JOHN FAIRHURST | 14.11.2018 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

JOHN FAIRHURST | 14.11.2018 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

John Fairhurst – 14th November 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – Review and photos

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

John Fairhurst – 14th November 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

John Fairhurst returned to Newcastle performing alongside highly skilled percussionist Toby Murray. They make a formidable duo, with Toby’s drumming driving and propelling the songs to another level.

Set highlights include a storming version of Breakdown and the Hendrix blues jam vibes of I’m Coming Home. Hungry Blues calls on the ghost of Dr John, proving that Fairhurst is a powerful vocalist with deep gravelly tones that would sound more at home in the Delta than from good old England.

John Fairhurst – 14th November 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

John is probably the greatest British bluesman around at the moment and the few who were here tonight were richly rewarded. I have to admit being utterly bored by the likes of Joe Bonamassa, whilst technically highly impressive it lacks that important factor; the feel and that’s what John Fairhurst has in spades whilst remaining technically a great player. What’s more perplexing is the popularity of those types of acts when the real raw and powerful blues music seems to slip mass attention, it’s an unjust world I suppose.

There is more to follow from John and his band, they’ll be back in 2019 with the release of their long-awaited album after a short break to spend time with his family. It’s been such a long time since I heard a good blues band and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I’ll make damn sure I catch him on the next tour!

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CAPE CUB | JOYYA | 29.10.2018 | The Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

CAPE CUB | JOYYA | 29.10.2018 | The Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Cape Cub and Joyya – 29th October 2018 – The Cluny

By Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

It felt like a triple headliner with this gig as Shamu bought in heavy synth-rock sounds then contrasting with their electro-pop were duo Joyya and contrasting yet again was headliners Cape Cub bringing dream-pop to a packed out Cluny.

I have seen Cape Cub a few times now and each time they just seem to get bigger – and that’s not only in crowd numbers but also in the whole production. Before they started the crowd was ecstatic and to add to the intensity the house lights go a deep blue as Chad and the band echo with Keep Me In Mind then into their latest single Moonglow. Every song delivered is catchy. Watching the band interact on stage, coupled with the light show it felt euphoric. It did not feel like we were in this intimate space of The Cluny.

I believe I have said this before but Cape Cub are definitely made for bigger venues so catch them in these small ones while you can. They always play with such conviction and their interaction with the audience whether if it is through personal shout-outs or just in the feel of their lyrics is something to be witnessed. They end with their biggest hit to date, Flowers, and although you want more (and there were chants from the whole room for more) they always seem to end the show on the perfect high, that even if they didn’t come back, you are left knowing that you got the value of true musicianship. 

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MASTERSYSTEM | Scott Hutchison | INTERVIEW

MASTERSYSTEM | Scott Hutchison | INTERVIEW

Scott Hutchison talks to us about all things Mastersystem

Feature and photography by Graeme J. Baty

I caught up with Scott Hutchison from Mastersystem and Frightened Rabbit before their Cluny gig in Newcastle. I’ve been fairly blown away by the surprise album and just had to find out a bit more about the record, lyrical themes and the band’s plans.

Mastersystem - April 2018 - Cluny Newcastle
Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle

It’s really nice to get to speak to Scott, his songs have helped me recently with my own depression battle and Mastersystem album came out at a really dark period in my life, I instinctively and instantly connected to it without necessarily understanding why. Mastersystem are much more than the sum of their parts. They are a breath of fresh air. I’m quietly confident it’ll make my top ten albums of the year. Any less of my waffle and more questions!

I suppose the obvious question to ask is how did this project come about?

Well, it was brought to myself and Grant by Justin Lockey two summers ago while we were opening up for Editors in Berlin. It was one of those things where you have a lot of conversations like that with fellow musicians where you like we should do something together. The thing I realised is that if you have that conversation with Justin then he’s gonna make it happen! He’s a bit of a workaholic and he’s got about 5 different things on the go at any one time. So a few months later at the start of 2017, I got a bunch of tracks and I absolutely loved them. It was like here’s a bunch of instrumentals, go make them into songs in your own time, there’s no rush. I was still in the midst of a Frightened Rabbit tour so I gave it a couple more months then I began writing and it came together pretty quickly after that.

So aye it’s been a swift project, which is kinda the best way to do a sideproject really. That’s the kind of ethos of it really, let’s not overthink this, it’s big dumb guitar tracks and I took the same approach with the lyrics. Somethings with other songs I can spend months to perfect them lyrically. What I did essentially over a couple of months I took a total of about a week to put the lyrics together, I tried to do it quickly, kinda off the cuff gut instinct approach and it seemed to fit.

I’m quite blown away by the power and heaviness of the album. It feels like an escape from other projects, yet with a pleasing familiarity. Is this a deliberate approach to the sound? How would you compare Mastersystem to other projects?

Yeah, it gives it a good reason to exist because it’s really quite different from what we usually do. Also, I didn’t play any guitar on this record so I was listening to someone else’s song and I really enjoyed that detachment where I could just be the vocalist.

Can you tell us a bit about the recording and writing process? Did you get together to write and record or was it more of a studio project?

Well the ‘demos’ that I got where to my ears pretty fully formed, they had some rough drums on them which Grant re-did, but that was the last thing. It was like making an album in reverse as Grant was the last thing to go on it. We were all available at different times, I went down to Doncaster for two sessions, for a total of 6 days recording. Some of those tracks it was pretty much the first time I sang them, so it was that kind of spontaneity as opposed to overthinking things.

It’s interesting it’s definitely changed my thoughts towards writing and recording, maybe that kind of ‘off the cuffness’ is something that keeps the music exciting and alive rather than studiously picking through a track to try and perfect it. I know Justin has the same process in Editors. With Grant over the years, we’ve kind of tamed him a lot. We’ve brought in a lot of electronic sounds in the studio and the way that we used to play when we started out, where it was just thrashing about he’s not been able to do much of that in recent years as the sound has calmed down a lot. He loved getting back into that animal style drumming.

It was a proper release for us as well, a between album project so it’s really good pallet cleanser, which will probably affect how we approach the next Frightened Rabbit album, it’s exciting.

Mastersystem - April 2018 - Cluny Newcastle
Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle

Where did the name come from? Is it Sega related?!

Well yeah, it is, but it’s one word! So far we’ve not had any angry emails from Sega saying cease and desist. The thing is there is a certain amount of regression to what we were all listening to in high school, so it takes us back to what we were listening to early Pumpkins, Weezer, Dinosaur Jr. and all the Seattle grunge stuff, that’s where the heart of the record lies but we wanted to bring it forward, certainly lyrically I wanted to have that kind of teenage angst but with adult problems in the lyrics.

Approaching the vocals for this I was almost able to get into a different sort of character there’s a lot of heart and soft feeling in Frighten Rabbit songs and I think this is more aggressive. You wouldn’t really know it listening to it but I was thinking of some of my favourite vocalists and performers like early Idlewild; Roddy Woomble, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave. Where there’s that aggression, swagger and confidence which I don’t really do a lot of in the other band, so there’s definitely a lot of lyrics that wouldn’t make it into a Frightened Rabbit song but I felt able to put it into those songs because the tone is so different.

Lyrically Dance Music seems quite dark, introspective and unafraid to use foul language to get a point across. I’m quite curious as this year I’ve been battling depression and find myself looking deeper into lyrics (particularly Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad albums) to find comfort. Is this a deliberate attempt to look at accepting one’s inner demons and behaviour?

Yeah, it’s something I’ve been battling for a while, I guess the thing is before I realised what was going on I was sort of relishing in it, it becomes such an integral part of my character and I was like well I right these sad songs and it helps me creatively and then it gets to the point where like ‘No!! Fuck that!’, this is no way to live and these songs definitely came from a point where I probably started writing in earnest at the end of the Frightened Rabbit tour cycle and when you’re cast back into normal life and you have to try to find a way to fit in again and it’s a really difficult place to be, so a lot of this album is about questioning where about I’m supposed to be? What’s the fucking point? How do I reshape myself as an adult after this fairly careful and catered for existence? That’s what a lot of this record refers to, that kind dumped back down to earth, yeah I’ve got to sort my shit out now.

What can we expect on setlists? All Mastersystem material or will other songs creep in?

Last night was the first show on the tour and everyone seemed pretty psyched about it. We just played the album from start to finish then fucked off (laughs). To me, I think if we’d stuck in a couple of Frightened Rabbit tunes in would sort of devalue the whole process. We also played with different setlist orders but it works better how we put it together for the album. I’ve also got to put in a bit more chat in-between songs so that people don’t feel like they’re only just getting into it and then it’s over. Last night we managed about 50 minutes which is pretty good going for a 35-minute album!

It’s exciting it’s completely a different experience for all of us, just thrash out this album, no encores when were done were done and then have a chat with people afterwards. I’d never played this venue before a couple of months ago but I’m back twice in two months is pretty great, I love it here!

Is this a one-off or will there be more to come from Mastersystem?

That’s all up in the air, I mean we put out this record because it was quick and all the release schedule was sort of a surprise, we wanted to keep it under wraps until it was almost out. So we’re kind of seeing if there’s any appetite for it elsewhere in the world, maybe there could be a US tour or something like that and yeah if people want to see us again later in the year then we could do that, but at the moment there are no plans. We’ve all got day jobs to be getting on with as well so we don’t want to impinge too much on that.

But hopefully not the last (of Mastersystem), knowing James and Justin they could have another bunch of tracks ready by the end of the year we could  just stick to the same set of rules it’s just fucking guitar music lets not add any bells ‘n’ whistles and we could put it together really quickly so yeah, I don’t think it’ll be the last you’ll hear of us and hopefully not the last album either!

Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle
CODE ORANGE | 18.04.18 | Newcastle Cluny

CODE ORANGE | 18.04.18 | Newcastle Cluny

Code Orange – 18th April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – Review and photos

Code Orange – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Well, what can I say?! When I first heard word of this show it seemed like a mistake! Surely they’d be playing a bigger venue? Not that I am complaining, a chance to see these guys up close in a small venue is one I’m not willing to miss! Last time I saw them they were tearing up the Academy stage opening for Gojira. The compact venue seems to intensify the energy in the room and funnel it straight into your face.

Even before a single chord was played the young kids in the pit were crowd killing, windmilling and generally being nobs to each other. Hey ho! I love this shit! The lights are dimmed, red and moody as is standard for Code Orange. Which makes for tough shooting conditions, that coupled with kids flying all over the place made it… erm a challenge, a really bloody fun challenge! I was in my element. I escaped the pit with myself and my camera gear intact! Surprisingly more keepers than I thought, it was literally a case of wave the camera in the air and hope!

Code Orange – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Guitarist Dominic Landolina climbs up the small lighting rigging then proceeds to dangle from the PA system above my head. Yeah, I’m gonna die soon I thought! Whislt bass guitarist Joe Golman stalks the Cluny stage screaming at the crowd and encouraging more chaos. I am witnessing something powerful and liberating. I’m not old enough to have seen the Black Flag Rollins days, but I imagine this is as close as I can get to those kinds of intense performance and environment.

Code Orange – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Reba Meyers brings the closest thing to respite with her anthemic song Bleeding in the Blur. A crowd-pleasing huge song, proving the musical diversity and dexterity. Their energetic intense performances do not distract from the strength of the music but elevate them to another level. They are a remarkable band, words can’t explain the tension, aggression, they pummel you with this sound like a short sharp nuclear blast to the senses. Code Orange are one of the best live bands on the planet and they’re out to make sure you won’t ever forget that experience. Brutal. Brilliant. Sold out show from a band at the top of their game.

Employed to Serve also opened for them. Head here to see and read our reaction. This will make my top 10 gigs of the year, I’m 100% confident of that.

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EMPLOYED TO SERVE | 18.04.18 | The Cluny

EMPLOYED TO SERVE | 18.04.18 | The Cluny

Employed To Serve – 18th April 2018 –  Newcastle Cluny – Review and photos

This is the first I’ve come across this band. While doing some research before the show it looks like they’ve been building up quite a reputation for solid releases and amazing live performances. Opening for Code Orange and signed to Holy Roar Records, so they must be canny decent!!!

Employed to Serve – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

I hate to use comparisons, but I’m sure any band in this genre would be happy to be compared to these… Take hints of Will Haven, Gojira and Rolo Tomassi add a solid groove and you’ll find you have something rather fucking awesome! I was sold from the get-go.

I left the gig kicking myself that I didn’t bring enough cash to buy the albums. Rest assured I ordered them as soon as I got home! I am currently obsessed with this track.

Lead singer Justine Jones looks like butter wouldn’t melt during soundcheck, where she super politely asks for a ‘little bit more vocal please’. Her brutal, abrasive yet melodic, vocal style is truly stunning. The kids in tonight are tearing chunks out of each other in the mosh pit.

Employed to Serve – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny

Truly one of the best bands I’ve seen in a while. This band are on to something special.

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HOT SNAKES – January 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

HOT SNAKES – January 2018 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

Hot Snakes –  27th January 2018 – The Cluny Newcastle

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Apologies for the grainy photos in this one but Speedo and his cohorts don’t need any fancy lights to raise the roof when they play!!! And what a gig. Just pure simple garage rock ‘n’ roll, sweaty loud as fuck and above all bloody good fun!!!

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THE GORIES – July 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

THE GORIES – July 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

The Gories
July 2017 – Cluny Newcastle

I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to see this lot, at least not in Newcastle. The Dirtbombs were the first band I ever saw at the Cluny donkey’s years ago and pre-gentrification of the Ouseburn back when it had the lovely scummy charm.

The Gories - Cluny Newcastle UK - July 2017
The Gories – Cluny Newcastle UK – July 2017

I think my ears are still ruined from that evening. Utterly worth it to see Mick Collins and co in action. Here he returns with his other band, they paved the way for a lot of the acts in the Detroit scene, so it’s a privilege to have them in our hometown!

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The Approved – July 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

The Approved – July 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

The Approved – July 2017 – Cluny Newcastle

I’ve not seen this duo in a few years. I recall really enjoying them at the Riverside opening for The Sonics (if I remember correctly). So I made sure to get down early and catch their set. *Correction that band was actually Green Fuzz

The Approved - Cluny Newcastle - July 2017
The Approved – Cluny Newcastle – July 2017

This time they’d scored another awesome opening slot for Detroit legends The Gories. They didn’t disappoint!

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MELT BANANA – June 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

MELT BANANA – June 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

Melt Banana 9th June 2017 – Cluny Newcastle

Back after 3 years and the lights were amazing this time around. Great fun to photo as I was battered in the moshpit. Great band and a bloody great night!

Melt Banana - June 2017 - Newcastle UK
Melt Banana – June 2017 – Newcastle UK

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Lovely Wife – June 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

Lovely Wife – June 2017 – Newcastle Cluny – PHOTO FEATURE

Lovely Wife – June 2017 – Cluny Newcastle

Been following these lot for a while and kept failing to catch them live opening for none-other than Melt Banana! Finally got to see them and they didn’t disappoint!

Lovely Wife - June 2017 Cluny
Lovely Wife – June 2017 Cluny

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