MONSTER TRUCK | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Metro Arena | PHOTOS

MONSTER TRUCK | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Metro Arena | PHOTOS

Monster Truck – 7th December 2018 – Newcastle Metro Arena

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

It’s always frustrating when the city hosts great gigs on the same night. Tonight there were four that I can think of (possibly more actually) that would have been up my street, but you can’t do them all as they say! However, you can try to do the next best thing and time it so you catch some of the bands. So I managed two of the three band bill at the Arena tonight!

Monster Truck opening up on this current Black Stone Cherry tour set things in motion with the title track of their latest album True Rockers and waste no time getting things warmed up during their brief 8 song set. It’s a nicely balanced choice of songs over their three albums giving any new listeners a fair idea of their sound Old Train from the first album being a personal favourite. By the time newer songs Evolution and Devil Don’t Care have sunk in they finish up their time with bangers She’s A Witch and The Lion with a promise of a headline return next year (dates announced a few days later) and have firmly hooked a large section of the crowd who have been pouring in throughout! It’s sometimes a shame the three band bills have to stipulate such short (early) sets BUT it gets the bands exposure and gain new fans.

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THE CADILLAC THREE | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Metro Arena | PHOTOS

THE CADILLAC THREE | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Metro Arena | PHOTOS

The Cadillac Three – 7th December 2018 – Newcastle Metro Arena

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Also on the bill with Black Stone Cherry were The Cadillac Three a trio (obviously) hailing from Nashville. Due to time constraints of dashing from one venue to another (for The Magpie Salute) I only managed to catch the three songs I was in the pit photographing. That said, I thought they were class high octane Southern Rock n Roll who I will definitely check out again. I’m not going to try and review based on the three songs other than to say for a 3 piece they make some noise! Enjoy the photos.

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THE MAGPIE SALUTE | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE MAGPIE SALUTE | 07.12.2018 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Magpie Salute – 7th December 2018 – Newcastle Riverside

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The Magpie Salute - 7th December 2018 - Newcastle Riverside
The Magpie Salute – 7th December 2018 – Newcastle Riverside

After a quick visit to the Arena up the road it was a quick scuttle down to the Quayside to see The Magpie Salute at Riverside venue. There was no way I wanted to miss any of this, I mean three members of The Black Crowes in a band that had released one of my favourite albums of the year… errrr no chance!

Kicking off with title track High Water it’s immediately evident that this is a band comfortable with each other, no histrionics, no massive opener just a fantastic song based around a rolling melody and wonderful harmonies which never dropped through the next seventeen or so songs. The guitar play between Rich Robinson and Marc Ford is a masterclass in less is more. Some beautiful slide playing and solo trading but without entering the world of shred.

By the fifth song the band are paying homage to their heroes and drop in Pink Floyds Fearless and Neil Youngs Big Time, before showcasing solo material from Marc and Rich.

A short acoustic set starting with Sister Moon and a lovely version of CSN’s You Don’t Have To Cry followed by the first Black Crowes of the night Lay It All On Me breaks the set up nicely and again highlights the vocal harmonies. Speaking of which the revelation of the night for me was vocalist John Hogg, I love the album and liked his previous band Moke but never expected him to nail it so well live he was just outstanding! At one point I was positive he was channelling Get Your Wings era Steven Tyler!!

They delve into the Crowes catalogue even further once back into electric instruments (One Mirror Too Many for example) and finish on a stomping Send Me An Omen leaving an audience just awestruck. So many people stating it was their gig of the year following it and I have to agree it was definitely up there!

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FLOGGING MOLLY | 06.12.2018 |  Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

FLOGGING MOLLY | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Flogging Molly – 6th December 2018 – Fireball Fuelling The Fire – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

It’s a tall order to follow The Bronx, but follow it they did! Amid a barrage of lights and confetti cannons Celtic punk rockers Flogging Molly took to the stage and had the crowd bouncing up and down fists held high! That mix of Irish folk and ballsy punk just gets people going and the banjo-led anthem of Drunken Lullabies is aired early in the set to a huge reception! But the momentum is kept up throughout building up to a marvellous Seven Deadly Sins and What’s Left Of The Flag bringing a massive smile to face remembering all the times the club floor would vibrate to the stomping when we played it out!

The Fireball tour is always a joy to attend, always a great line up. I’m glad they’re only a once a year thing, when I saw how much the night had taken out of so many of the revellers. They’ll need that time to recover!

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THE BRONX | 06.12.2018 |  Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE BRONX | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Bronx – 6th December 2018 – Fireball Fuelling The Fire – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The Bronx - 6th December 2018 - Fireball Fuelling The Fire - Newcastle O2 Academy
The Bronx – 6th December 2018 – Fireball Fuelling The Fire – Newcastle O2 Academy

I’ve often been told that The Bronx are one THEE best live punk bands out there but until tonight I’ve only ever seen the side project El Mariachi Bronx. Holy crap man, the information I’d been given was not wrong! Absolutely ferocious!!

Kicking off with Unholy Hand, Sore Throat and Shitty Future the band were taking no prisoners! The 14 song set was 100% full on from start to finish, both the band and the crowd were wild. The guitar riff from Knifeman, in particular, sparked off crowd surfers and circle pits, much to smiling frontman Matts’ delight. So much so he performed They Will Kill Us All from the centre of a full-on mosh pit.

Closing the set with History’s Stranglers I have to say that The Bronx are one of the most exciting bands I’ve seen in a long time I even said to a friend “good luck to the headliners trying to follow that”.

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FACE TO FACE | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | PHOTOS

FACE TO FACE | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | PHOTOS

Face To Face – 6th December 2018 – Fireball Fuelling The Fire – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The screen shows a projection stating “So Cal Face To Face Est 1991“ 1991?! It is hard to believe that it’s taken 27 years to get Face To Face to Newcastle but they more than made up for it with a blistering set of melodic punk! I always tip my hat to punk drummers they have their work cut out for them but Danny Thompson absolutely smashed it. I reckon if he had a pedometer on he’d have done at least a marathon in distance!

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ALL SAINTS | 12.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ALL SAINTS | 12.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

All Saints – 12th December 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

After their ‘comeback’ album Red Flag in 2016, the excitement following 1990s girl group All Saints has gone from strength to strength and another album followed in the Summer of 2018 titled Testament with a tour following. It was not only a night of nostalgia but also a night proving that there is more to Shaznay Lewis, Nicole Appleton, Natalie Appleton and Melanie Blatt as they rounded off the tour at Newcastle’s o2 Academy.

As the introduction kicked in the atmosphere was intense. People milling by the bar literally pushed to the barrier as we were given a mini megamix intro as all four ladies stepped onto the stage following the band kicking off with the flirtatious Bootie Call. From the get-go you could see they were all on a high as much as the audience. The night called for us all to have a great time and that we did; from the die-hard fans to those reliving their youth.

It was a great mix of songs. They proved just how strong they were vocally especially with all the jumping around on top of their choreographed moves. What was admirable was watching them up there having the best time. It’s been highly documented of that famous feud and for fans like myself, we are so grateful that their friendship stood the test of time, that when their first single, I Know Where It’s At, makes the setlist the Academy erupts as “everybody wants to hang out at (their) party.” But at every party, you do need to catch your breath and latest single, After All, brings us back down and maybe on the verge of tears.

All Saints really do not get the credit they deserve as vocalists and songwriters, namely Shaznay Lewis. Listening to their music is one thing but when you get to see people perform the music that resonates with you, it is a feeling that really cannot be described. That is a true testament to these ladies and proves that there is room for them to be constantly relevant to the music industry.

Another great thing about seeing All Saints perform live is that (to most people who only know the singles) it could be said that Shaznay and Melanie are the ‘lead vocalists’ with Natalie doing her share and Nicole gets the ‘speaky’ part in that famous song. But this could not be further from the truth and it is great to see them ALL do their part. Collectively their harmonies blend brilliantly; individually they are just as perfect.

Bonus for the die-hards is the medley of ‘never before played live’ songs with All Hooked Up, Alone and Take The Key. I have said die-hards a few times but I believe 90% in attendance definitely knew the words to these album tracks. I think as an artist, it must be a great feeling when people sing back the words you wrote and for the fans there is a connection when you get those few moments of singing together.

Pure Shores peaks the night and it is party atmosphere in full swing. In the past, this song has been the finale of the night. It’s hard to describe the feeling but it really keeps you on a high that you cannot come down from. Things are a bit different for me personally this night, as a merry fan seemed to love it as much as me, that he pushes in the tiniest of gaps and tries to elbow my shoulder to discomfort so I move. Not the thing I want to write in a review but sometimes it needs to be said and there is no need for people to do this, especially when they tower in height over you. Pure Shores IS my song and nothing was going to spoil this moment for me, so a huge credit to the security who saw this and for letting me hold onto ‘my moment,’ and having the encore to enjoy. And what an encore. From the epic Love Lasts Forever to a hip-hop break, then into one of the biggest crowd participation moments ever with Never Ever. Yes, ‘a few questions that I need to know,’ is how can Shaznay, Natalie, Nicole and Melanie top this? Well, there are more chapters to be written about this Glorious story and I have all the Black Coffee’s ready for it!

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LOST IN STEREO | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | PHOTOS

LOST IN STEREO | 06.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | PHOTOS

Lost In Stereo – 6th December 2018 – Fireball Fuelling The Fire – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

This years Fuelling The Fire tour sponsored by Fireball whisky was back at the Academy recently and once again gave people a fantastic five-band lineup at a very affordable price! Sadly due to time constraints, I didn’t see the opening band who won a battle of the bands contest to open the show but I’m sure the judges chose an appropriately cracking opener!

Lost In Stereo take to the stage and their youthful enthusiasm knows no bounds with energetic punchy pop-punk anthems that given a little time will be belting out as headliner encores.

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CLOVES | 11.12.2018 | Islington Assembly Hall | REVIEW and PHOTOS

CLOVES | 11.12.2018 | Islington Assembly Hall | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Cloves – 11th December 2018 – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

I first saw Cloves (aka Kaity Dunstan) on a whim back in February 2017 after hearing her track Everybody’s Son back in 2015. I just happened to be in the right city at the right time. There was a buzz that night and those feelings came flooding back as the lights went down in Islington Assembly Hall. The crowd murmured in anticipation as the band of three played what felt like an orchestral introduction before Cloves appears, then she is on stage and as soon as she sings the opening to Wasted Time, my stomach is in knots, never mind how Cloves herself is feeling. From the get-go the night is raw and emotional. To me this is how most gigs should feel as she glides from one end of the stage to the other and at times grabbing the mic stand as she sways.

The music then takes a more upbeat feel with Bringing The House Down as the lights get brighter but still fit the mood of what Cloves’ music is about. That is Cloves down to a T! The lights compliment the music and it gets under your skin! This is why Cloves rates high on my radar; her music is simple yet complex and full of fire and passion. It is REAL! It is LIFE!

I had three albums down as ‘albums of the year’. That was up until April, then Cloves debut came in October here in the UK and it may have claimed the number one spot. Seeing her debut album One Big Nothing come to life on stage really gets into every bit of your body. We go from the stripped back songs to the big thumping sounds and her vocals are effortless and fragile. You cannot help but to get lost in the moment – or these 50 minutes or so we get of her.

The added bonus of this night though is that on top of her album tracks we get a brilliant cover of Mazzy Star’s, Fade Into You, and the way she performs it, she could probably claim it for herself as knowing the original or not, she makes it her own. She claimed the night as soon as she stepped on stage then onto the crowd singing back the ending to Better Now. And it is her personality on that stage that you wish those that were just a bit too loud in the room could have been quieter as her songs and her performance definitely deserved the attention. Luckily the acoustics of Islington Assembly were perfect that most of the time it did not bother you.

Cloves was made for this stage and many are starting to get it. Those in the room already know it and the night is ours, that we wanted more after she and her band run off stage after the title track from the album. Luckily, Cloves hears us and returns with her guitarist and she asks, “is it alright if we do Everybody’s Son?” The room could not have asked for anything better and we are feeling it as the room then feels still. And I am exhausted from the emotional journey I have just been on. I am left breathless and my heart is in a million beautiful pieces coming back together and beating in my chest.

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LUCERO | 04.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

LUCERO | 04.12.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Lucero – 4th December 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Lucero kicked off their UK tour here in Newcastle to an appreciative crowd in the Academy’s second room. Their latest album Among The Ghosts has been on heavy rotation in my house since receiving the advance copy. So I was really looking forward to hearing the tunes live alongside old favourites. The band take to the stage in a relaxed fashion and give us the title track from said latest album. It’s a beautiful piece of Alt-Country and the crowd are already behind the band 100% one track in.

Ben Nichols smiling tells us they haven’t really prepared anything and considering it’s the first night of the tour and they may be under-rehearsed but watching them effortlessly play more new tracks like Cover Me and Bottom of the Sea and old favourites Texas and Tennessee and Slow Dancing makes you think he’s pulling our collective leg or they maybe are just THAT good!!

It’s such a relaxed feel to the night they seem to be just plucking titles at will or at fans requests and nailing them! Nights Like These a particular highlight for me made me realise something I’ve never noticed before. Such is the strength and emotion in Ben Nichols’ vocal there is no other backing vocal from any other band member there’s literally one mic stand on the stage and I can’t remember the last time I saw a band do that! The musicianship is second to none the band playing their hearts out and feeding from each other throughout the set.

The set is heavy on the latest release as expected but another absolute gem comes in the form of Ben performing his solo song Last Pale Light In The West on his own telling us it’s what he sings to his little girl to get her to sleep I can’t think of a better way to spend a winters Tuesday night hope it’s not as long a wait to get them back here

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