THE STRANGLERS – March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy – FEATURE

THE STRANGLERS – March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy – FEATURE

The Stranglers – 29th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Waltzinblack booms out of the PA system and the O2 crowd go nuts as The Stranglers make their way to their stage positions and kick into Curfew from the Black and White album. The next hour and three quarters is a master class in how a band in their 44th year can still pull in a crowd and still feel fresh!

The Stranglers - 29th March 2018 - Newcastle O2 Academy
The Stranglers – 29th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

The 25 song set (including Waltz intro) takes in at least 11 of their albums. Get a Grip from Rattus is next up with Greenfield’s unmistakable keyboard sound even if you can’t see him behind the tower of gear you know full well it’s him! Baz Warne is targeted early on from a member in the crowd for a bit of local football banter but he swiftly puts the heckler down with a retort that has not only the crowd but also JJ Burnel creased with laughter.

The set is littered with massive tunes (Something Better Change, Go Buddy Go, I Feel Like A …, etc) but for me it’s that distinctive Burnel bass at the beginning of Peaches that raises the heckles on the back of my neck. Burnel and Warne are a fantastic upfront pairing sharing the vocal duties almost equally and a number of big fans have commented to me about how this current incarnation is the best in a long time and great to see them having a blast together on stage. Have to say Jean-Jacques Burnel is still one of the coolest players even after 44 years!

The Stranglers - 29th March 2018 - Newcastle O2 Academy
The Stranglers – 29th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Hanging Around is another classic track that brings back so many memories of my youth when at that time a lot of my “punk” friends were trying to get my long haired hippy self to listen to this new phenomenon!

A lovely triple of Golden Brown, Always The Sun and their version of Walk On By gets the Geordie choir singing their hearts out! The three tracks from their last release Giants sit perfectly amongst the classics tonight.

By the time No More Heroes brings the night to a close the place is a sweaty but very happy mess! Roll on the next tour

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow


Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

DAVE HAUSE  – March 2018 – Boiler Shop Newcastle – REVIEW and PHOTOS

DAVE HAUSE – March 2018 – Boiler Shop Newcastle – REVIEW and PHOTOS

Dave Hause – 8th March 2018 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Dave Hause is a perfect choice of opener for tonights’ soldout Brian Fallon show, even if a few ignorant chatterers hadn’t realised it!!

Dave Hause, March 2018, Boiler Shop Newcastle
Dave Hause, March 2018, Boiler Shop Newcastle

Opening with Shaky Jesus from his recent release Bury Me In Philly, Dave and brother Tim (guitar keyboards and other toy instruments) deliver a ten song set which includes a beautiful heartfelt version of Tom Pettys’ Won’t Back Down and Brandi Carliles’ Hold Out Your Hand the rest are taken from the aforementioned Philly and earlier releases .

My favourite being C’mon Kid who Dave dedicated to the “too cool” audience member refusing to allow themselves to enjoy the set which is very very odd considering Dave’s songs should resonate with Fallons fans. Oh well, some folk just won’t take blinkers off eh!

By the time Dirty Fucker is aired more and more of the crowd are behind Dave and as With You ends the set a lot more folk are heading to the merch stand to buy his shirts and records and have a few words with this friendly fella! He told me he’s planning on coming back to do some solo shows I hope he includes us here in the Toon.

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow


Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

TURBOWOLF – March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

TURBOWOLF – March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

Turbowolf – 11th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

One of my plans for this year is to go see some new bands. Although Turbowolf aren’t exactly new, they are new to me. Having heard nothing but good about the band and their shows I couldn’t resist this gig!

Puppy - 11th March 2018 - Newcastle O2 Academy - Puppy band
Puppy – 11th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Puppy were on first. Sunday night crowd pleasers warm up the audience perfectly, not too OTT to steal headlines thunder but enough to impress and make some new fans. Their sound goes from grunge into melodic rock.

I’m a bit on the fence with them. I enjoyed their set, largely due to their phenomenal drummer, without him I wonder if they’d be a rather pedestrian live act. That energy, performance and skill made the band all the more engaging and interesting. That said, I did enjoy their set and so did the crowd. A band to watch with interest. Here’s the full photo gallery from their set.

So it’s Turbowolf time! This is a band that made me fall in love with gigs all over again. So much energy, so much fun! Stage presence and songs rip the Newcastle crowd out of their Sunday night daze and into a throbbing party. It is the liveliest I’ve seen the Academy in years. Fans going nuts, moshing, crowd surfing, the energy was just intoxicating and infectious. Hands down one of the best live bands in Britain! 

Turbowolf - 11th March 2018 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Turbowolf – 11th March 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

The night was made all the more memorable with a special guest. ‘Timmy’, as he was introduced came on to provide additional vocals. Timmy actually being Sebastien Grainger from Death from Above (who played the Academy the night before.)

“This song is for everyone who loves this song” made me chuckle more than it probably should have as they burst into Run Rabbit Run. 

This band have restored my faith in music. The power of rock ‘n’ roll compels me! This is fucking great, this is the way all gigs should be!

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow


Images Copyright Graeme J. Baty. For permission to use these images please contact us or visit our FAQ for more info


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

BLACK MOTH, GRAVE LINES and FAMOUS DAVID – Feb 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – REVIEW

BLACK MOTH, GRAVE LINES and FAMOUS DAVID – Feb 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – REVIEW

Black Moth, Grave Lines and Famous David – 12th February 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Review by Neil Ainger

Little is known of opening band Famous David and for good reason, as tonight was their first ever gig. Warming up a crowd light in numbers on a cold Monday night is no easy task and Famous David seemed to embrace the opportunity. It’s hard to define their set in terms of a genre as the band dipped in and out of post-punk, garage and psychedelic rock at will. Being hard to define is not a slight or a negative for any band and identity will surely come with experience. The band brought their set to a close amid a boiling heavy psych haze that sent me back to the bar with a little less of a feeling of the Monday blues. The fact that I found at the bar a tap takeover from Magic Rock only helped alleviate it further.

“Isn’t that the guy from Sea Bastard?” my friend asked as London/Brighton based Grave Lines took to the stage. I assured him it wasn’t, confident I was right. Guitarist Oli doesn’t exactly blend into a crowd and their appearance at Byker Grave festival at The Globe may have been almost four years ago but given we took our place directly in front of him with nobody to obstruct our view I think I’d remember that. Well, my hideously troublesome memory has beaten me once more as a quick search the next day has well and truly proven me wrong. Despite being a fan of Sea Bastard’s miserable brand of doom for some time, Grave Lines were new to me and how I wish I had been aware of them before now.

Their support set consisted of three tracks (albeit long ones), two of which were from their forthcoming LP entitled Fed Into The Nihilist Engine and as the gentle, almost slowcore-like opening notes in the first tracks leisurely and lengthy opening few minutes build in to an epic, aggressive and hypnotic fury I was immediately enamoured with it. Jake’s vocals range from mournful and melancholic to vigorous and forceful and the mood can suddenly change at any given moment, never offering the listener an opportunity to become comfortable and disengaged, never wavering in its intensity. Between the frantic and at times obscure guitar work, the remarkable vocals, Matt’s irate bass playing which only helps to add a further weighty dimension to the misanthropic murk, and Julia’s precision drumming, often seemingly playing as if she were independent to the rest of the band whilst simultaneously holding every single piece of the band’s sound together like a strong glue, Grave Lines are truly transfixing and immobilising and I urge anyone with an interest in doom and sludge to listen to the album when it is released. There is just no way it isn’t going to be something very special.

Fair play to Black Moth for welcoming such a strong band on tour with them because they really were a tricky act to follow. Black Moth, luckily, are no slouches. Their nine-date UK tour taking place to promote the band’s latest release Anatomical Venus, offers fans their first taste of the new material. The new album, they claim, will be their heaviest offering to date and tracks like Moonbow, with it’s psychedelic and garage rock influences, are played loud and at pace. It’s been about five years since I last saw Black Moth live and in those five years the band have been hard at work, releasing 2 full-length albums and sharing stages with the likes of Orange Goblin, Karma to Burn, Monster Magnet, Pentagram, L7 and Sisters of Mercy! The result is that Black Moth appear to operate like a well-oiled machine. Prepared and refined the band ooze positivity and are prepared with between-track quips and laughter.

Vocalist Harriet Hyde’s voice is authoritative and inviting and she has the presence on stage to match, dedicating new track Sisters of the Stone to her guitarist Federica as well as strong female role models the world over. It’s difficult not to engage with the band’s affable nature and they sound terrific. The dual guitars pinch and bite and the vocals ease their way through the mix with little to no resistance. Tracks like Tumbleweave, and especially Looner, from 2014s Condemned to Hate, sound somewhat more vicious on the live stage, Blackbirds Fall from the band’s first record, 2012s The Killing Jar, is every bit the slick, well-rehearsed crowd pleaser it should be and the new material is sounding fresh and full of promise. Some of the more untamed instrumental sections suggest that the claim to be heavier than ever may just prove to be true. There may be no shortage of a certain kind of female-fronted stoner metal and if that’s your thing there are plenty of bands out there to choose from. If Black Moth are going to ensure that they set themselves apart, it will be in the range of influences they bring to the table and a desire to continue moving forward. At the point of writing this I am yet to hear their latest release, but if this glimpse into Anatomical Venus is anything to go by then that may just be exactly what they have done.

MASTODON | RED FANG | RUSSIAN CIRCLES – December 2017 – Northumbria Uni – REVIEW

MASTODON | RED FANG | RUSSIAN CIRCLES – December 2017 – Northumbria Uni – REVIEW

Mastodon | Red Fang | Russian Circles – 6th December 2017 – Northumbria Uni

Review by Neil Ainger

I hate to lean on an old cliche but I am reminded of the saying that ‘good things come in threes’. Not a saying worth putting any stock in, of course. For starters, there also exists the saying ‘bad luck comes in threes’ and for that matter, if we believe there to be any real meaning in sayings such as these, good things also ‘come to those who wait’ and ‘come in small packages’. On this particular evening, however, good things almost certainly came in threes when Mastodon rolled into town with two heavyweights in tow.

The significance of the occasion was not lost on the majority of those coming out to see one of heavy metals current big hitters and a very healthy number of people ensured they were on time to catch Russian Circles kick the night off early on.

I feel as though bands that play post-rock and post-rock metal are often handed support slots because they set the tone for the rest of the evening. A kind of slow-burning and easily digested introduction to proceedings.

To make such claims about Russian Circles, however, would be nothing short of an insult. Delicate, fragile and effortlessly intricate one moment, as they slowly build a precisely crafted atmosphere, and chaotic the next as they tear it all down to the ground with intense and explosive riffage. The instrumental trio from Chicago are worthy of so much more than their quick half an hour set on this evening.

Red Fang from Portland, Oregon are no strangers to opening for some heavy hitters. Serving as the support for Opeth and In Flames will teach you all you need about working some big tours I’m sure. It’s, therefore, no surprise that the stoner riffers are about as professional as you could ask for, rifling through track after track while never forgetting to engage the audience and have a little fun.

Red Fang are a welcome reminder to those amongst us attracted more closely to the gloom and the doom that metal can be fun, while not sacrificing any credibility. Charging through favourites such as ‘Hank is Dead’, ‘Blood Like Cream’, ‘Wires’ and ‘Crows in Swine’, the crowd were full to capacity and primed and ready for the closer ‘Prehistoric Dog’ which landed predictably well.

By the time Mastodon took the stage there was barely a space to fill, made only too apparent by the arduous task of battling one’s way to the bar or to the toilets. With their two most recent albums making the top 20 in the UK and the top 10 in the US, the shift towards more commercially friendly music in recent years has been notable.

In fact, Mastodon have shown a real skill for writing compact, hooky, dare I say pop songs. The setlist on this evening was understandably dominated by tracks from the latest record, ‘Emperor of Sand’, with ‘Sultans Curse’, ‘Show Yourself’, ‘Precious Stones’, ‘Steambreather,’ ‘Roots Remain,’ ‘Ancient Kingdom’ and ‘Andromeda’ all featuring. Opinion is likely divided, but I feel the new material blends effortlessly into the fabric of a live Mastodon experience. Some of it perhaps lack the punch of a ‘Colony of Birchmen’, which was met with nothing but a positive energy, the tech-metal trademark sound of the likes of ‘Megalodon’, which sent the pit a few paces in front of me in to overdrive, or the complexity of the 13 minute ‘The Last Baron’, the closing track to the bands progressive metal masterpiece ‘Crack the Skye’ and a somewhat odd but welcome choice to open the show.

Mastodon are a band that haven’t forgotten where they came from and while the albums ‘Remission’, ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Blood Mountain’ are certainly not represented in the way they once were, the tracks that do make the cut offer the perfect balance to both remind us of where they have come while celebrating where they are. By the time the band close the set with eternal favourite ‘Blood and Thunder’, the pit has had a decent workout for the evening.

THE DARKNESS and THE BLACKFOOT GYPSIES – Nov 2017 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE DARKNESS and THE BLACKFOOT GYPSIES – Nov 2017 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Darkness and The Blackfoot Gypsies – 28th November 2017 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)

Channelling the styles of Dylan and the Beatles with a distinctly southern rock flavour. Tennessee quartet; The Blackfoot Gypsies are perhaps an odd choice for this opening slot for a hard rock band. That being said, they handled it with aplomb and I dare say they made a substantial number of new fans along the way with their energetic hook-filled set.

The Blackfoot Gypsies PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view full screen.

Next up The Darkness, promoting their new album (which is probably one of their finest) ‘Pinewood Smile’.

The Darkness - 28th November 2017 - Newcastle O2 Academy
The Darkness – 28th November 2017 – Newcastle O2 Academy

You pretty much know what you’re going to get at a Darkness gig: The kind of foot stomping, pint-in-the-air guitar riffs that the combination of Gibson Les Paul and Marshall stack were invented for Guitar solos that occasionally border on a widdlefest, yet always have that melodic punchline that compliments the song and prevents them becoming self-indulgent wankery. High pitched falsetto warbling. Catsuits. Throw in some tongue in cheek lyrics, a bit of daft banter with the crowd and a fair old smothering of hits and you have a typical Darkness gig.

Tonight the band are on superb form, with some extra heft added to the setlist by the meaty riffs of new songs ‘Southern Trains’ and ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’. They play a hit-strewn set covering all of their albums, bringing the party to a close with (one of the only actually good Christmas songs) ‘Don’t let the Bells End’ and the obligatory ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’.

Some people wrongly dismiss the Darkness as a piss-take of classic rock bands, but with the quality of musicianship and songs on offer plus the party atmosphere of the gig, it’s safe to say that they’ve missed the point. Their loss.

The Darkness PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view full screen.

Images Copyright Kevin Burdon Photography. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

DEAF HAVANA, DECADE, BLACK FOXXES – Nov 2017 – Northumbria Uni – REVIEW and PHOTOS

DEAF HAVANA, DECADE, BLACK FOXXES – Nov 2017 – Northumbria Uni – REVIEW and PHOTOS

Deaf Havana, Black Foxxes and Decade – 22nd November 2017 – Northumbria Institute

Every now and then I’ll end up at a show and the majority of the audience are looking at me with the expression that clearly states ‘who brought their dad?!’. Tonight I get that feeling again! Being in my late thirties, I’m positively ancient compared to most of the audience tonight. I’m at the venue super early, yet it’s pretty much half full already. The punters seem super keen to catch all the bands!

Up first are Decade, who I saw a few years back in Newcastle Academy. I came down early as I was keen to see how they’ve developed in the meantime. They crank out a short set of songs from their new album. Their energetic pop tones remind me of Death Cab for Cutie at times. New album Pleasantries came out earlier this year. They’ve changed a lot since I first saw them as fresh-faced younguns, they’ve grown into a much more musically engaging act and they’ve kept that strong stage presence.

DECADE PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view full screen.

Black Foxxes are up next and they prove to be a highlight of the night for me. They’ve gained a rather respectable amount of awesome tour supports. So their name was familiar to me, but as yet I hadn’t seen them live. They have a much more abrasive edge to their sound than the other acts tonight. Skuzzy, pop hooks, grunge, punk stuff. Bloody delightful to watch. Hopefully, they’ll be back for some headline shows!

BLACK FOXXES PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view full screen.

For all of the years I’ve been gigging, I somehow managed to miss Deaf Havana. Slam Dunk was so ridiculously busy for their set so I couldn’t get anywhere near them. Tonight’s the night!

Deaf Havana - Northumbria Uni - November 2017 - crowd shot

The lights are down low and moody for opener ‘Fever’. At last, the crowd seem to come alive, having been rather subdued during the opening acts. They churn out a hefty set of career-spanning favourites. The lighting is simply remarkable, bringing an added layer of intensity to the performance and of course making for some amazing photo opportunities. They end the night to rabid applause with the atmospheric ‘Anemophobia Part II’.

DEAF HAVANA PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view full screen.


Images Copyright Blank Slate Creative. For permission to use these images please contact us or visit our FAQ for more info


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

THE TUBES – November 2017 – Newcastle Boiler Shop – REVIEW and PHOTO GALLERY

THE TUBES – November 2017 – Newcastle Boiler Shop – REVIEW and PHOTO GALLERY

THE TUBES – Newcastle Boiler Shop, 9th November 2017

There’s a lot of love in the room tonight flowing both to and from the band. The Tubes frontman; Fee Waybill is beaming and thanking the audience and a friend of mine who worked for the band for many years and is still good friends with them turned to me and said; ” Fee doesn’t do bullshit very well. That happiness and gratitude is genuine!”

THE TUBES - November 2017 - Newcastle Boiler Shop
THE TUBES – November 2017 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

The band have been around since the early 70’s delighting audiences with their theatrical Rock ‘n’ Roll show. They are over on a kind of double tour taking in some headline shows then off out with old friend Alice Cooper opening up alongside the Mission on an arena tour.

For nearly 2 hours the band bang out the tunes that they have crafted for over 40 years with almost no gap between them even when Fee is changing costume /character the guys play introductions and instrumentals in their matching white boiler suits.

THE TUBES - November 2017 - Newcastle Boiler Shop
THE TUBES – November 2017 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

All of Fees’ personas are out tonight TV King, Mr Hate, Mondo Bondage, Golden Boy, Game Show Host for What Do You Want From Life. We are treated to a Beatles and Beefheart cover too along with the contractually obligated ballad (Fees’ words ). But of course its the larger than life glam rocker Quay Lewd who steals the limelight in his 13″ heels and spandex closing the set with the anthem ‘White Punks On Dope’. A quick change and an encore of singles ‘Talk To Ya Later’ and ‘She’s A Beauty’ leave the crowd on a high, smiling faces throughout the venue. Not content with that, the band then tell everyone they’ll meet them at the merch stand for chats and beers. True to their word, as I left 20 minutes later they were still meeting and greeting everyone who wanted to!

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view full screen.