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.
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.
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.
Well what can I say about this gig? The final night of The Wildhearts triumphant tour for the launch of their 2019 album Renaissance Men and some might say (not us at Blank Slate we’ve always been massive fans!) unexpected return to the big time.
There was tremendous showmanship on display from the support acts. In fact, both Towers of London and Massive Wagons proved an absolute hoot to photo. So rather than just share a couple of pics from their sets I will add full photo galleries of each band’s set in separate features 🙂
Towers of London have also reformed and are enjoying themselves immensely by the looks of things. They ended their set with members of Massive Wagons joining them onstage for underpants dances and backing vocals on Fuck It Up. MW followed with their own set of high kicking rock anthems to a packed Riverside crowd, fans clearly here in numbers nice and early to see all of the bands.
It’s my first time seeing The Wildhearts live in about 3 and a half years, although I’ve interviewed and covered solo shows during this gap, this is the first time I’ve been able to get to one of their gigs due to gig clashes, ill health or general bad luck!
It’s a privilege to get the chance to photo and review a band that I’ve followed since I was about 14 years old when I heard Suckerpunch for the first time. They will always have a little spot in my heart with their catchy and timeless back catalogue of classics and barrage of riffs that send shivers down my spine each time I hear them.
The outro of Everlone is a great example of that, one of the finest pieces of rock riffage I’ve ever encountered. Which is no mean feat when you break down that song riff by riff, it’s shear quota of classic riffs eclipses many bands entire careers in just one song. It appears tonight second song in, nice and early. There was the expectation that they might not play some of the Earth Vs Material prior to the tour since they’ve played that material very heavily for its 25th-anniversary last year.
The Wildhearts know how to deliver a setlist with a selection that is sure to keep the diehards happy and entertain the casual fans. I haven’t bee able to get Dislocated out of my head for nearly a week now. It’s a pure slice of 2019 perfection, ‘I feel dislocated from your world’ is a sentiment I can relate to far too much. The world needs The Wildhearts. It’s a brutal barrage of a song that slides effortlessly into singalong choruses that only The Wildhearts can pull off. The more I hear it the more I adore it.
It’s an ecstatic night and the whole band appear to be having the time of their lives. It was great to see Danny back there and grinning away. It truly is a remarkable sound that this gang of four chaps can make, the love for them is on clear display from the sold-out Newcastle crowd. Singing and dancing away for the entire set. Including the new numbers which gain a rapturous reaction.
Renaissance Men will feature on many rock albums of the year list and quite rightly so. The Wildhearts were always super popular in Newcastle but now there’s an air of excitement and maybe some ‘I told you so’ smugness from the fans who have followed them religiously for years since they’re now getting more attention from media and a wider audience.
The Wildhearts in whatever shape or form have always been brilliant and will always be one of Britains best rock bands. They deserve every ounce of praise they’ve earned from this tour and album. What a gig!
Thurston Moore Band – 20th May 2015 – The Cluny, Newcastle
This last year has been quite a retro period for me. Stephen Malkmus last summer, J Mascis in the winter and now Thurston Moore. It’s like I’m reliving the 90s, thankfully not in a purely retro throwback binge because these artists are still highly credible, relevant and active 20+ years on.
Sonic Youth are a band that I’ve been obsessed with since I started playing guitar back in 1997. Their music was unlike anything I’d ever heard and I was captivated with how they made those sounds. They became one of my all time favourites and still are to this very day. Which is saying something as I generally have a short attention span and move on to my next obsession pretty fast.
Many and various reasons over the years have led to me not being able to see Sonic Youth live, mainly financial and transport ones but I digress! At the time I thought to myself ‘not to worry they’ll be around forever, I’ll catch them next time’. Well, that proved a mistake so when Moore announced this intimate show I snapped up tickets.
Whilst many would have been hoping to hear some of the old Sonic Youth classics personally I was less concerned as Moore’s new material is tremendous. Thankfully the audience appeared to share my view and there were no calls for older and better-known songs to be aired.
I arrived really early to get a decent spot and was pleased to catch unannounced support artist Michael Chapman. An unknown to many (John Peel was a fan and played him) he’s been around for quite a while and has one hell of a back catalogue. Now in his 70s he still mesmerises with his guitar playing. An unsung guitar hero for sure. Masterful technique, if you close your eyes you can imagine he’s playing a 12 string, yet he creates that sound from 6 strings and makes it look easy in the process. His performance was a rare treat.
Next up the main event and a widely recognised guitar hero. The face of ‘cool’ alternative scene for the last 30 odd years. Towering above the other members of the band an ageing Moore is still a highly captivating performer. Catching eyes with him is quite an intense experience.
They kick off the night with ‘Forevermore’ which is one of the highlights of the recent album. The setlist is not much of a surprise looking at his previous concerts this year. However, we are treated to some new material. Moore joked at one point that they recorded their second album last week and it’s out next week. Or was he joking?! The set largely revolved around the new album ‘The Best Day’, which saw him shelve the Chelsea Light Moving name (they may return since no official split has been announced) and return back to Thurston Moore (Band).
Duel Jazzmaster harmonics bring a smile to my face for the intro to ‘Speak to the Wild’, which is an extruded version of a fairly straightforward song, in timeless Moore style it takes you on a journey; it bends, twists, wanders off on a tangent and returns effortlessly back to the point where it began.
‘Germs Burn’ proves rather special in a live setting with much more of a melodic punk vibe in a little tribute to the punk legends (The Germs but you guessed that already).
They play a new song without introducing it. It’s classic Moore with meandering arpeggios, really reminds me of some of the more laid-back tracks from Murray St period. Followed by some Sonic Youth style discordancy just to make sure everyone is awake.
Another new song is introduced as ‘Aphrodite’, a song full of swagger from what he states is the new album named ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness’.
The band is phenomenal as you’d expect with a super talented percussionist such as Steve Shelley on hand to keep the band in check, embellish when it’s wig out time and reign them smoothly back into the next verse. On bass duties, Moore has recruited none other than My Bloody Valentine’s Debbie Googe. An incredible player and such amazingly hypnotic blue eyes.
I was standing next to Joseph from WAKE (a local band making waves in the music scene) when Moore noticed his 1970 t-shirt. “That’s a Stooges song you know?” says Moore dedicating the song to Joseph‚ and yes he does know as he’s a huge fan.
A relatively short set on paper, but in reality, they’re colossal works, with each song clocking in at well over the 5 minute mark, some twice that. After all these years it’s great to finally see one of the musicians that shaped my listening habits. Utterly fantastic.
EDIT Nov 2018: Extended photo galelry now added with previously unreleased photos!