ARAN GLOVER TRIBUTE (Richard Mcmahon, Waheela, Dunes and Dragnet) | 12.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny

ARAN GLOVER TRIBUTE (Richard Mcmahon, Waheela, Dunes and Dragnet) | 12.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny

Aran Glover Tribute – 12th January 2019 – Richard Mcmahon, Waheela, Dunes and Dragnet

Aran Glover Tribute 2019

It’s now a few months since Aran left us and it’s still not sunk in. Friends of Aran decided to pay tribute to the man the best possible way; a loud gig! There was an incredible turnout, so many familiar faces and I’m told that the evening raised over £1300.

We Are Knuckle Dragger - ArcTanGent Festival - Bristol
We Are Knuckle Dragger – ArcTanGent Festival – Bristol

The night was in support of a great cause – If U Care Share Foundation. Which is cause very close to my heart. I’ve battled inner demons for most of my adult life, only in the last twelve months have shed my shame that the illness brings and I now talk openly about it. Talking has helped me a lot, I nearly lost the fight and I’m very lucky to still be here.

I’m also lucky to have met some incredible people in my time as a gig photographer, particularly at the time of regular Knuckle Dragger gigs; 2013-2014. There was such a rich amount of diverse talent in the region at that time and Aran regularly supported and hosted local bands and introduced me to quite a lot of amazing acts.

wakd – Oct 2013

The Drone album launch (above) remains one of my favourite gigs of all time and that album is still in regular rotation, an absolute beast of a record, I bloody adore it. Their achievements aren’t anything to scoff at, it’s mind-boggling to think that a little 3 piece band from Newcastle have recorded with the likes of Ross Robinson and Steve Albini.

I had some great times with Aran, I think we bonded over our love of heavy music and our fondness for the alcohol. I was lucky enough to go on the road with WAKD mk II, braving rainstorms, broken tents, awol drummers, exploding amps and killer hangovers at Arctangent Festival in 2014.

I always hoped WAKD would return, they were magic. In summer of 2014, I did an unreleased photoshoot of the new lineup (in drag too!) as we waited for the other band members to arrive Aran played me some demos on his old school mobile phone. The sound quality of the phone was terrible but the songs were anything but! Arctangent clearly had an influence on him and he was writing some amazing math-rock/ASIWYFA style songs.

Aran always had a hug and a smile when you bumped into him. You could talk to him about anything, he was one of the good guys. I’m heartbroken that he’s gone but eternally grateful for having known him. A wee legend. I miss him greatly.

We Are Knuckle Dragger
We Are Knuckle Dragger

I promised myself I’d just go to the gig and watch the bands, but last minute decided I’d take my camera for old times sake. There was a richly diverse set of acts, some touching acoustic songs from Richard Mcmahon. Having not seen them in years last time. I’d forgotten just how potent Waheela are as a live act, they are one of the Northeasts best-kept secrets. Our beloved Dunes (all decked out in WAKD t-shirts) brought the riffs with a fast stomping set. Finally, we had Dragnet back from a 6-year gap and they were incredible.

Here’s a handful of photos from a bloody brilliant night. Huge credit to the bands and organisers. I’m sure he’d be proud of you all 🙂

PHOTO GALLERY

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THE TWILIGHT SAD | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | ALBUM REACTION

THE TWILIGHT SAD | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | ALBUM REACTION

The Twilight Sad | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | Album reaction

Review and photos by: Graeme J. Baty

 

‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ has been a long time coming and marks The Twilight Sad’s first album since 2014. That’s quite a remarkable thought, how time flies?! That album became an instant classic, they set themselves a high benchmark. Although it’s taken a long time to release a follow-up, they’ve certainly not been slacking, endless touring and notable side projects have kept them busy. They’ve emerged as one of Scotland’s most revered and respected bands. It’s been a pleasure to watch them rise in recent years. 2019 sees them make another gigantic step towards the big time.

Their fifth album brings some changes; new personnel, record label and a maturing of their sound. It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is a fearless leap into the unknown, yet it retains the key characteristics that we love. Much like labelmates Mogwai, TTS seem unable to release a duff record, constantly innovating and ensuring their lasting legacy as one of Scotland’s best bands.

The big question is… does it live up to their previous efforts?

Today I picked up my very own indies only blue edition from the canny folk at Reflex in Newcastle. I’ve tried to resist the temptation to obtain review copies and or to listen to the streamed songs before the release. It’s been a long long time since I’ve been excited about a record and I wanted to make a bit of effort for it.

Although I’ve been lucky enough to have heard some of the songs live. Here I go for the first proper play and I’ll give my reaction track by track! This won’t be a very insightful deep probe into the record, just an honest reaction to the songs as I play them.

Side A

[10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs]

This is weird, slow and droney, the vocals start. Wait a minute! It’s 45 RPM, wow! I pick up the needle and hit the 45rpm toggle. Instantly impressed, as they kickoff the record with graceful but rousing song. A Krautrock loop sounds delightful as James sings “We’re hanging on by a thread”, I’m on the edge of my seat taking this in. It ends on “Why can’t you remember me?” as feedback bubbles underneath and I’m pretty stunned. This is classic Twilight Sad and an incredible opener.

The 45 RPM speed is a nice touch! Hard to compare it to a 33 1/3 record, as I don’t have one! However, the sound quality on the pressing is immaculate, so I can assume it’s a positive.

Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting

What a title! This one I distinctly remember from the Brudenell show. The bassline grabs you, a real Docherty stomper, leaving me with a sore neck! The record version doesn’t disappoint, surely an album highlight. Vocally it conjures very violent imagery. I need to come back to this song and play it some more.

The Arbor

The third song; The Arbor channels eighties guitar arpeggios with a sickly sweet chorus effect. I remember this was another Brudenell highlight. Sorry, I can sense this playback bringing recalling many fond memories, it was my favourite gig of 2018 after all! Back to the music, this is probably the softest tone to a TTS song to date. Touring relentlessly with The Cure would influence any band and the characteristics have made their way into the soul of the new material by way of osmosis. Although they’ve always been fans of The Cure, perhaps now it’s more noticeable. The synths take centre stage, mixed higher and more prominent on the record, more so than even on NOCEK, albeit with a less gothic/industrial twist and a more unapologetic 80s sound. This record is Brendan Smith’s time to shine.

Side B

VTr

Instantly recognisable! Easily a setlist highlight from the gigs I’ve seen in 2018. The track finds them knocking up the power with some absolutely incredible percussion. Bringing a level of speed (note: that’s speed coupled with precision) that was not present on previous records. The precision and velocity driving the track. Gone are the slow and steady beats. The percussion really shines on the record so far.

“There’s no Love Too Small” VTr is an anthemic stadium-filling masterpiece and I bloody love it!

Sunday Day13

This is the first real breather on the album. A slow number, more traditional TTS type ‘death ballad’ for want of a better term. It brings disc 1 to a close, it wouldn’t feel out of place on Forget The Night Ahead. I really like this one.

Side C

I/m Not Here [missing face]

The smash hit I’m Not Here. Damn, I played this on loop when it came out. Goosebumps still come over me in a wave when I heard the drone of the guitar during the opening. Another broken relationship singalong anthem.  James sings quite openly, I can’t help but wonder who this song is about, but I also like the fact that it can be translated to your own experiences, so maybe I’m happy not knowing. Another classic.

Auge/Maschine

This is not letting up, here comes another stormer. Andy’s guitar riff is a thing of pure beauty, great tone! It takes the song to the next level.

This one will need a few more plays just for sheer indulgence, but I’ll continue and come back to this! Ending on Andy’s trademark feedback, the hairs on my neck stand up. Definitely a song for us guitar nerds.

Keep It All To Me

The third side is coming to a close and the album seems to be settling into a groove with a bitter synth led track.

Side D

Girl Chewing Gum

Yes! Andy is back! Andy’s guitar playing was the key thing I remember from the first time I saw TTS, this is a flashback to those face melting Marshall stack bludgeons.

“Put me in the ground!” James cries. I think I have a new favourite TTS song!

Let/s Get Lost

Ooooh an 80s power ballad? I’m not sure where this one is going judging by the opening bars. By the time James comes in for the verse and power ballad expectations are dispelled “I’m losing, losing you every day”. As the song finds its feet and power.

Again the percussion is incredible, it’s definitely a drummers record.

Videograms

This is the one song I wasn’t sure about when I first heard it, going against popular opinion. Reception has been really warm. I recall people singing along to it word for word at the Leeds Academy gig with Mogwai. I’m still not 100% sold on it, sorry! It does, however, make much more sense (soundwise) in context to the record. It was perhaps a bit too The Cure by numbers for me. I’m not the biggest Cure fan in all honesty, my tastes tend to lean towards heavier sounds. There’s a lack of the ‘wall of sound’ guitar noise that I adore so much (although there is a taster of it low in the mix and at the end), so I think that’s where my prejudice comes in. The thing is, I refuse to judge TTS albums or songs on one listen, they just don’t work like that. So I left this one on the back burner and I am now I’m warming to it. I think the main reason I adore TTS is the songs and the dense layers. There’s so much going on, you have to comeback for repeated listens. They reward the patient listener, the more you listen the more you love the music.

Summary

Eleven songs in 47 minutes, over four sides, it’s over a bit too fast after such a long wait, but I’ll be going back for a second helping in a bit. It’s a rich album of diverse sounds and perfectly compliments their incredible back catalogue, as always they are fearless when it comes to pushing their sound and I think it’s paid off. There are songs on here to keep everyone happy.

I must comment on the impressive package, I’m actually now debating buying the normal black vinyl edition to compliment it. This indies only version features a lovely pale blue colour swap to the pink/red colour tone of the standard version. A nice touch! Double gatefold with some heavy uppercase typeset lyric sheets on the inner cover, perfect for dissecting James Graham’s fascinating lyrics. This is is what to expect when you sign to Rock Action, they make immaculate releases, crafted for the music lover and collector. They’ve done a sterling job on this!

This record must have some of the most accessible and instantly impressive songs in their history. That’s not to say they aren’t as densely layered or are easier on the ears, just through hard work and relentless touring TTS are at their unequivocal finest, they’ve masterfully evolved their sound with each record, fine-tuning and delivering constantly. There’s a linear progress that can be traced all the way back to their early recordings and this record feels like a culmination of that work.

The secret is out now. The time is right for world domination.

It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is out today (18th Jan 2019) on Rock Action Records

FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS | Fast talks about 2019 plans | INTERVIEW

FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS | Fast talks about 2019 plans | INTERVIEW

Fun Loving Criminals – Interview

Fast from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals talks to us about their upcoming UK tour and new album!

You are back with a new release ‘Another Mimosa’. Can you tell us about it, the concept behind the release and what kind of sound/genres to expect?

We were in Gibson studios in London working on new material. The music was coming together nicely but we were lacking lyrical inspiration so we talked about doing another album similar to Mimosa. We each chose 3 songs we’d like to cover that summed up the sounds that influenced us with FLC.

Where and when was Another Mimosa recorded?

We recorded the album at various studios in the UK over the past 3 years when we could all get together. We mixed the album in May in NYC with our longtime engineer/4th member of FLC, Tim Latham ISP.

What’s your favourite track from Another Mimosa?

My personal favourites are Daylight and Warning.

Where are you based these days? Do you find the location you record to have an effect on the material?

We all live in the UK. I think where we live definitely affects how we are inspired when writing lyrics for our songs. Musically we are influenced by all the music we have been into since we were young, mostly older music from the 60’s through the 80’s.

Fun Lovin' Criminals - Newcastle Academy 2016 - Fast
Fun Lovin’ Criminals – NEwcastle Academy 2016

You tour the UK pretty regularly. Would you say you have a bigger following here or back in the States?

The UK has always been so supportive of FLC and for that, we are grateful and blessed. I regret that we don’t tour more in North America where we still have many fans who want to see us live. Unfortunately, it costs so much for us to tour it is not feasible to do so outside of Europe.

How would you describe the FLC live experience? Feel good party band springs to mind for me, I always find I walk away from the shows with a huge smile, grinning ear to ear!

We feel the same. We are very lucky to be able to tour different places and perform our music. We always try to make the most of it and have a party with the peoples. Laughter is the best medicine. We rarely take ourselves too seriously.

Every time the FLC rolls into town I’m reminded of just how good the material is and how long it’s been a part of my life, it feels like 5 minutes ago when the debut Come Find Yourself came out. What’s your highlight of the long career and what’s the secret to longevity?

Thank you. CFY came out at the right time, saving us in the process. If we are inspired to write original music we will do so. We are older now and have different priorities in our lives.  I think the highlight is that we still enjoy performing live. Part of the secret is not caving in to the excesses that many bands fall into, like drug abuse!

It’s been nearly 9 years since your last proper originals album Classic Fantastic, any plans to record a follow-up?

Again, it all depends on finding lyrical inspiration. Musically, I have written so many tunes that could be great FLC songs, enough for a triple album!

Catch the FLC and their party at the Northumbria Institute on the 1st Feb 2019. Another Mimosa is today (18th Jan 2019!) check it out here

STEVE STRONG | Turbo Island | ALBUM REVIEW

STEVE STRONG | Turbo Island | ALBUM REVIEW

Steve Strong | Turbo Island | Album review

Review by: Graeme J. Baty

Steve-Strong Turbo-Island

Let’s get 2019 off to a Strong start, sorry had to! Joking aside the new feature-length album from Steve Strong is anything but weak. A tour de force of musical prowess and creativity. Highly accomplished, multi-instrumentalist Steve Strong releases his new album Turbo Island.

This might be the first review I’ve done based purely on reputation, I must admit I’ve not heard his music before. Hearing nothing but praise for his live performances and his record labels past history, I instantly said yes! For those (like me) who are unfamiliar; Steve is a one-man band, and although in Steve’s case that term is possibly a red herring. The term conjures images of a stereotypical gnarly bearded guitar and kickdrum situation, which is understating plethora of equipment Steve Strong nestles behind during his live performances.

Ten tracks of sublime mellow instrumental goodness. Lovely clean guitar tones reminiscent of Toe (the Japanese band) lend themselves to some nice early morning chill vibes. It’s been my morning commuting soundtrack, a delightful air of calm emanating from my iPod, while the world rushes around me.

I absolutely adore the song titles, Deline Cion, Life After Post Rock and Sensible Skeletons all bring a smile to this curmudgeons face. Intro track Gravel Gardner also amuses and proves to be a highlight of the album with some very accomplished percussion.

From the start, I’m fully engrossed. I’ve had the record on repeat for an most of the week. 2019 is shaping up to have some rather special records, Teeth of the Sea record actually fits quite nicely side by side and there’s certainly a cross over for audiences there.

Full credit to his creative process, the songs sound like full band compositions. The amount of coordination and dexterity to perform these pieces as a solo act is nothing short of miraculous. This is his second full-length album and is certainly his strongest release to date. Turbo Island is an album of overwhelming compositions and creativity. A math-rock masterpiece.

Out tomorrow (18th Jan 2019) on Durham based Sapien Records, home to many diverse and talented acts including our much loved We Are Knuckle Dragger and Shitwife (aka Big Lad). Out! Head over to his Bandcamp page for some rather awesome looking records

TEETH OF THE SEA | Wraith | ALBUM REVIEW

TEETH OF THE SEA | Wraith | ALBUM REVIEW

Teeth of the Sea | Wraith | Album review

Review by: Graeme J Baty

Teeth of the Sea | Wraith

A new Teeth of the Sea album is a tantalising prospect under normal circumstances. This time around they’re pushing their creativity and refusing to be stuck in any pigeonholes with new album ‘Wraith’. Wraith is the follow up to 2015’s Highly Deadly Black Tarantula album, which in itself is a high benchmark, I was curious to find out if they could match that masterpiece or if they’d branch out on a tangent.

Wraith finds Teeth of the Sea exploring brass instrumentation, as briefly flirted with on their previous recordings. This time as a core part of the sound and the compositions are quite remarkable. The muted trumpet on lead track Hiraeth sounds both sleazy and gorgeous, reminiscent of early Tom Waits records. As a result, they manage to sound like a filthy 65daysofstatic. The brass accompanies and often leads the songs, it’s brilliantly done.

Visitor is a densely layered song, building over 8 minutes and sounds reminiscent of their previous record. Track 8 the delightfully titled; ‘Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World’ has this lovely John Carpenter-esque keyboard motif which loops soothingly to a climax and is for me an album highlight. Gladiators Ready, which brings the album to a close is an unexpected oddball Josh Wink party piece. Just when you’re expecting a quiet winddown to the record they hit you with a sucker punch!

Nine songs in 47 minutes. It’s an album of restless talent and creativity. It expands their sound and complements their back catalogue. A delightful album with electronic and industrial aspects it conjures visions of a colossal soundscape, feeling like a soundtrack to an imaginary dystopian movie. Wraith proves a great step forward for the talented trio. It may prove a step too far for some fans of their earlier work, but that’s their loss.

Wraith is out on 22nd February 2019 on Rocket Records. If (like me) you’re a sucker for a nice physical release they have some stunning colour vinyl versions available via their Bandcamp page! Featuring some equally delightful photography/artwork.

Teeth of the Sea | Wraith

CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER | The Tribe and Black Axis Reissues | ALBUM REVIEWS

CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER | The Tribe and Black Axis Reissues | ALBUM REVIEWS

Caspar Brötzmann Massaker – The Tribe and Black Axis (2019 re-issues)

Review by: Graeme J Baty

I make an effort to check out everything that comes in, I love hearing new music, even if it’s stuff that I probably won’t like. On some occasions, something comes in and I’m left wondering why the hell have I not heard this before? Those moments are golden! The first two albums by Caspar Brötzmann Massaker arrived and that golden moment happened. This immediately stood out and sounded fantastic to my ears. A few days later I’ve had the albums on repeat for some time.

Southern Lord Recordings are adding to their hugely impressive catalogue with reissues of the first album; The Tribe 1987 and second album Black Axis 1989. Southern Lord seem incapable of releasing a duff record. So I decided to give this a shot. Certainly ahead of their time in the 80s, perhaps the time is finally right for CBM to find a wider audience.

Title track The Tribe brings with it Birthday Party/Grinderman type vibes and some admirably outrageous riffs. Grinderman style noise meets a more restrained and focused Sonic Youth SYR noise. There’s real live performance sound to the mix, played at the appropriate volume it sounds like you’re in the room with the band.

The guitar sound sits quite high up in the mix, eclipsing the vocals. Instrumental but never minimal, the guitar takes the lead role. It shouldn’t work but it does and it does really well on Blechton. Caspar’s vocals channel sounds not to dissimilar to John Cale in tone, delivering simple vocal lines perfectly executed to accompany the music, yet not overshadow it.

Primal chants of Massaker juxtapose the seemingly untamed guitar wail. Clocking in at over 9 minutes, it takes a primitive Krautrock like rhythm and pummels you with it for the entire duration. Unlike the standard Krautrock, it doesn’t subdue or bore you with endless repetition, I find myself on the edge of my seat for the entire song enthralled in the noise. Quite an exciting journey.

Black Axis sees the band move into more avant-garde direction. Songs elongate into Swans like compositions clocking in at up to 16 minutes. Hunter sounds like the sonic equivalent of an anxiety attack with its finger tapping drilling into your skull.

The albums are enthralling and sometimes challenging. The Tribe acts as the perfect soft landing introduction to the music of Caspar. The avant-garde approach ramping up for the follow-up album Black Axis which is a trend that continues into following work. Two remarkable albums from a band that deserve much greater recognition than they have experienced.

The reissues are out now on Southern Lord Recordings.

GJB 2018 music roundup – FEATURE

GJB 2018 music roundup – FEATURE

GJB selects his music and photo highlights of 2018

This year has been incredibly difficult to make my choices, despite my huge decrease in shows I’ve attended. Poor health has restricted me, that said it has also made me appreciate the gigs I can get to all the more.

I’ve had my incredible team to support and encourage me. They’ve churned out some simply stunning photos this year and we’re aiming to do more of the same in 2019. They’ve kept me busy and made me very proud.

We’ve also lost so many amazing people this year. It’s not been an easy one. My first gig of 2019 will be the tribute to my pal Aran at the Cluny on 12th January in support of a great cause www.ifucareshare.co.uk.

A musical hero and a lovely bloke. Miss you matey.

We Are Knuckle Dragger - Aran Glover
We Are Knuckle Dragger – Oct 2013

Top 10 photos

Melvins - 26th October 2018 - Leeds Stylus
Melvins – 26th October 2018 – Leeds Stylus
Sepultura - March 2018 - Glasgow
Sepultura – March 2018 – Glasgow
Mogwai - Northumbria Institute - February 2018
Mogwai – Northumbria Institute – February 2018
Superchunk – 27th May 2018 – Stereo Glasgow
Superchunk – 27th May 2018 – Stereo Glasgow
The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy
The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy
Killing Joke - 4th Nov 2018 - Newcastle Northumbria Institute
Killing Joke – 4th Nov 2018 – Newcastle Northumbria Institute
IDLES - 23rd October 2018 - Newcastle Riverside
IDLES – 23rd October 2018 – Newcastle Riverside
Russian Circles - May 2018 - Leeds Stylus
Russian Circles – May 2018 – Leeds Stylus
Oh Sees (Thee Oh Sees) - 12th July 2018 - Boiler Shop Newcastle
Oh Sees (Thee Oh Sees) – 12th July 2018 – Boiler Shop Newcastle
British Sea Power - Glasgow Garage - Feb 2018
British Sea Power – Glasgow Garage – Feb 2018

Top 10 gigs

I’ve been open about my mental health battle this year and came close to losing that fight, music has truly saved me and looking back there are some really special shows that I’ll cherish for the rest of my days.

The Twilight Sad - 16th June 2018 - Leeds Brudenell
The Twilight Sad – 16th June 2018 – Leeds Brudenell
  • The Twilight Sad – June 2018 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club. Emotionally supercharged one-off UK summer show in a great venue. This one made me cry. Beautiful and cathartic. They are thee best live band in Britain, untouchable. There’s no love too small <3
Mastersystem - April 2018 - Cluny Newcastle
Mastersystem – April 2018 – Cluny Newcastle
  • Mastersystem – April 2018 – The Cluny. This one was a welcome surprise, both the album and the UK tour. I was really struggling with my mental health at this point and nearly didn’t go due to a panic attack. Speaking to Scott before the gig he made me laugh with his great sense of humour, he filled me with enthusiasm which gave me confidence that to go to the show and have a great time. I did just that and it was amazing. They played the whole album track by track, the band were visibly having a great time playing these songs. I’m eternally grateful I got to see these live. 
Mogwai - Northumbria Institute - February 2018
Mogwai – Northumbria Institute – February 2018
  • Mogwai – Feb 2018 – Northumbria Uni. My heroes in my hometown. I’ve seen them a few times this year but that was truly special. Great setlist and stunning sounds and lights. Just perfect. 
British Sea Power - Glasgow Garage - Feb 2018 - bears
British Sea Power – Glasgow Garage – Feb 2018
  • British Sea Power – Feb 2018 – Glasgow Garage. This gig gave me hope in a very dark period of my life. I smiled I danced and I discovered that I can be happy again. Music is amazing! BSP should be available on the NHS. Just lovely!
Superchunk – 27th May 2018 – Stereo Glasgow
Superchunk – 27th May 2018 – Stereo Glasgow
  • Superchunk – May 2018 – Glasgow Stereo. A bucketlist band for many years but I’ve never had the chance to see them. They came back in 2018 with a great new album. I took a trip to Glasgow to catch them in a lovely little venue. So much energy on that stage and a lot of love in the crowd with the audience singing along word for word. I REALLY loved this gig!
Mono - 4th October 2018 - Newcastle Cluny
Mono – 4th October 2018 – Newcastle Cluny
  • Mono – Oct 2018 – The Cluny. The Loudest show of the year without a doubt, also a remarkable gig and yet another band I didn’t think would play little Newcastle.
Melvins - 26th October 2018 - Leeds Stylus
Melvins – 26th October 2018 – Leeds Stylus
  • Melvins – 26th Oct 2018 – Leeds Stylus. Another incredibly loud bucketlist band. Riff fucking city! Dual basses and one of the greatest frontmen on the planet. 
Chelsea Wolfe - 18th July 2018 - Glasgow SWG3
Chelsea Wolfe – 18th July 2018 – Glasgow SWG3
  • Chelsea Wolfe – July 2018 – Glasgow SWG3. On tour with Ministry (who were also great) the sheer power of the songs performed live left a lasting impression.
Russian Circles - May 2018 - Leeds Stylus
Russian Circles – May 2018 – Leeds Stylus
  • Russian Circles – May 2018 – Leeds Stylus. The masters. Nothing more I can add. Just brilliant!
Code Orange - April 2018 - Newcastle Cluny
Code Orange – April 2018 – Newcastle Cluny
  • Code Orange/Employed to Serve – April 2018 – The Cluny. ETS are easily the best thing to happen to British Metal in recent years, that coupled with the riot that is Code Orange made for a scary and awesome night.

Top 10 albums

I must admit I haven’t really listened to much new music this year, just old ones. Perhaps that’ll be my new year resolution for 2019. So this list isn’t very researched, more a list of albums I’ve bought this year!

  • Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
  • Mastersystem – Dance Music
  • Will Haven – Muerte
  • Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
  • Jeff Tweedy – Warm
  • Mogwai – Kin
  • Jon Spencer – Spencer Sings The Hits
  • Superchunk – What a Time to Be Alive
  • Rat the Magnificent – The Body As Pleasure
  • Soulfly – Rituals

Most seen band

Mogwai of course

Mogwai – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre, Edinburgh
Mogwai – 22nd August 2018 – Leith Theatre, Edinburgh

Best new northeast band

Ten Eighty Trees. Mark my words! This lot are mint! Go see them and find out why.

Ten Eighty Trees - 17th Nov 2018 - Newcastle Think Tank
Ten Eighty Trees – 17th Nov 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

Band to watch out for

Loathe. Devastatingly brilliant live, make sure you catch them in smaller venues while you can!

Loathe - 13th Sept 2018 - Newcastle Think Tank
Loathe – 13th Sept 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank
MOGWAI | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MOGWAI | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mogwai – 24th November 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Mogwai announced their final UK tour for 2018 and it came as a bit of a welcome surprise. This marks my third time seeing them this year, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them over the years. That said, I still find myself getting incredibly excited when they tour. This one was extra special and unmissable due to the fact that my other favourite band The Twilight Sad are opening. That’s all the persuasion I needed, I grabbed some tickets on the presale and promised myself I’d just go as a punter and watch the band. As the show grew nearer I flip-flopped and decided I need to photo this show! There’s something hugely rewarding about photoing a band you’ve adored for years, it’s a buzz that I haven’t found elsewhere in life.

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Since there was no Newcastle spot on the tour I decided to go for the 200-mile round trip to Leeds. I’m pleased to say it was worth it, the band are in remarkable form at the moment, recent soundtrack album Kin has proven a welcome addition to my record collection and they played one track from it tonight, the pop-rock gem of an earworm We’re Not Done is positively the catchiest thing they’ve ever released. I’ve had it in my head for about four days now! They follow that with the fantastic Party in the Dark, another hugely catchy song.

Don’t Believe the Fife is quickly becoming an all-time fave for me and it’s been pretty consistent in setlists since the beginning of the Every Country’s Sun tour. It lulls you into a steady mellow pace then right hooks you with a huge wall of guitar at the crescendo. Perfection.

Setlist;

  • Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home
  • Friend of the Night
  • We’re Not Done
  • Party in the Dark
  • Old Poisons
  • Crossing the Road Material
  • Rano Pano
  • Don’t Believe the Fife
  • Auto Rock
  • Remurdered
  • Every Country’s Sun
  • Like Herod
  • Helicon Pt1
  • We’re No Here

One of the things I absolutely love about seeing Mogwai is the setlist surprises. Yes, there’s the standard songs that you expect to hear such as Remurdered but there’s an air of excitement with not knowing what treats you’ll get. So many classics from their back catalogue, it rewards the megafans who go to all the gigs.

Like Herod raises the hairs on the back of my neck as that bass line begins. Strobe lights pummel my senses, coupled with the sheer volume it’s an overwhelming experience, I close my eyes and with the strobes, I can see lights dancing on my eyelids, that’s a fantastic sensation. I really wish more bands would embrace lighting as part of the show experience, not too much mind, Mogwai have the balance about right. Light and sound, dark and bright, quiet and loud.

Mogwai – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

We’re No Here ends the night to great cheers from the crowd. Mogwai masterclass of no-nonsense performance, just letting the music speak for itself. This is the third time I’ve seen them this year and to be honest I wish I’d done more. I did head into this gig wondering if I’d be able to write anything, what more can say? Remarkable band. I head off back to Newcastle not content with that dosage I blast Mogwai all the way home!

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THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Twilight Sad – 24th November 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

A night in Leeds with two of the greatest Scottish bands of all time! It’s an early start for TTS since it’s a Saturday and there’s a 10pm venue curfew. That doesn’t deter the TTS Fans who are down here in numbers to support the lads.

Their slow and steady trajectory is building to a long-awaited new album which is out early 2019. With sold out shows all over Europe now, the secret is out. Gone are the days of turning up and paying on the door.

The first time I saw them was in 2011 with Mogwai at the Gateshead Sage, my ticket from the show above for nostalgia purposes! That night hooked me in and I’ve been a fan ever since. Despite technical issues on the night, they made a memorable impression, I went and bought both of their records the next day. That’s what they do. You see them, you’re blown away, you come back to the next show with more pals and let them in on the secret.

Hard graft, great support slots and damn good songs have paid off. They’re now labelmates with Mogwai on Rock Action Records. Truly a band on the rise. I can’t think of a band that deserves success more than these humble chaps. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of them in 2019. New album ‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ is out in January and a full UK tour is anticipated.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

The Twilight Sad take to the stage, it’s really dark, moody vibe with nearly no light, just a whiff of smoke and the occasional strobe. With the band performing in silhouette for much of the show.

The set is a lean 45 minutes, so there’s no messing about. Highlights include new material I/m Not Here and VTr which are both becoming firm live favourites. Seb’s percussion propels VTr to another level, impossible not to lose your shit to this one.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Videograms, I have to admit is a bit lost on me. A minor change of direction soundwise but it seems to be growing on me with each listen. Its sound is highly synth-led, Cure Depeche Mode, INXS type vibes show the band have grown and diversified from the bludgeoning wall of guitar sound that I fell in love with back in the day. There’s something magic in the new sound, but I must admit I adore that wall of guitar noise! However, it does add balance to the set, giving a softer edge and adding a welcome respite. I need to hear it in context of the record, give me a few more plays when I get my hands on the LP and I’m sure it’ll grow on me.

Their version of the classic Keep Yourself Warm gained the most enthusiastic response from the crowd. I’d love to hear a live version of this released, it’s simply wonderful.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

They close on And She Would Darken The Memory, which sends shivers down my spine and fists pumping in the air. It’s all over too fast, just a little slice of perfection. There are no tears for me this time around, the Leeds Brudenell show (head here for that write up) was very cathartic experience with my own mental health battle this year, music has saved me. I’m back to that lovely feeling of sheer euphoria from a Twilight Sad show.

With a bill like this, it’s easy to forget that I’m actually here to see two bands! Oh yeah, Mogwai are still to come! A full review and photo feature for that very soon.

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DUNES | TEN EIGHTY TREES | TOO CLOSE FOR MISSLES |  17.11.2018 | Think Tank | PHOTOS

DUNES | TEN EIGHTY TREES | TOO CLOSE FOR MISSLES | 17.11.2018 | Think Tank | PHOTOS

Dunes | Ten Eighty Trees | Too Close For Missiles – 17th November 2018 – Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Dunes – 17th Nov 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

These days I don’t get enough time to go out and enjoy local bands as much as I’d like but this one was unmissable. It was a great night. Lots of new Dunes tunes! I’m really looking forward to hearing their debut album, which should be out in 2019. Ten Eighty Trees were a ridiculous amount of fun and Too Close For Missiles even won me over despite my usual animosity towards pop-punk! All bands to watch out for!

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