PIXIES | THE BIG MOON | 21.09.2019 | Newcastle Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Pixies | The Big Moon – 21st September 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Pixies band live at Newcastle Academy 2019

Review and photos by Graeme J. Baty 

Legends return to Newcastle following the release of their latest album Beneath the Eyrie pummelling fans with an epic 2 hour set which comprised of nearly 40 songs.

The Big Moon - Newcastle Academy with the Pixies

Support for the tour comes from hotly-tipped act The Big Moon. They made a pleasant start to the evening with their irresistible slow burners. Pop tinged songs such as Sucker and Cupid will appeal to fans of the softer toned Pixies songs. As the venue fills they win over many in attendance, I think that is their power, they certainly reward the patient listener and although there is a lot to like on the first play of their material you need to invest a bit of time in them before the magic really clicks. With support slots such as a tour with the Pixies, I see great things ahead for The Big Moon

Tonight marks my third time seeing one of my all-time favourites the Pixies and I find myself anxious with excitement to see them again. It’s been a good 5 or 6 years since I last saw them at Glasgow Barrowland and my first time with their new bassist Paz Lenchantin. It is quite a privilege to get to photograph this band, I’m not gonna lie! Tonight will certainly be remembered for many years to come. A band I’ve been obsessed with for a good 20 plus years and one of the bands that were pivotal in my musical education.

They are back with a new record and I must admit I haven’t listened to anything after the disappointing Indie Cindy. For a band with a stunning back catalogue it came as a bit of a let down to me, lacking the fire and abrasiveness I’d become so attached to. I just didn’t click with it. Tonight they’d only play one song from Indie Cindy and I wondered if maybe I had been a bit harsh on the new material or the lack of songs from it proves my point? That said, I have it on good authority that the new album is indeed a return to form and much to my delight I found myself really enjoying these songs in a live setting. They played the entire new album, interspersed with highlights from their entire career. The set worked remarkably well and I was astonished to see the reaction of the fans. The atmosphere in the Academy was one of awe, a hugely enthusiastic audience there to take in the night and experience one of the greatest bands of all time. I didn’t see many mobile phones in the air just people dancing and having a great time. Just as it should be!

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THE SILLY WALKS | 18.09.2019 | Cluny | PHOTO GALLERY

The Silly Walks – 18th Sept 2019 – The Cluny

Photos by Graeme J. Baty 

Here’s a full photo gallery from The Silly Walk’s set with King Khan!

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ASTRID | 04.09.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | PHOTO GALLERY

Astrid – 4th September 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Photos by Graeme J. Baty 

Here’s an extended photo gallery from Astrid’s support slot with Edwyn Collins earlier this month.

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EDWYN COLLINS | ASTRID | 04.09.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Edwyn Collins – 4th September 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Review by Lee Hammond. Photos by Graeme J. Baty 

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.

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KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD BAND | JARROD DICKENSON | 17.07.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Jarrod Dickenson – 17th July 2019 – Boiler Shop Newcastle

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

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!

Jarrod Dickenson - 17th July 2019 - Boiler Shop Newcastle
Jarrod Dickenson – 17th July 2019 – Boiler Shop Newcastle

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 Shepard Band - 17th July 2019 - Boiler Shop Newcastle
Kenny Wayne Shepard Band – 17th July 2019 – Boiler Shop Newcastle

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.


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FRANK TURNER | THE WILDHEARTS | 13.07.2019 | Wasteland Festival | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls | The Wildhearts | Holy Moly and The Crackers | Beans on Toast – 13th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Review by Lee Hammond and photos by Graeme J Baty

The second day of Wasteland festival had also been moved at short notice, tonight though the venue feels significantly cooler than last nights sweat box. Arriving in time for local band Holy Moly and The Crackers, they set about starting the party as early as possible. A fun packed set as they entertain this exuberant early crowd with their own brand of folk punk. Bounding round the stage in enthusiastic fashion it sets a huge precedent for everyone who is to follow them.

From a local band of reprobates to a lone man, Beans On Toast slopes on to the stage to an excited reception. Straight into tearing a strip off Donald and Boris it’s clear Beans On Toast is in the mood for a party, he rattles off a plethora of his better known tracks including the chant-along MDMAmazing, which never fails to induce a brilliant reaction. He then offers it out to the audience to request tracks, only to find most of those they’re after he can’t play.

It provides a fun end to a brilliant set, completely different to those that went before him, yet still no less compelling. There is no set style or genre tonight as next up are local legends The Wildhearts, personally requested by Frank Turner to play a special hometown show tonight. They’re a band who waste very little time in chatting, instead it’s heads down for this short set as they crank out riff after riff and hit after hit.

It’s a jam packed set, early on the brilliant Everlone has a multitude of heads nodding along in unison. With the likes of Suckerpunch quickly following after, new track Let ‘Em Go sees Frank Turner hopping on stage and bounding around in suitably ecstatic fashion as he helps out with this track. They power through to the end of this insatiable set, you’d be forgiven for assuming they were tonight’s headliners with a set as tight as this.

As the lights dim for the final time at this years Wasteland festival, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls file out on to the stage and immediately take the roof off with an astounding rendition of Get Better. It kick starts a hit filled set in which you can barely hear Frank and his band as Long Live The Queen, Photosynthesis, Polaroid Picture, Plain Sailing Weather all invoke massive sing-alongs.

There are few artists that can control a crowd in the way Frank Turner does, tonight he is on top form. Creating a circle pit, inciting deafening chants filled with heartfelt passion, for a moment it brings about that ecstatic feeling that takes you away from everything else. The odd track from Be More Kind softening the tone ever so slightly but he soon picks the pace back up.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

The end of his set is an exceptional run through some of his most angst filled work, The Next Storm, Try This At Home, Recovery, I Still Believe and finally the ever brilliant Four Simple Words. It’s insane from start to finish this crowd moving as one, bouncing up and down to every beat. All lead in song by Frank, it is truly a sight to behold as we leave hoarse wishing it wasn’t over. Once again Frank Turner proving why he is one of the finest live acts in the country if not the world.


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BLOC PARTY | CIRCA WAVES | MYSTERY JETS | 12.07.2019 | Wasteland Festival | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Bloc Party | Circa Waves | Mystery Jets – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Review by Lee Hammond and photos by Graeme J Baty

Bloc Party – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

After moving venue at the last minute, the show must go on and tonight the O2 Academy Newcastle throws its doors open to a horde of people expecting the best in nostalgic mid noughties indie. Opening the show The Mystery Jets kick things off to a lively start, their excitable style mixed with infectious choruses has everyone up and dancing. Their set mainly filled with newer tracks but the appearance of Young Love is a welcome addition to this short set.

Continuing on a theme of insatiable groove ridden choruses and spritely Indie Rock, Circa Waves hit the stage next. The relatively young band sandwiched between two stalwarts of the indie scene, they put on an excitable set. They appear to be as excited as everyone else, it’s not long before they have the ever-swelling crowd in full verse. Frontman Kieran is quick to get everyone clapping and singing as best as he can.

The likes of Fossils and Stuck in my Teeth are instant highlights in this energetic set, but they save the best until last. Finishing off in style with a riotous rendition of T-Shirt Weather, which has this entire crowd in song. An impressive way to finish any set, as they set this now packed out crowd up for Bloc Party.

As the lights dim, the band make their way on to the stage to a rapturous reception from this packed crowd. The heat inside the venue is soaring as outside the rain continues to pour (I bet you’re glad it’s been moved inside now). Opening with Compliments, the band have opted for a different take on playing their debut album in full, where most bands would play from start to finish.

Bloc Party decide to play from the end through to the beginning, it’s a slow build as the first few tracks lack the energy of the hits that otherwise litter the album. However, they hit their stride during This Modern Love and from there they’re firing on all cylinders. Hit after hit follows, you really cannot fault Bloc Party on this occasion, Blue Light, Banquet, Helicopter, Like Eating Glass everything sounds exceptional.

There is the obvious miss of the fact that this isn’t the original lineup but that matters less and less as Kele’s signature style permeates throughout the venue. Leaving the stage after the main event they return for a few tracks mainly those from Weekend In The City, all of which are welcome additions to this blistering set. Hunting For Witches and The Prayer are obvious favourites as they cap off an incredible set in style.

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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GOV’T MULE | 28.05.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Gov’t Mule – 28th May 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)

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!

Set One:

Hammer and Nails (The Staple Singers cover)
Larger Than Life
Whisper in Your Soul
Fool’s Moon
Birth of the Mule
Stone Cold Rage
Drawn That Way
Slackjaw Jezebel

Set Two:

I’ll Be Creepin’ (Free cover)
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone cover)
Mule
Soulshine (The Allman Brothers Band cover)
Broke Down on the Brazos
Tributary Jam
Time to Confess
30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie cover)
I Don’t Need No Doctor (Ray Charles cover)

Encore:

Come On in My Kitchen (Robert Johnson cover)
Gonna Send You Back to Georgia (A City Slick) (Timmy Shaw cover)

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ROISIN MURPHY | 19.05.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Roisin Murphy – 19th May 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Review by Lee Hammond. Photos by Victoria Wai

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.

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