HIT THE NORTH FESTIVAL | 05.05.2019 | REVIEW and PHOTOS

HIT THE NORTH FESTIVAL | 05.05.2019 | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Hit The North Festival – 5th May 2019 – Review and Photo highlights

Review by Lee Hammond. Photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

It’s an early start but The Noise and The Naive successfully blow away any early cobwebs, this powerful duo tearing through an early set to an appreciative crowd. It’s difficult to fault their enthusiasm and fervour, they are indefinitely deserved of a much higher place up this packed lineup. That being said they undoubtedly won over a fresh set of fans this afternoon.

Such is the norm at this time of year Pip Blom opens the Think Tank stage this afternoon, another artist playing much lower down the bill than expected but she is also playing in Glasgow later today. Her set of grungy power pop is wonderfully executed, she and her band groove their way through these urgent and heartfelt tracks. Think Tank is packed to the rafters this early on, but it is certainly worth it. Her set is far too short but leaves everyone craving much more.

Los Angeles native Pearl Charles is next to grace the Town Wall stage, her dreamy Americana the perfect antithesis after two rowdy sets. Her supremely sweet voice emanating through this small room, casting her wonderful spell across everyone who quickly becomes mesmerised by her. With the likes of All The Boys and Sleepless Dreamer featuring in her set it’s hard not to be enamoured by her. This is definitely the perfect mid-afternoon festival set.

The Ninth Wave have continued to win over fans up and down the country, their sound has changed somewhat in the time they’ve been around as well as the band members. However, today their set is firmly routed in a dark groove as they thrill an enthused crowd who are all willingly and eagerly singing along to every word of songs old and new. They are certainly a band who are finally finding their footing and are quickly ascending the ladder to bigger things.

Next up are New York family band Bailen, the twin brothers and their sister. Are yet another breath of fresh air, settled somewhere between Fleetwood Mac and Vampire Weekend it’s a definite winning combination. The way the three of them harmonise together is exceptional, you quite quickly get lost in their wonderful songs as they have a wonderful sound. Without doubt they are by far one of the bands of the day even with so many other great things to come, we find ourselves completely blown away by them.

A band at the opposite end of the spectrum are next to take to the Think Tank stage, Lady Bird are one of the most talked about bands around right now. Today they make themselves known in spectacular fashion, with Think Tank one in one out there is barely any room to breathe. They take to the stage in typically upbeat fashion goading the crowd and whipping them up into an early frenzy. It’s quite clear that they’re proponents of a similar sound to IDLES, with a little Jamie T in there for good measure. It’s an intense and exciting set, they have an unrivalled power and passion alongside a spectacular stage presence. They are soon to be the band on everyone’s lips.

Sorry provide a completely different experience, their atmospheric tracks at times feel lost in the Boiler Shop. They struggle to gain the deserved gravitas from their intense sound, it doesn’t help that the sun is beaming in through the large windows. This feels like a set which would be much more at home in a small dark room, where the bands real passion has the ability to successfully permeate through the crowd. That aside, as Sorry warmed to their surroundings their set gathered pace, but it still lacked the urgency it needed.

The Blinders have consistently been one of the most talked about bands around, yet on tonight’s showing I’m still yet to understand it. Prior to taking to the stage they play out a call to arms but that’s where their political stance appears to end. Instead blustery fervour is backed by mediocre lyrics coated in reverb driven guitars. That said this is personal opinion, the rest of the crowd were head over heels for the Doncaster band.

Liverpool’s Zuzu was full of excitement as she bounced on to the stage, her enthusiastic stance has the crowd jumping and singing along from the off. Her excitement is truly infectious tonight as we get caught up in her glee as she bounds through her set with wild abandon. The same unfortunately cannot be said for Berlins’ Giant Rooks who really fail to deliver today, not through any fault of their own. You often see this through multi-venue events, they failed to pull any sort of crowd today. Despite putting on a show worthy of a sold-out crowd anywhere as they have the boiler shop quite literally shaking with the force of their sound.

The Mysterines are next in the Digital stage, it’s another fervent fuzz filled set. Lia is a true force to be reckoned with as she relentlessly grooves her way through the entire set, they’re a band who improve exponentially every time we see them. Their power and ferocity is incredible tonight they truly step up to the plate and wow this enthralled crowd. However, this is also where the evening takes a turn for the worse. Heading down to Riverside their programme is suffering from significant delays, Easy Life appear to have only just taken to the stage and are greeted by many bemused SOAK fans.

After waiting a significant amount of time we head up to see Lice, who prove to be one of the bands of the day. Jeering at people from the window of the Bridge Hotel, beckoning them in they quickly create a crowd. Their passionate own brand of punk rock is something to truly behold. Delivered with an angst and snarl, they prove why they deserve to be treated with a significantly higher regard. This enthusiasm, their madness and unbridled excitement is a real breath of fresh air. Without doubt one of the best bands of the day!

Heading back down to Riverside we find out that they are now running an hour and fifteen minutes behind, as SOAK finally takes to the stage Shame fans are beginning to fill the room. There is obviously a hefty disparity in styles and this unfortunately does not translate to the best crowd for the quiet Irish singer. She tries her best and gets through five tracks in twenty minutes before leaving the stage, it puts something of a dampener on what is otherwise an excellent day. The breadth of talent and style is incredible Hit The North have truly nailed it this year. In spite of any issues with timings as these things happen we really cannot wait for next year.

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS by Victoria Wai

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Images Copyright Victoria Wai. For permission to use these images please contact victoriawai.co.uk

BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

Black Futures – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Long overdue photos from a couple of weeks back when Black Futures supported Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes (see that review here). They were absolutely amazing. Possibly one of the best bands I’ve ever seen at Think Tank!

PHOTO GALLERY

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FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES | BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES | BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes | Black Futures – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank – Review and photos

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

It is hard to believe it’s been three and a half years since the last time I saw Frank Carter (see that feature here). That was at The Cluny and was a very extraordinary night, a blend of utter chaos and sheer rock ‘n’ roll fun, it seemed like the band were on the cusp of a huge breakthrough and they were enjoying every moment of it. Now in 2019, they return to Newcastle as part of a run of intimate UK shows in the same vein as the Cluny, back before their popularity exploded.

It’s a nice chance for fans who missed the early days to see them in the most ideal setting which allows them to get up close and connect to their audience. There is something quite detaching about larger scale shows and I think that’s the point of these gigs, since they play huge venues and festivals now, they want to re-establish that connection to the fans and be in the thick of the action. It’s an experience to behold.

There’s an air of excitement and maybe a little tension in the air as the venue begins to fill. Black Futures opened, I believe it was supposed to be Estrons but a recent implosion meant they have called it a day. I knew very little of Black Futures other than people struggle to explain their sound due to the incredible diversity of their material. Intriguing!

Watching the band I was struck with how brave FC and TR are for bringing this band on tour with them. They are fucking incredible and surely no band would like to follow them? Such a powerful act as just a two piece but they bring in some performers decked in dust suits and sunglasses, waving flags to help engage the crowd and add an air of mystery to the show. It really reminded me of Ministry, particularly when they burst in the first song of the set (a song called ‘Love’ I believe, could be wrong) which has a highly anarchic industrial vibe to it. Just when you think you’ve figured this band out hey jump sounds and pummel you with Trance a beautiful power pop number. Simply put they are one of the best acts I’ve seen in many years. A separate photo feature will follow for their set 🙂

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Think Tank has to be the most perfect small venue for Frank Carter, with its close tight space, low stage and relaxed approach to hardcore shows. The band and the audience can go there and know they’ll be looked after and go wild (within reason of course), everyone is there for a good time and that’s what we get. Tonight is a first for me, I’ve never seen a barrier in this venue but as soon as the music started it became apparent why, with waves of crowd surfers cascading over the crowd and safely over barrier, a good call!

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

No one can hold the audience in the palm of their hand quite like Frank Carter. Phones aloft, fans enjoying every moment of this rare chance to get up close and personal with the band. With fans screaming the lyrics back to him, he seemed utterly in his element, loving every moment. Master of ceremonies, orchestrator of the chaos encouraging fans to crowd surf and look after each other. Defusing any male testosterone and crowd killing stupidity, gigs should be like this, go wild, look after each other and have a great time. It was great to see people doing just that and also to see Frank encourage a few female first-time crowd surfers. Just a brilliant atmosphere to witness.

Frank took some timeout to discuss Anxiety and it was quite an eye-opening experience to see how many people raised their hands when asked how many people had been affected by it. That’s the magic of live music, it brings you all together and although I’m also struggling with my own anxiety (I nearly didn’t make this gig due to it) it made me appreciate the power of music and the sheer delight that can be had just by letting go for a few hours at a concert.

The setlist is a mixed bag of songs covering their first two albums and some material from their upcoming 2019 album End of Suffering, they opened by bursting into Crowbar from it. They’d actually play that one twice, a trick that they’ve done before and it gets a great reaction from the crowd. Dedicating Tyrant Lizard King to Theresa May raised a great laugh!

Juggernaut got an airing tonight. Apparently, they’ve been leaving this out of the setlist on purpose to see if they can get by without it. I’m sure they can but I was buzzing to hear it.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

I must admit I’ve lost touch with the music after the first album. The cathartic release of the Blossom album really appealed to me and the music that followed is much more rounded and anthemic, more in tune with Pure Love than say his hardcore roots. In a live setting, the songs are incredibly powerful and a Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes gig is hugely potent, inspiring and exhilarating. They are quite rightly considered as one of the best live bands on the planet.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Photos are Copyright Graeme J. Baty. All rights reserved.

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