NEWTON FAULKNER | 29.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

NEWTON FAULKNER | 29.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Newton Faulkner – 29th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I’ll always be in awe of musicians and how they can get up on a stage in front of people and pretty much lay themselves out open and hope it pleases people. Even more so when it’s just one solo artist who doesn’t have a drummer/bass player etc to turn towards for support or to blame.

Newton Faulkner is currently one such solo performer having started out that way then having a touring band and also playing arenas in the last production of War of the Worlds he’s now back with a double “greatest hits” album featuring songs from the last decade of his releases (yeah really a decade!) and a number of cover versions that he has made his own over the years.

Newton arrives on stage to a huge applause “quite nice here innit?” he quips in a self-deprecating kind of way as if to say “not sure what I’m doing here” but as he starts his first number If This Is It it’s obvious why he is here and why the room is full. His voice is incredible almost not needing the mic it’s so powerful and his range is second to none. The set is made up of tracks from the hits album with a couple of new songs for good measure

At the merch stall, there was an odd item in the Tour Kazoo which was soon utilised by Newton when splitting the crowd into groups to perform separate parts of the song becoming a huge backing band with a kazoo section!

Not that he needed one mind you! this multi-talent at one point was playing a kick drum with his left foot chorus pedals with his right, a guitar melody with his left hand, drum pads with his right and remembering the lyrics he was singing. Impressive as I can’t even rub my belly and pat my head at the same time! He did mention having been accused of looping and/or miming in the past but having found myself hypnotised by his movements I can verify it’s all done live! Talented sod! Massive Attacks’ Teardrop is the first of the cover versions aired tonight and it is just an absolutely beautiful take on the song you could hear a pin drop as he performed it.

One of the things I love about Newton though is he is such a charming witty guy and he has a brilliant rapport with his audience chatting to a 1500 crowd like it was a few pals in a cafe or front room it’s that friendly. He leaves his little podium to perform at the side of the stage under a stark bulb saying he’s going back to where it all starts going right and plays I Need Something my favourite of his and the hairs stand up on my neck like the first time I heard it, just perfect.
Against The Grain showcases that vocal range hitting those high notes with ease and Jess Glynnes Million Reasons sounds amazing in this room it just fills it effortlessly.

Throughout the set he keeps cracking himself up just bursting out into laughter at little things. I’m not sure if it’s nerves or if he seriously still can’t believe people love to see him play or just the way his brain works throwing ideas around constantly! Either way, this just lends itself to his already likeable nature making this one of the most relaxed atmospheres I’ve been in this venue.

Dream Catch Me and a medley of covers including No Diggity, Send Me On My Way and of course Spongebob Square Pants have the audience on its feet but he’s not finished yet and he has the downstairs jumping up and down and balconies banging their heads ( no jumping on balcony for safety reasons haha) to the infectious Write It On Your Skin.

Once again using sections of the crowd to sing parts of Orange Skies the set closes and looking around the hall there’s nothing but warm happy smiles. Maybe it’s time to start prescribing live music to lift the spirits.

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen


Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact G’s Gig Shots


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

WARD THOMAS | THE WANDERING HEARTS | 06.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WARD THOMAS | THE WANDERING HEARTS | 06.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Ward Thomas | The Wandering Hearts – 6th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Ward Thomas – 6th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

“It looks like heaven….It’s picture perfect paradise.” The first and third lines of Lie Like Me from country-pop twins Ward Thomas opens the show and this is what it feels like and definitely doesn’t “feel(s) like hell” like the second line of the song suggests as everyone that took up the standing area were packed in tight to get close to the action and from the get-go nearly everyone is singing as loudly as they can to the new numbers blending into the older ones with ease.

A lovely moment (with no disrespect to the amazing band) is when Catherine and Lizzy have the stage to themselves to give a heart wrenching stripped backed performances of Cartwheels, No Fooling Me and Deepest You; the latter welcoming Billy their guitarist back. You get to really feel the emotions in their harmonies. It really is a testament to singers when they can sing in this way and sound pitch perfect to the recorded versions or better in the case of Ward Thomas. But if you are familiar with Ward Thomas you know they can’t keep you sitting down for long and the upbeat numbers are dotted around the setlist which works brilliantly. The majority of the crowd came to dance there cares away and even those that had to settle for the upper tiers were on their feet as crazy as those in the standing area. Credit to those guys, as I wouldn’t want to be on my feet that high up! I am unsure how we could have cranked up the atmosphere any more but we did with I Believe In You as claps tripled in volume and more audience members lent their voices to the singalong.

Another medley comes but this time with songs from their first album From Where We Stand with The Good And The Right, A Town Called Ugley and Push For The Stride, which is probably as close to honkey-tonk country as we get. And oh, you could just feel the power more so in their vocals with the last song of this medley. It sure got my heart thumping as mad as the beat of the drum. You could definitely feel those who were seated were ready to get on their feet.

My personal highlight came with Rather Be Breathing. Since getting their latest album it’s one of the songs that really gets to every bone of my body. From the beat and the ‘whistles’ in the darkness of the room before the lights came on I actually had to hold back the tears. I can’t describe the actual feeling but it’s definitely one of those songs for me.

You really couldn’t fault the setlist. Catherine and Lizzy brought everything to the table and covered what they could from all three albums in this hour and twenty minutes with Carry You Home not only closing the night but the whole of the UK Restless Minds tour. If you wanted to witness perfection this would be close to it.

Speaking of perfection, as if Ward Thomas fans would not be satisfied enough with just seeing Ward Thomas, I would say they made about half the room more ecstatic with Americana’s other sweethearts The Wandering Hearts as their support act. AJ Dean, Chess Whiffin and Tara Wilcox played a solid harmony blazoned set with songs from their critically acclaimed debut album Wild Silence. They played last years concourse stage at SummerTyne festival in the same venue and just like that day the queue to meet them was crazy. I believe it was still quite a length as showtime for the headliners was getting closer. Let’s just say if you WANT an audience just put both Ward Thomas and The Wandering Hearts on the bill and you WILL get those numbers and one helluva atmosphere.

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen


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


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

KATHRYN JOSEPH | SHHE | 26.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

KATHRYN JOSEPH | SHHE | 26.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Kathryn Joseph | Shhe – 26th February 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

“I’m still at the stage in my head where I can’t believe anyone would pay to listen to this shit!” Well, Kathryn Joseph believe it as being there to listen and watch her night at the Sage was one of the most beautiful things to witness, even with a lot of expletives! Saying that, the amount of times ‘fuck’ did come up actually made not only the performance more real but also made Joseph more real too, as there are many times you can put those whose music you admire on a pedestal and many times they ‘go to script.’ With Kathryn Joseph it really was what you see is what you get and it was, not sure if ‘adorable’ is the right word but I am going with it!

Before Joseph’s set we are welcomed by SHHE. I finally managed to search for her on the world wide web a few hours before the show and there was only one song I could find. Eyes Shut literally stopped me in my tracks and made me more excited of the night ahead and she did not disappoint. SHHE is very minimalistic but very powerful in the sense that I was pretty breathless watching her. So dreamy it was captivating that it sure silenced us all.

As soon as Joseph steps onto stage it feels like an open dialogue, or maybe monologue, as the audience are still and silent throughout most of the show, though she has us laughing through most of the night to the commentary she has to most of the songs. There are some sad moments too and to have the audience let it all be about Joseph was perfect.

We are given, I believe the whole of her new album, From When I Wake The Want Is, in its entirety and there are a few dedications to audience members, namely the musician Kathryn Williams who is there this night, is the song And You Survived. Not related to the song, but we are told a hilarious story of a Twitter live feed from Williams being an overnight guest at Josephs’ or was it more of a kidnapping! A dedication also goes to her support SHHE with Mountain where she says that although it’s been great having her on the tour it is also a regret as every night she has to follow her beautiful set. There is a wonderful feeling of gratitude from Joseph to these artists and what I noticed during SHHE’s set was that Joseph was there for its entirety. SHHE echoed this and was there throughout the whole of Josephs set.

Gratitude is what Joseph has. Two songs we are given this night, There Is No God But You and The Weary from her 2015 album, Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled, could set you on the edge of tears for the subject matter of people going through battles of illness and loss and being worse off than yourself. The way she performs them, in fact the way she performed the whole evening was like you were in a room listening to her sing only to you. To watch her, to listen to her and to be at a live show of Kathryn Joseph is a pretty special experience. These words I write will never do it justice. It’s just a brief summary.

It was a night of joy, sadness, laughs, engagement and a huge shout out to her single Weight being at number 8 in the official singles chart. Joseph has been around a for a while, she came to my attention through ‘new artists’ coming onto the scene posting admiringly social media posts and I am so glad this happened as I do not think I could experience another night like this, unless it is another night with Kathryn Joseph. In my own selfish way though, although the night in terms of lights and set were simple and perfect, a bit of smoke could have added to the ambience (and photographs) and lost me to the night completely. Saying that, Joseph had my emotions from the second she stepped onto the stage to the moment she left.

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen


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


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

THUNDER | DAN REED | 06.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THUNDER | DAN REED | 06.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Thunder and Dan Reed – 6th February 2019 – Gateshead Sage

By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)

Thunder live at Sage Gateshead

Dan Reed opened the evening, abandoning the funky riffage of the Dan Reed Network for a more laid back acoustic style. He’s not an artist that I’m massively familiar with, but his set was very impressive and his vocals were superb, particularly on an acoustic cover of ‘Holy Diver’, which he dedicated to Ronnie James Dio.

Dan Reed live at Sage, Gateshead

You could tell by the response from the crowd that he had a lot of his own fans in attendance, but his excellent performance did a good job of winning over a lot of the Thunder faithful too. Even solo on an acoustic guitar he still brought some funk with ‘Get to You’, before finishing his set with a beautifully delivered acapella rendition of ‘All My Loving’ which received a standing ovation from sections of the audience.

Thunder live at Sage Gateshead

Thunder were touring their new album, Please Remain Seated, which sees them revisit songs from throughout their career and give them a new minimalist arrangement. If you’re familiar with Thunder’s live show, the idea of them doing an unplugged set in an all-seated venue might seem a bit strange… A band famous for their hard rock anthems (that are made for dancing) playing acoustically in an all-seated venue is one of those concepts that can go one of two ways, and I was curious to see how it would turn out!

I’ve seen Thunder play all of their hits on umpteen occasions over the past 15 years, so the prospect of them playing a non-standard setlist with some curveball selections and different interpretations was something I’d been really looking forward to. I’d deliberately avoided listening to the Please Remain Seated album prior to the gig, as I wanted to reserve judgement of the reimagined songs for the live performance, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The set began with only Danny Bowes and Luke Morley on stage, delivering a stunning stripped back version of ‘Love Walked In’, with Morley on 12 string acoustic and Bowes bringing out a much more subtle and nuanced performance to the well-worn classic. The rest of the band joined them on stage for an almost country-ish version of Stand Up, and the mood was set for the evening. The atmosphere on stage was very loose and relaxed, the band joking with the crowd and each other between songs.

Thunder live at Sage Gateshead

The minimalist genre-swapping arrangements were not only refreshing to hear, but they also gave the band a chance to cut loose and show what they could do and experiment a bit more on their instruments than they would normally in a standard Thunder set. Chris Childs on bass was particularly impressive on a chilled-out jazz version of ‘Girl’s Going Out Of Her Head’ – one of the biggest stylistic surprises of the night if you’re familiar with the frenetic, riff-driven original version!

A slow bluesy version of ‘Loser’ further proved the point that a damn good song is a damn good song regardless of how it’s arranged, and it gave Morley a chance to lay down some more sumptuous lead guitar work.

The setlist blended the songs from Please Remain Seated album with other reworked arrangements from their back catalogue. Classics like ‘River of Pain’ and ‘Higher Ground’ were given fresh legs with the new versions and got the crowd singing along loudly, while newer songs like ‘Resurrection Day’ really stood out in the live setting.

My personal highlight of the night was an outstanding delivery of ‘A Better Man’, with Danny Bowes showing he’s still one of the best classic rock voices in the business. It was immaculately observed by the packed Sage crowd and you could have heard a pin drop in the quiet sections, everyone was so transfixed on the performance.

The band closed the set with a sensational arrangement of ‘Low Life in High Places’, which has always been one of their best-written songs, and the stripped back orchestration added extra weight to it. Starting with just vocals and piano it gradually built up to the powerful chorus and instrumental section, including a guest appearance of a choir, who were suddenly illuminated behind the back curtain. The band left the stage to a standing ovation, promising to be back soon with a fully electric set.

Credit to Thunder for taking a chance and trying something new, rather than just doing another standard “hits” tour, and it genuinely felt like witnessing something special on stage. The experiment paid off!

Setlist:

Love Walked In
Stand Up
Miracle Man
River Of Pain
Future Train
Blown Away
Girl’s Going Out of Her Head
Higher Ground
Empty City
A Better Man
Fly on the Wall
Just Another Suicide
Bigger Than Both of Us
Loser
Serpentine

Robert Johnson’s Tombstone
She’s So Fine
Resurrection Day
Low Life In High Places

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen

 

Images Copyright Kevin Burdon Photography. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

ANOTHER SKY | BETH MACARI | TALK LIKE TIGERS | 19.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ANOTHER SKY | BETH MACARI | TALK LIKE TIGERS | 19.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

 ‘New Year New Artists’ with Another Sky, Beth Macari, Talk Like Tigers, Nick Roberts – 19th January 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Sage Gateshead hosted ‘New Year New Artists’ from 17th-20th January to celebrate, ‘the UK’s most exciting contemporary musicians,’ from folk, classical, jazz, world music and indie, with Blank Slate covering the Saturday night programme that was hosted by BBC Introducing North East.

A wonderful noticeable thing of the night, is that the three acts: Talk Like Tigers with their electro-pop, Beth Macari with her funk-soul vibes and Another Sky with their dark, cinematic sounds, helped to pull in an audience of varying age proving that music really does bring people together, as throughout all three acts the majority of the audience remained.

Nick Roberts, presenter of BBC Introducing North East provided tracks to warm us up and entertained between sets. Some did wonder if he was presenting his show on BBC Newcastle at the same time as it was a noticeably North East soundtrack.

Twin duo Talk Like Tigers opened the night, harmonising tightly over electro pulsating beats from their simple set-up and slightly choreographed moves. They are very sleek and engaging throughout with their catchy numbers that have the crowd dancing, even to slightly darker sounding sounds.

Beth Macari has a powerful voice, backed by a funky band. I have seen Beth in the past and it was apparent that there was something there, but it has been a while since I have seen her perform live and tonight, I was left with my mouth on the floor as it seems she has gone from a solid 8 to a 12/10 in my books. She has a charisma that matches her music and her band is just as engaging. If you want to dance and be blown away a night with Beth Macari could do it.

Headliners of the night were London four-piece Another Sky with bassist Naomi being the North East connection. They first came to my attention when they supported Laurel on her tour late last Summer. Catrin’s voice has won critical acclaim and that is what captured me first. I almost likened them to a dark and heavier version of London Grammar, who I love but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, that voice is deep like Hannah Reids and the music is atmospheric but that is where the comparison ends…that is if anyone has ever found that comparison bar me!

Another Sky then took a leap forward with an appearance on Later with Jools Holland, which seems is why many of the audience were there on this night. Of the three acts Another Sky’s set seemed more intense but in a different way of that term as many of the audience actually stood further back from the stage to get a fuller scope of every band member. They have an energy I cannot quite describe yet but every member is remarkable. Stereotypically, many people want to be up close to musicians in this environment – Another Sky had us wanting to feel the atmosphere of the whole room that people were moving their bodies in the shadows and the back actually became more cramped than the front! It was a case of you had to be there. It might have been a one-off and I am glad I witnessed it. Dark, intense and atmospheric might be the way I could describe Another Sky. However, whatever, I say put them on your ‘ones to watch’ list.

PHOTO GALLERY

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen

 


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


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

LORD HURON | MALENA ZAVALA | 28.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

LORD HURON | MALENA ZAVALA | 28.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Lord Huron and Malena Zavala – 28th October 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

I’m not going to lie, I attended this show as soon as I saw Malena Zavala as the support. She came to my attention when I was seeing another band play at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen last August and she blew me away with her hypnotic sounds of dreamy vocals and extended instrumentals. I also caught her at Hit The North and The Great Escape earlier in the year with a bigger band and on this night she was stripped back to a three-piece band who we were told had only been like that a few weeks prior and it felt tight. The whole set was stunning and they had captured the hearts of those in attendance.

Onto the main act, Lord Huron. If it wasn’t for Malena, this band would have slipped through my hands, so thank you Malena! I was pretty much blown away and caught up with the energy of the standing area of Hall One. They filled up Hall One with intense energy with their Indie Rock sounds tinged with blues. Lead singer Ben Schneider moved freely when he could cross from one side of the stage to the other and sometimes losing his hat through the sheer passion in his performance.

You could feel this passion in the other members too but they were more stuck into their positions. And if lights are your thing when you go to gigs then a Lord Huron show will not let you down as it was one of the most spectacular light shows I have seen and with the added smoke it added to the intensity of one of the most stunning shows I have seen in this venue – from support act to main act – this night had it all. If you were like me and this was your first experience of Lord Huron or if you have yet to experience Lord Huron, take it from me, you will NOT be disappointed both musically and visually.

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow

 


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


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

SOUL II SOUL | 04.11.2018 | Gateshead Sage | PHOTOS

SOUL II SOUL | 04.11.2018 | Gateshead Sage | PHOTOS

Soul II Soul – 4th November 2018 – Gateshead Sage

Soul II Soul - 4th November 2018 - Gateshead Sage
Soul II Soul – 4th November 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Gav Wyatt (G.Wyatt photography)

Soul II Soul celebrated a huge milestone with their 30th Anniversary. Gav Wyatt was there to capture the spectacular show!

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow


Images Copyright G.Wyatt photography. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image