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.

THE WILDHEARTS | MASSIVE WAGONS | TOWERS OF LONDON | 12.05.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Wildhearts | Massive Wagons | Towers Of London – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

The Wildhearts - 12th May 2019 - Newcastle Riverside
The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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

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.

Towers of London – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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.

Massive Wagons – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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!

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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.

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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.

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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 – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

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!

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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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TEN EIGHTY TREES | DUNES | SING AGAIN SYREN | 20.04.2019 | Think Tank Underground | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Ten Eighty Trees, Dunes, Sing Again Syren – 20th April 2019 – Think Tank Underground

Ten Eighty Trees – 20th April 2019 – Think Tank

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

I walked into the venue with a strong sense of déjà vu tonight, in the most positive way. Dunes and Ten Eighty Trees played together last year and that was a fantastic night. So when this show was announced a huge smile appeared on my dial! The lineup promised to be a power trio of power trios.

Sing Again Syren – 20th April – Think Tank Underground

First up a new band on the local scene who are making a bit of a name for themselves; Sing Again Syren. Tonight is my first time seeing them and I had no doubt they’d be something special for this lineup. I wasn’t disappointed.

A three-piece of highly accomplished players jamming with some distinctive hard rock with a hint blues thrown in for an irresistible sound. As they walk on stage I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but by the time they closed their set they left a few people with jaws on the floor. A fantastic rhythm section and a distinct low-end groove. Guitarist Eliza Lee stole the show with her incredible shredding. The entire band are incredibly skilled. Impressive to note that they’ve only been going since late 2018, if they push their stage presence forward a bit I sense great things ahead for this lot. I’d definitely call Sing Again Syren as ones to watch out for.

Dunes – 20th April 2019 – Think Tank

Syren’s warmed the audience up nicely and next up came high impact riffage of Dunes! What can I say about Dunes? Well, they are the band I’ve seen the most in recent years. In fact, I’ve entirely lost count, definitely in double digits now and becoming difficult to honestly review them since they’re always on top form and I am a bit biased, to be honest, I love DUNES!

This fact aside they never fail to impress. If anything they’ve become stronger and more defined as they moved to a three-piece. The band might be endlessly compared to that American band but they’ve knuckled down and made their own identity which is far greater than the recent output of said band. That identity is good old killer riffs and witty lyrics, you can help but love their sound.

A new album is in the bag and coming out later in 2019. We were treated to a few of the tracks from it including Take Me To The Nasties and my current earworm Denim Casket. They closed their set with a long epic version of Illegitimate Hulk. If you weren’t a Dunes fan before tonight’s set, you are now! Proper mint!

Ten Eighty Trees – 20th April 2019 – Think Tank

Ten Eighty Trees headline tonight celebrating the launch of their new single Casual Habits. It’s a stellar turnout for them and the room is buzzing. That buzz is absorbed by the band and reciprocated with a phenomenal show. The sheer enthusiasm and energy of the band is utterly intoxicating. Frontman Nathan knows how to work a crowd and appears to be having the time of his life up there, striking endless amounts of rock poses. His high energy antics proved a delight to photograph.

Every now and again you’ll catch a band and they blow you away. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to for me. I’ll put that down to middle age! It happened when I saw them in late 2018 with Dunes. However, Ten Eighty Trees seem to have stadium rock written all over them. Although their music is fairly undefinable and incredibly diverse there is that magic there and some densely crafted songs that evolve and intrigue, the more you listen to them the more you like them. It’s a magic that could propel them to a much wider audience.

Each member of the band demands your attention. Drummer Michael Mather endlessly smiling and pulling faces while bassist Lewis Glathom powers through the setlist, not to be outdone he drives the songs, mixes up styles and even lays down the funk at times. Such a fantastic rhythm section!

The Ten Eighty live sound is much more intense than their super slick recordings would suggest. Adding a sense of drama and dirt to it. Very powerful but you’re brought back down to earth with catchy singalong choruses, it’s all too easy to get swept along with them and lose your shit. Something Feral is a great example of this, killer rock riffs coupled with a sucker-punch of a singalong “Ohh Owoh!”.

Ten Eighty Trees are still a fairly new band but with huge promising potential. I shall enjoy watching these rise through the ranks. Tonight the had the audience eating out of the palm of their hands and singing back word for word. This is a new generation of Newcastle bands that aren’t afraid to do their own thing and refuse to fit into the standard boring indie music that has plagued the local scene for the last few years. The future is bright, the future is 1080! What a night.

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