Clean Cut Kid | Tom Speight – 31st March 2019 – Newcastle Cluny
Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
It’s always quite tough being the support act as you never know who will turn up for your set and if they will like you, as many if not all would have bought a ticket to see the headline act. On this night Tom Speight would open for Clean Cut Kid.
Tom and accompanying musician Lydia Clowes gave us a stunning set, but on the mention that he was going to be on Radio 2 soon, there was almost a flat response but then a mention of Glastonbury quickly followed and the reaction was the complete opposite. With that we definitely knew what type of crowd we were dealing with and as the set grew so did the audience that he won over especially with the Phil Collins cover ‘In The Air Tonight,’ with Lydia giving the drum part a good going. We had a bit of crowd participation with phone lights and the duo coming into crowd for a song titled Joni and a special guest appearance from frontman of the headliners, Mike Halls, giving some impressive backing vocals along with Lydia. The crowd were not prepared for that and it was a bold move that when he ended his set a lot were genuinely quite sad.
Ironically, or maybe not, Clean Cut Kid open with the song Goodbye from their latest album, Painwave and if that is how you say goodbye I think we need more of it – an upbeat melody with sad lyrics actually works especially in the Clean Cut Kid way.
As with any headliner, the floor space immediately fills up closer to show time and the hardcore fans were already in place with Clean Cut Kid over their chests for all to see (in T-shirt form) and with a big booming ‘hello Newcastle’ from Evelyn the vibe was set. Evelyn tells us that she is originally from down the road which gets a huge cheer. The new songs went down well and those that knew the words were mouthing them with such passion as they bounced around while others were literally smiling throughout in awe of the energy. As a photographer I was actually lost as to where to point the camera, as I wanted to make sure I caught this energy in a still frame. Hope I’ve caught this for you.
Mike does most of the talking throughout the night and has us laughing even through the sad moments of when he describes, ‘Hayden, Give Love’ and ‘Jason.’ Clean Cut Kid actually say that the new album is, “reaching out to the listener and saying “ok let’s talk about these things we’re not meant to say out loud,” and what better way to ‘talk’ than through the power of music. And with the power of music, there’s actually a dedication to new bassist Gaz who fell out with Mike for a good few years. The crowd laugh but we are told it is a true story as we go into the mellow ‘Brother Of Mine.’ I can’t help but stress how many people were smiling but if you really heard the lyrics, WOW! And tonight reflecting on it that is how ‘Red Green Black’ came to me especially the lyric, “but then the colours went away like the memories fading fast.” Hearing it on record is one thing then hearing it live with the people that wrote it takes it to another level.
Before the night ends we get a storming trio from their debut album kicking off with title track ‘Felt’ then ‘Pick Me Up’ before the mini encore that gives us, as the kids say ‘a serious bop’ with ‘Vitamin C’ and the ‘kids’ have the whole room jumping with not only the infectious guitar hook but the song as a whole. But the ultimate ending of the night comes with, ‘Emily,’ and I mean that in the sense it is such an anthemic tune. The crowd singing, “there’s a hole in your heart,” is a special moment as I round off my March gigs with a song that ‘takes depression completely for what it is, and doesn’t try to make it seem less important than it is, but discusses it in such a raw and pure manner,’ as Mike has described it previously. I did not want to be seeing Clean Cut Kid this night. I wasn’t ready to have these danceable tracks come to me with their deep lyrical meanings as March 2019 was a month I really wanted to give up a lot of things but music and the added bonus of live music with my camera kept something positive ticking away inside me. This night Clean Cut Kid made me have a night out in my happy place and quoting Mike on the night he says “it’s like playing in your living room,” as they were so chilled and I like many was chilling and bopping our cares away.
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