock in a grove but are much more adventurous in exploring the theme of the song and weave a sonic journey, whilst incorporating elements of traditional rock which is quite exhilarating and occasionally their songs reminded me of Barrett period Pink Floyd.

Cave Suns – 24th April 2019 – The Cluny

Next up is Rakta who are on tour with fellow São Paulo band Deaf Kids. They got off to a bumpy start with some technical problems and apparent lack of adapters for their two pin plug amps! Thankfully Cave Suns came to the rescue and helped with a bass head. Once they were sorted it was a case of heads down and rumble on. The lights are super low, with a faint red glow silhouetting the band. Remarkable percussion keeps the band entertaining, I suppose it’s one of the downsides of keys, there isn’t much visually to engage the audience, although watching the pedal twiddling was quite impressive. The heavy reliance on delay pedals (I must admit) did wear a little thing by the end of their set. There’s only so much DD3 you can take and it became a bit repetitive for me. That minor criticism aside, they were quite unique and an excellent pairing with Deaf Kids.

RAKTA – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

On to the main event; Deaf Kids brought their outrageous sound that is quite remarkable from just a three-piece. Punk rock song structures with an extra element of chaos.

Deaf Kids – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

The rhythm section drives the band insatiable bass coupled with some spectacle percussion and d-beat goodness. They’ve been going for a good while now and have increasingly become more adventurous with their sound. Echos of what Rakta are doing with delays and a myriad of guitar pedals, of which guitars and vocals are processed! I don’t know if its the power of the guitars but this immediately feels more engaging than Rakta and I find myself drawn in and utterly hooked. Templo do Caos is sheer perfection and a great introduction to their sound for the uninitiated.

A remarkable night of fantastic bands. All with their own charm and unique sound. It’s proven quite tough to find the words to explain tonight. I am a bit lost for words. Maybe some swear words followed immediately by awesome. Yeah, it was a f*****g awesome night!!

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THE HOWL AND THE HUM and SAUVAGE | 24.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW

The Howl And The Hum and Sauvage – 24th January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Has a band ever captured your attention purely because their name interested you? I know there have been bands that caught people’s eye because of this, even before you’ve heard the music; The Howl And The Hum are one of those bands. I caught their set at last year’s Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough and they simply stunned me into silence. Their headline show at Newcastle’s The Cluny was a whole different affair to that show a few months prior but equally as entertaining.

Sauvage. Photo by Victoria Wai

Support of the night came from Newcastle quartet Sauvage, who sometimes go the other way with their namesake especially due to Johnny Depp and unfortunately not by the French translation of ‘wild!’ But don’t let that name get to you, they bought a solid half-hour set for the early gig goers with a mix of indie and psych sides. Each member had their own energy and you didn’t quite know who to focus your attention on. I heard a few murmurs of people in the crowd who had seen them before saying that was the best they have ever seen them play. I put my hands up as one of them. I don’t know what has happened over the past few months but something is definitely working for the better.

As with most headline acts those milling at the back soon came forward as The Howl And The Hum were ready to start. We were the hum waiting for the howl!

A few months ago I saw these guys play, it was dark and intense. The same came tonight, in the upgraded Cluny from Cluny 2, but there were a lot more stories to be told and not only through their music. Unlike the support act, The Howl And The Hum definitely had a ‘star’ of the band and that came from frontman Sam Griffiths. I mean most bands do have THAT frontman and he delivers. Not taking anything away from the other three members Bradley Blackwell, Conor Hirons and Jack Williams as the band is greater than the sum of its parts.

Hip swerving Sam guides us through a tight 45 minute set of atmospheric alt-rock as he tells us many of the songs are about possessions from sharks to bus tickets. It definitely had the crowd that bit more intrigued than if we were given a straight-up performance of their music and the usual patter you get from stage to crowd. The melodic sounds then big thumping bass and guitars mould into a very entertaining set that the crowd were thoroughly into.

‘Don’t Shoot The Storm’ is a song about not shooting bullets into a hurricane. Sam on top of his impressive ‘woo’s’ also gives us some great dance moves to participate with. Strangely the song that came about staring at the back of a Megabus while in a Fiat Punto, ‘Sweet Fading Silver,’ captivates the audience and sends a roar through the room but personally ‘Portrait I’ and ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge,’ were personal highlights to a highly entertaining night that I walk away with The Howl And The Hum as a musical possession to press play to every now and then.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE and JAYE JAYLE | 07.11.2018 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Emma Ruth Rundle and Jaye Jayle – 7th November 2018 – Newcastle Cluny 2 – Review and photos

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Emma Ruth Rundle – 7th Nov 2018 – Cluny

Some magic from Sargent House arrived in Newcastle on a dark and wet November evening. Jaye Jayle and Emma Ruth Rundle appear as perfectly complementary musical tour partners.

The room is in complete darkness, lit only by a few lamps attached to mic stands. This ensures full attention is on the artists, the crowd is impeccably behaved tonight, listening to every word and sound attentively, with warm applause during respites.

Jaye Jayle – 7th Nov 2018 –

Evan Patterson’s deep and gravelly tones often remind me of Mark Lanegan, albeit with a much more diverse vocal range. They come on to the stage to perform No Trail Path One with its hypnotic piano loop, which leads seamlessly into the second part of that piece No trail Path Two which is a highlight of the record for me. Coupled with Todd Cook’s amazing bass tone it never fails to send shivers down my spine.

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The Jaye Jayle band have formed quite an endearing musical bond with Emma Ruth Rundle, having recorded and toured together for some time. Emma mentions that they’ve been on tour for 2 months now and it’s becoming slightly surreal for them. Both bands sound unique and yet cross over quite seamlessly. In their own musical World.

Emma Ruth Rundle – 7th Nov 2018 – Cluny

It’s a short but perfectly formed setlist, constituting mainly of new material from On Dark Horses, but with a few older songs added to the mix. Apathy on the Indiana Border proves a highlight of the set along with the spine-tingling Light Song.

Setlist

  • Dead Set Eyes
  • Fever Dreams
  • Apathy on the Indiana Border
  • Protection
  • Marked for Death
  • Darkhorse
  • Control
  • Light Song
  • Heaven
  • Shadows of My Name

Both bands have that perfect Sunday morning chill vibe. I came into the show feeling a down and depressed like a dark cloud was following all day, this music soothed and relaxed me, which is quite a remarkable feat.

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MONO | 04.10.2018 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mono (Japan) – 4th October 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Mono – 4th October 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Having spent most of the day telling people to get down early to see the amazing Jo Quail, I arrived (annoyingly!) just as she was closing her set. I last saw her perform in Leeds Brudenell with postrock legends Caspian. I was determined to get down early and catch her set, but instead, I spent the time waiting for public transport. I was disappointed, but I was consoled and very pleased to hear from friends who managed to catch her set, that she was phenomenal. Hopefully, there will be more changes to catch her remarkable cello, pedal hopping antics in future.

A Storm of Light from New York were next up on the tour bill and I must admit I know nothing of their work prior to this tour announcement. They played what was to be a nice loud wake-up call ahead of the headliners. With their spacey doom songs played in almost total darkness, a video projection provided a suitably Orwellian distressing atmosphere. Standing at the front the sheer power of the rhythm section was mightly impressive. This tour is proof that you should always check out all bands on the bill, not just the headliners. Such incredible acts!

A Storm of Light - Cluny October 2018
A Storm of Light – Cluny October 2018

I felt unprepared for just how stunning Mono would be in a live setting. They vastly surpassed anything I could have imagined. Their orchestral arrangements for guitar proved all the more impressive and dramatic in a live setting. The sheer volume was something quite startling yet thoroughly enjoyable. Certainly is the loudest gig of the year for me, standing a few feet from the bass stack probably didn’t help! That bass rumbled so loud, you could feel every note as it rattled your brain and body to the core. Just amazing.

Mono – 4th October 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Requiem for Hell was one of my favourite albums in 2016. That album found them moving in a more traditional post-rock direction. I’ve played that record to death. I had a sneaky look at the setlist as the band setup. I was very pleased to see the title track on the setlist!

The set closed on Ashes In The Snow as revealed by the beautiful glockenspiel motif makes way for some tremolo picked guitar builds a huge crescendo of guitar noise. The band leave the stage one by one, as guitarists Yoda and Taka are building walls of feedback with their pedalboards.

One of the loudest and most enjoyable gigs of 2018 for me. I feel very privileged to get to see them in Newcastle, I have waited to see them for years, but the opportunity never materialised. I’d have gladly travelled to see them perform. However, I feel the Cluny with it’s new and outrageously loud PA system is truly the perfect venue to see them perform. That’s another bucketlist band ticked off! What a night!!

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MASTERSYSTEM | 26.04.2018 | The Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mastersystem – 26th April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle – Review and photos

Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle

I discovered this band by accident. A fellow photographer mentioned them and I remained oblivious as to who they were. Curious I did a bit that there Googleing and stumbled upon the video for The Enlightenment. Holy shit! Frabbits with balls!!!!

More research shed light on the project. The release was a fast-paced, bash it out kind of affair and came as a pleasant surprise. Not only that they’re playing the Cluny!?! My mind raced! I won’t go into too much detail, I interviewed Scott before the show and that shines some light on this rather brilliant project. Stay tuned for that one very soon.

Mastersystem might be a new band and a down a key member (Justin Lockey away on tour with Editors) but as they took to the stage with album opener Proper Home they look like a well-horned band that have been playing together for years. The venue is fairly busy, word seems to have spread. There’s a great atmosphere in the venue, the band clearly having a great time and the audience indulging the new songs.

Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle

They proceed to tear through the Dance Music album in full. Of course being a brand new band means less material, however, that material is really strong and stands as a brilliant piece of work, regardless of other projects. Tonight they stick to the new material and I think the gig was all the more special for it. It’s much more of a rock band, the songs have that pleasant familiarity but with a heavier kick in the arse, big fat bass and fuzzy guitars bringing me back to the 90s alternative rock Pumpkins and Dino!

I left the venue on a high from the music. I know I’ll look back on this night for years to come. I really hope we get more material from Mastersystem in future. They’re just fucking great.

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