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

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FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS | 01.02.2019 | Northumbria Institute | REVIEW and PHOTOS

FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS | 01.02.2019 | Northumbria Institute | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Fun Lovin’ Criminals – 1st February 2019 – Northumbria Institute

Fun Lovin’ Criminals – 1st February 2019 – Northumbria Institute

Review by Donna Wyatt. Photos by Gav Wyatt (G.Wyatt photography)

Kicking off February on a white-out freezing night in Northumbria University, New York’s most loved Fun Loving Criminals brought the classically smooth funk that has been a soundtrack to our lives since the 90’s.

I remember the first time I heard Scooby snacks, probably one of their most notable and memorable hits, and how it instantly got into the psyche of a generation. Looking around the audience I saw an eclectic mix of people, perhaps reflective of the eclectic music on offer, as Criminals span a range of genres including rhythm and blues, hip hop, funk and soul.

Lead singer Huey Morgan had suffered an injury to his leg recently so had to remain seated, but his rapport was not diminished as his humour and mischievous personality shone from his red leather chair while he sipped on Remy Martin. Drummer, Frank Benbini (a Brit who recalled a year working at Spanish City and a special place in his heart for the North East) worked the crowd and won hearts instantly, not once fading into the background as he exuded great showmanship and banter, Whilst the equally charming Brian Leiser handled Bass, keyboards, Trumpet and Harmonica with ease and style and was quite the charmer, often cracking the whip to keep the boys on track and steering the tangents back to the music.

Huey was on top form despite a heady mix of brandy and painkillers and being stuck in a chair with his smooth voice and wit and had a plentiful supply of guitar picks to ensure a good few spectators took a souvenir home. The camaraderie between the 3 was tight and endearing whilst the music went through belting classics such as Loco, Fun Loving Criminals, Love Unlimited and Scooby Snacks and to more recent offerings from the latest album, Another Mimosa.

It was a banging set delivered in style and although it might have been a freezing cold, snow-covered night everyone left with warm fuzzy smiles.

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…AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

…AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – 3rd February 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

It’s been a long time since the Trail of Dead played Newcastle, and in all honesty I didn’t think they’d ever come back! Their last show at Newcastle Academy was poorly attended. Credit to the band that didn’t deter them, I recall it being one of the highlights of my gig calendar. Eight years later I’m over the moon that they are back in Newcastle, this time they are celebrating 20 years of their classic Madonna.

They have Spoilers opening for them on the tour. With a set of varied songs that don’t quite fit the Trail of Dead sound but hell I didn’t care these were quite a pleasant surprise. In tune with their name, they save the best song till last, no spoilers! The last song in the set (Jam in A according to the setlist) propelled them to another level. They were on super early as fans were just arriving but they seemed to win the subdued Sunday night crowd over. We’ll have a full photo gallery from their set coming soon.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

Twenty years ago I was learning the guitar and obsessively bingeing on American alternative music. Lots of Pavement, Sonic Youth, Built to Spill etc. I think, I first heard Trail of Dead on the John Peel show. I went out and I picked up copies of the first two albums and I was hooked from the start. Madonna was one of those records that spellbound me, the alternative tunings, tremolo guitar picking and dramatic song structures appealed greatly. Now in 2019 on my guitar god dreams have faded but the riffs are firmly embedded in my brain. Tonight is much more than just a stroll down memory lane, it’s a chance to see one of the most powerful live bands around.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

One thing that never really occurred to me until now (particularly seeing them live) is that Trail of Dead are actually a drummer band! I have this revelation as I find myself fixated on the drummers, the percussion on their albums is simply phenomenal. Perfect Teenhood is pure driven rock drumming masterclass. After all, they say a band is only as good as their drummer. The current lineup features two highly skilled drummers. Kit set up in centre stage for the band members to swap drums for guitars in-between songs. I love this, I hate it when drummers are hidden away out of sight. Get them up front and centre stage, it looks and (more importantly) sounds amazing!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

The setlist is exactly as you’d expect it, tracks in order with the intermissions played over the PA. Madonna (like their debut) doesn’t pause between songs, the only silence is at the end of Side A. It’s an immersive sound experience from start to finish.

Blight Takes All shows Jason Reece is a powerhouse frontman as well as a drummer. That’s one of the charms of ToD, they swap instruments and have two very distinct characterful vocalists.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

Mark David Chapman erupts, proving to be a highlight of the set and an all-time favourite of mine. The crowd are getting really into it now as Autry Fulbright II stalks the stage looking cool as fuck!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

All the band members disappear for the encore break. Leaving Conrad Keely to begin the opening of Sigh Your Children as a solo piece. The band dramatically re-enters the stage for the crescendo to Madonna. In a blink of an eye, the album is done. Holy shit. What an album!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

The encore treats us to a handful of songs from their uber-popular 3rd album Source Tags and Codes. Ending the night on the classic Will You Smile For Me from their underrated 4th album the post 9/11 prog rock masterpiece; World Apart. The encore gives a nice summation of the bands successful period and confirms their place (in my mind) as one of the greatest bands of the 2000s. For me the first two albums are my favourites and Madonna remains as one of my favourite albums of all time. It’s nice for bands to do this, it really is an album that deserves attention and it was a thrill to hear it live.

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JIMMY EAT WORLD | 30.01.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW

JIMMY EAT WORLD | 30.01.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW

Jimmy Eat World – 30th January 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Kevin Burdon 

Jimmy Eat World are one of those bands whose songs provided the soundtrack to key moments of my formative years, but I never got the opportunity to see them live. I’d lost touch with their music since about 2007, but when the chance came up to review them at their recent show in Newcastle I jumped at it.

The band opened with “Sure and Certain” from their most recent album Integrity Blues, then launched into “I Will Steal You Back”, before they provided me with the first ‘goosebumps’ moment of the night when the opening riff for “Big Casino” kicked in.

While it may be the case that their 00’s output is the stuff that resonates most with me, Jimmy Eat World are by no means a nostalgia act and some of the material from the newer albums sounded great in the live setting – newest single “Love Never” shows the band are still writing great quality songs that can hold their own alongside the classics. One of the most impressive songs of the night was “Pass the Baby”, a musical tour de force which starts deceptively quietly but builds into a massive crescendo with riffage that Tom Morello would be proud of.

The band played a diverse set from across their career, including many of the massive hits you’d expect – “Futures”, “Work” and “Always Be” were stunning to finally hear live, but the highlight of the set for me was a stunning rendition of “Hear You Me”. It’s one of those songs that gets under your skin when you first hear it, and it was beautifully delivered with the crowd singing along to every word.

The band finished the main set with Bleed American, before returning for a 3 song encore of massive anthems from the Bleed American album, A Praise Chorus, Sweetness and (of course) The Middle. A really triumphant way to end an excellent night.

Setlist:

Sure and Certain
I Will Steal You Back
Big Casino
For Me This Is Heaven
Futures
Polaris
Pain
Pass the Baby
Get Right
Always Be
Lucky Denver Mint
Hear You Me
Love Never
Dizzy
Blister
Work
23
Bleed American

Encore:
A Praise Chorus
Sweetness
The Middle

WHITE LIES and BONIFACE | 04.02.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WHITE LIES and BONIFACE | 04.02.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

White Lies and Boniface – 4th February 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

I was sat in a pub, around the corner from the venue before doors opened, there were many getting in high spirits with their VIP upgrade lanyards and T-shirts emblazoned with White Lies. There was an excitement brewing. We were celebrating White Lies fifth studio album and their tenth year in the industry. One fan really was in the spirits as he was covered head to toe in the merch stand!

Boniface - 4th Feb 2019 - Newcastle Boiler Shop
Boniface – 4th Feb 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Canadian quartet Boniface fronted by Micah Visser welcomed the early gig-goers, which there were quite a number of, giving us ‘indie sensibility and making it glisten.’ The two members on synths/keys with guitars were very eye-catching as they bounced around in their spots while Micah does mainly the static lead singer holding mic pose with added guitar and coming to life from time to time and at one point joining in on the keys. A very energetic performance and a choice support band.

Excitement and intoxication filled the packed Boiler Shop as the band stepped on stage and with the first glance of them chants of “Harry” came as opening track from their latest release starts and a singalong from the get-go to Time To Give. Harry McVeigh is a great frontman and genuinely seems pleased to be back in Newcastle as at every opportunity he is beaming with arms raised and gives the city a huge shout-out more than I have ever heard any band when interacting with a crowd.

There is a great mix of material from the new album ‘Five’ but songs from the back catalogue are greatly received too with the thumping Farewell To The Fairground being first up and when Harry asks the crowd to sing back they do it with so much passion, that you wouldn’t quite believe we are in a 1000 capacity venue. The sound is loud and the lights go from static blues, reds then bursts of other colours and strobes, which adds to the excitement of the night. As the night goes on many gig-goers try their best to get to where people had already taken the prime spots but those in them were not going to let them go without a fight. Luckily none of that happened as the majority just wanted to live this experience with other gig goers.

The chants for Harry come and go throughout the night but the other members are just as energetic with Charles Cave on bass and backing vocals and thumping out the energy on drums is Jack Brown. On this tour, the three-piece become a four with Tommy Bowen letting his fingers do the magic on the keys. But Harry’s charisma really does steal the show and at every opportunity his arms are up in the air as if to say, ‘let me embrace every single moment of this night just as much as you are,’ especially with the tenth anniversary of their first release and as he mentions this the crowd erupt. It’s a very nostalgic moment for the majority of the room as they remember how old they were when Unfinished Business hit the airwaves and they jump having the time of their lives. This feeling stays for the stand out track on the new album, Tokyo, and Harry feels this and is literally thumping his fist on his chest as the crowd get rowdier.

The whole night is full of energy. You wonder when you are going to catch your breath but that comes when Harry returns solo for the encore and sits behind the keyboard to play Change from the Big TV album and it is the quietest the crowd becomes. What a moment. But of course the night could not end like that and we are treated to the anthemic To Lose My Life and the loudest I hear Charles’ vocals. It’s good to have these guys back and being ever so humble. Ten years you say. Here’s to another ten.

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JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAIND | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | PHOTOS

JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAIND | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | PHOTOS

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind – 31st January 2019 – Cluny

Stepping in last minute for The Unit Ama who sadly couldn’t make the tour, local legends Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind made a brilliant and very fitting support act for The Messthetics. Remarkably this is the first time I’ve seen them live, their live reputation proceeds them, highly praised from all in the local scene. I must admit that their recorded material doesn’t quite seem to capture their sheer presence and intricate indie-rock stormers. I walked away from the show a fan!

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THE HOWL AND THE HUM and SAUVAGE | 24.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW

THE HOWL AND THE HUM and SAUVAGE | 24.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW

The Howl And The Hum and Sauvage – 24th January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Has a band ever captured your attention purely because their name interested you? I know there have been bands that caught people’s eye because of this, even before you’ve heard the music; The Howl And The Hum are one of those bands. I caught their set at last year’s Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough and they simply stunned me into silence. Their headline show at Newcastle’s The Cluny was a whole different affair to that show a few months prior but equally as entertaining.

Sauvage. Photo by Victoria Wai

Support of the night came from Newcastle quartet Sauvage, who sometimes go the other way with their namesake especially due to Johnny Depp and unfortunately not by the French translation of ‘wild!’ But don’t let that name get to you, they bought a solid half-hour set for the early gig goers with a mix of indie and psych sides. Each member had their own energy and you didn’t quite know who to focus your attention on. I heard a few murmurs of people in the crowd who had seen them before saying that was the best they have ever seen them play. I put my hands up as one of them. I don’t know what has happened over the past few months but something is definitely working for the better.

As with most headline acts those milling at the back soon came forward as The Howl And The Hum were ready to start. We were the hum waiting for the howl!

A few months ago I saw these guys play, it was dark and intense. The same came tonight, in the upgraded Cluny from Cluny 2, but there were a lot more stories to be told and not only through their music. Unlike the support act, The Howl And The Hum definitely had a ‘star’ of the band and that came from frontman Sam Griffiths. I mean most bands do have THAT frontman and he delivers. Not taking anything away from the other three members Bradley Blackwell, Conor Hirons and Jack Williams as the band is greater than the sum of its parts.

Hip swerving Sam guides us through a tight 45 minute set of atmospheric alt-rock as he tells us many of the songs are about possessions from sharks to bus tickets. It definitely had the crowd that bit more intrigued than if we were given a straight-up performance of their music and the usual patter you get from stage to crowd. The melodic sounds then big thumping bass and guitars mould into a very entertaining set that the crowd were thoroughly into.

‘Don’t Shoot The Storm’ is a song about not shooting bullets into a hurricane. Sam on top of his impressive ‘woo’s’ also gives us some great dance moves to participate with. Strangely the song that came about staring at the back of a Megabus while in a Fiat Punto, ‘Sweet Fading Silver,’ captivates the audience and sends a roar through the room but personally ‘Portrait I’ and ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge,’ were personal highlights to a highly entertaining night that I walk away with The Howl And The Hum as a musical possession to press play to every now and then.

THE MESSTHETICS | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE MESSTHETICS | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

I went into the show, admittedly, knowing very little of the bands material, just what I’d heard online. The draw of Fugazi (easily one of the greatest bands ever) legends Joe Lally and Brendan Canty was too much to deny, anything they’ve worked on is special and I was curious to know if the magic had carried over to this new project. The Messthetics are a hugely welcome surprise after years of Fugazi silence it’s marvellous to see and hear Joe and Brendan re-unite. This time they’re back with another incredible talent; guitarist Anthony Pirog. The results are nothing short of brilliant and have outweighed anything I could have possibly imagined.

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

I am known for my love of instrumental music and I know some people tend to drift without a vocal or lyric to hang onto but with The Messtechics there is simply no time to drift, they constantly shift and dynamically change sounds, it’s extremely thrilling not knowing where the song will go, how it will end or when the next party riff is gonna come in and make you grin from ear to ear. 

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Watching Anthony Pirog is a thrill. He’s visibly having the best time in the world, pedal hopping and pulling out the most creative and diverse tones I’ve ever heard. Over the hour-long set he uses more tricks and technique than I’d ever manage in a lifetime of guitar playing.

Mythomania makes for the perfect opener and introduction to the band a super cool groove makes way for a J Mascis style hurricane of guitar technique and amazing riffs. Whilst the backline tightly drives, and at times almost tames Pirog. I was utterly engrossed right from the start. 

Crowds and Power is the standout song from the night. Somehow an hour evaporates in the blink of an eye and the night is over, it’s a thrill to witness this night. It is way too early in the year to be suggesting ‘gig of the year’ contenders but it’ll take some doing to top this show.

There’s a delightfully playful air about the music, yet the sound is highly crafted. Three super talented musicians have created something much greater than the sum of its parts. This is much more than just a fun side project or something to fulfil any ego requirements. Simply put The Messthetics are amazing! After the show, I picked my jaw up from the floor and walked away from the show saying to myself… ‘holy shit, that was good!’.

The Messthetics are a sight and sound to behold. Truly one of the most inspirational instrumental bands on the planet. Just what I needed to blow off the cobwebs after a long boring gigless winter!

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JOHN PAUL WHITE and LYLA FOY | 27.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

JOHN PAUL WHITE and LYLA FOY | 27.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

John Paul White and Lyla Foy – 27th January 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

John Paul White
John Paul White – 27th January 2019 – Gateshead Sage

John Paul White, a musician in his own right, but also known for his part in the musical duo The Civil Wars returned to Gateshead Sage for the third time and first time as a solo act. We were in for a stripped back acoustic treat and the audience could not have been any more appreciative.

Arkansas Dave kicked off the night interestingly in a different room to where the rest of the performances were held. Bringing a livelier and louder affair to the Northern Rock Hall. On hearing and seeing what was happening it made sense. Arkansas Dave had a full band with him and they belted out big sounds that had the room stomping their feet, which was a huge contrast to the next few hours ahead.

Lyla Foy - 27th January 2019 - Gateshead Sage
Lyla Foy – 27th January 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Lyla Foy was the main support for this whole tour with John Paul White and the audience gathered over to Hall 2 for the rest of the night. For those familiar with Lyla, what normally backs her music on stage is an electric guitar and keyboards, though as she took to the stage what was before us was a small keyboard and an acoustic guitar. If this was your first time seeing this ‘sub-pop’ artist then this was just as new for you as it was for those familiar with her material and it was, in simple terms, stunningly breathtaking. I have seen Lyla a number of times but this night it was like a whole new Lyla Foy was forming in front of me and the audience were also on her side that unless prompted to talk they were hanging on to her every word until her last note.

With a very quick changeover of ten minutes the audience gave a rapturous applause as John Paul White stepped onto the stage to kick off the night with new song, ‘I Wish I Could Write You A Song’. He stands centre stage throughout the night with just his guitar, he needs nothing more to make this show any more powerful than it is. The crowd is silent and there are a few tears being wiped from the outset, probably just as much as his kids felt when he sings of his love/hate relationship being on the road away from them with ‘The Long Way Home.’ As if the night could not make you tearier, he then performs ‘James’ which was inspired by Glen Campbell but written for his father.

He tells us of his upcoming release which is, he jokes, is of course called ‘The Hurting Kind,’ which sends a laugh throughout the audience. That is what is noticeable with John Paul. He can break our hearts and have us crying with his deliverance but he then comforts us in between the songs with this chat that has us laughing. What a character he is. He also later quips that a request came in for ‘Hey Jude,’ and you could ‘feel the pain’ from the audience but luckily it was a joke and he actually gives us a cover of the Dan Seals, ‘Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold,’ which also subconsciously made him the artist he is today rather than the rocker he dreamed of being. Another cover comes at the end of the night with ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Head,’ from his favourite band ELO which gets a nod of approval from the crowd and a rapturous applause once again and with a few screams leads for him to return to the stage for a finale with ‘This Life,’ a special kind of John Paul White love song.

John Paul White gave us everything and the audience of Sage 2 could not have been more perfect. In fact, he says we are “so sweet and quiet, (and does) not take it for granted…it’s actually quite terrifying.” As a gig-goer, when I am at these kind of gigs, this is all I could ever want. Though there was one thing missing for me personally. John Paul gave his support act Lyla Foy a shout out as they happen to duet on a song on her latest album, Bigger Brighter, called ‘Bring Flowers’. I am unsure how many people knew of this prior to the gig, but I knew and when it was mentioned I thought we were going to see it brought to life with both of them on stage but it wasn’t to be. It would have been a perfect addition to a perfect night, so maybe one day it will be.

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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.

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


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