HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD | LOATHE | 30.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD | LOATHE | 30.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Hollywood Undead | Loathe – 30th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Hitting the stage in almost total darkness, Loathe came out and aurally kicked everyone’s head in!!! I had heard beforehand they were brutal but that didn’t prepare me for just how much! The five-piece performed the set with very little light on them making sure the Hollywood Undead audience sat up and listened! I loved how they managed to move from the heaviest of riffs to beautiful almost Deftones ambient melodies with ease! Definitely, ones to watch!

With the bottles of Newcastle Brown readied on the mic stands, headliners Hollywood Undead come out blazing with the back to back Whatever It Takes and California Dreaming from the V album and setting the bar early with the pyro front and rear stage second song in!

The masks are gone now but that doesn’t seem to matter to this sold-out crowd, many of whom are sporting their own anyway, as they bounce about and sing along to Undead, Renegade, Dead Bite and many more!

With their mash-up of Rock and Rap styles, there are bits of Linkin Park meets Eminem meets ICP meets Rammstein in here which makes a lot of the songs easy on first listen to catch on to

Band members bound about the stage swapping guitars and playing keys and samplers atop the risers with seemingly endless energy it’s hard to keep tabs on who’s doing what but it works well for them well thought out not chaotic the way it could easily be with so many on stage doing this. The bringing a crowd member on stage to play guitar seems a standard move at gigs these days but fair play to “Ben” he can play pretty well and the band kick in with a verse or two of Sweet Child Of Mine when he plays the intro then jams with the band and throws all the shapes during Comin’ In Hot!

Pyro, confetti/streamer cannons are accompanying the songs through the night not just being held back for finales or encore time so by the time the set ends with Broken Record and Here Me Now the air is akin to a festival with the smell of the fireworks lingering! The crowd take up the chant of “Everywhere I Go …” to get them back out for more which they oblige with said song of the chant and finishing on the guitar-driven Day of the Dead.

Exactly a week before this Papa Roach also played to a packed room here and I noticed many many of the same faces here tonight going just as crazy loving it!
It’s great seeing gigs of any genre doing well keeping the music scene healthy in our city.

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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.

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NOTHING MORE | 23.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

NOTHING MORE | 23.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Nothing More – 23rd April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Opening up on the current Papa Roach tour San Antonio’s Nothing More are creating quite a stir and winning new fans at every date! Whilst they’ve been around for quite some time they’re still new to a lot of folks here but hopefully, this tour will be the next step to get them back on a bigger solo tour. They are definitely a band you need to hear or better still see live rather than read about as no written review can get across the energy or styles that they convey.

In Jonny Hawkins, they have an absolute firecracker of a frontman barely stopping for breath as he bounds around the stage and clambers over anything in his path. His voice is incredible whether it be a ballad or metal anthem he covers it allLike I say though difficult to pigeon hole as they straddle alt rock, metal, djent, prog and much more in their songs. Put it this way any band who cover both Queen and Skrillex whilst the singer is performing on top of a hydraulic electronic instrument known as the “Scorpion Tail” have to be seen to understand what the buzz is about!

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PAPA ROACH | 23.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

PAPA ROACH | 23.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Papa Roach – 23rd April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Papa Roach - 23rd April 2019 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Papa Roach – 23rd April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Papa Roach are back in Newcastle promoting their latest album Who Do You Trust and it’s safe to say they trust their fans as the hall is rammed on a Tuesday night that boasts a good few other rock gig choices in the city and in fact one upstairs in the venues’ smaller room. As they come out to a massive reception Jacoby Shaddix raises the mic and let’s rip “Cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort” and the place goes crazy. It’s a bold opening when most bands save a big song for a set closer or encore this feels like it’s almost a dare like “yeah we know it’s a huge song if it’s the only one you know then you can f**k off home now“. No one is leaving though and the crowd are here for the whole package!

The set is nicely paced with title track Who Do You Trust being the first of five tracks from the new album and whilst a lot of bands of a similar age are going out and performing the “classic” big selling album in full Papa Roach aren’t sitting back on their laurels they’re picking tracks from the majority of their back catalogue. I missed a couple of tracks after taking photos as it was so full I had to exit via the stage doors to go back around front to drop my camera bag off in the cloakroom (that was the rule of the night) but came back in as the band went back to the Infest album for Between Angels And Insects with Jacoby leading the chant “there’s no money there’s no possessions… “with the whole of the crowd following suit. Not The Only One stands out in the new tracks with its straight-ahead pop mixed with the heavy drop and rap for the chorus building to its climax. I still can’t get away with Hollywood Whore though and for me, it’s the weak point of the set but I may be in the minority there.

Scars gets the fists raised arms waving before the ridiculously catchy Feel Like Home (strongest new song in my opinion) and To Be Loved end the main set. A heartfelt cover of Firestarter in memory of Keith Flint starts the encores and they absolutely nail it. They don’t try to “Papa Roach” it, they just play it as it is meant to be and you can tell they love it as do the Geordie throng as it brings the house down!

Infest and Born For Greatness see the night out leaving a sweaty mess of people to make their way home. This was an arena performance in a smaller venue, the band were tight, giving it 110%. Jerry Horton on guitar is a perfect right-hand man to Shaddix, whilst Tobin Esperance and Tony Palmero provide a monster rhythm section. Jacoby was on fire not making do with just a first few rows crowd surf he waded out all the way to the back of the room never missing a beat. Way way back Papa Roach played Northumbria Uni and was possibly the hottest gig I’ve ever been to. The band came to our club night upstairs afterwards and I still remember Jacoby (Coby Dick at the time) dancing to the Foo Fighters having the best time. Watching him onstage now he seems like he’s still that same guy a few years older maybe, but still having the best time.

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THE HUNNA | 04.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE HUNNA | 04.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Hunna – 4th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

In my last review of The Hunna I told of how I’d been blown away from the very first time I’d seen them by the strength of their fan base and tonight just reinforced that. These current dates are the rescheduled ones from then having to take time out due to taking legal action with old management. A lesser band could have lost the momentum they were gathering but not Hunna and after a brief thank you from Ryan for sticking with them the opening number We Could Be is met with a full O2 in unison screaming the lyrics at the band so hard I swear I could feel the sound on the back of my head as I took photos. Fever keeps the tempo ticking along at a nice rate but it’s the HUGE Still Got Blood dropped in early that’s got the goosebumps raised as high as the fists in the air!!

The Hunna - 4th April 2019 - Newcastle O2 Academy
The Hunna – 4th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

There’s almost a feeling of relief from the band as they finish each song to ecstatic response as if they really weren’t sure if their short time away had done damage. The few times that the “situation” was mentioned it wasn’t done in any kind of smug manner but again in a thank you for believing in the band to the fans

Title track and Flickin’ Your Hair from the Dare album had the place absolutely jumping. There’s also an airing of new material too but like the first time I saw them when they had nothing released the kids knew the songs start to finish and relished every note. Y.D.W.I.W.M is angry rock ‘n’ roll anthem that I can see becoming a highlight of every live set with little touches of Rage Against The Machine tucked away in there

She’s Casual and Bonfire see the main set out and I can’t help smiling happily that the band have come through this tough episode and appear stronger for it. After a two-song encore, the guys headed straight to the merch desk to meet, hug and once again thank those fans who’ve made it worth the fight!

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BARNS COURTNEY | 04.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

BARNS COURTNEY | 04.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Barns Courtney – 4th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Having had some of his songs featured in movie soundtracks, video games, TV programmes and sports campaigns it’s no wonder the first time you actively listen to or see Barns Courtney you think you know the songs already but that’s not the only reason. In this short explosive set opening for The Hunna, Barns absolutely won the whole crowd over with catchy songs that get stuck in your head for days. The foot stomping Glitter and Gold, the air punching Champion, alongside new single 99 just three examples of why he is currently getting 40+ million streams of his songs.

It’s hard to define the style too, is it pop? is it rock? is it funk? is it indie? and the simple answer is yes! There’s definitely a party air around the bands’ stage presence with Barns channelling every known rock frontman in his own style. Definitely a huge rock star in the making!

Reading the social media pages a lot of the crowd are actually going for Barns as well as headliners The Hunna but he certainly gained a lot of converts too.

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UFO | 28.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

UFO | 28.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

UFO – 28th March 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy – UFO Last Orders 50 years and 50 photos

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Walking into the pit I’m still looking at the half-empty pint and brass bell that is on top of the amps and stupidly thinking “I can’t remember any UFO song featuring a bell“ then it dawns on me just as the last bars of intro music Faith Healer (SAHB) are leaving the PA and a crew member starts ringing the bell very loudly …. of course! IT’S LAST ORDERS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. The clever cheeky nod to the boozy tales of old and the final farewell after 50 years of making some wonderful music.

Three generations of UFO are acknowledged in the first three songs with Mother Mary (Schenker era) We Belong To The Night (Chapman) and Run Boy Run (current axeman Vinnie Moore) and from the outset it’s plain to see that whilst they could easily (and lazily) just come out and perform Strangers In The Night in full (and to be fair that would actually work for the sold out Newcastle crowd tonight!) however, they have other ideas up their sleeve pulling out Venus from 1995’s Walk On Water followed by a blistering Lights Out, a song most bands would keep back as an encore but such is the quality of UFOs legacy they can afford to bang it in here early on!!

It has to be said Vinnie Moore absolutely played his heart out every single song of the set. It’s not an easy task taking on some of the most revered guitar parts in rock history but he does it with just the right amount of feeling, tone and shred to make it his own but never shying away too far from the original.

Phil Mogg has still got one of the best voices around with no signs of faltering after 50 years in the band Baby Blue being a case in point an absolute showcase for him singing over Vinnie’s acoustic melody before the song kicks in properly.

All the big guns are out tonight Only You Can Rock Me, Cherry, Too Hot To Handle. But a brooding Burn Your House Down gives Vinnie a chance to shine and shine he does tearing out the solo as if it was his last!

You’d think going to a bands 50th year tour would make you feel a bit old but far from it there were all ages there loving every bit of it and when Paul Raymond’s keyboards intro to Love To Love kicked in I was a kid again fist in the air “misty green and blue “ top of my voice !!!

Rock Bottom as always sees the set out with the guitar /keyboard back n forth from Moore and Raymond stretched to limit all the while being superbly backed by the fine rhythm section of Rob De Luca on bass and UFO veteran Andy Parker on drums

It’s never a UFO gig without Doctor Doctor getting the crowd bouncing and a rousing Shoot Shoot ends not just the night but that’s the last ever UFO gig in Newcastle. That thought saddens me a lot but I can be happy knowing I’ve seen them many times in many guises and this was quite a fitting end. Yeah there were tracks I’d have liked to heard again but as I said earlier the quality of the back catalogue is so good they’d have to do a Springsteenesque length set to include it all.

TIME AT THE BAR LADIES AND GENTS SEE YOUR DRINKS OFF PLEASE

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JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR | 24.03.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR | 24.03.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Joanne Shaw Taylor – 24th March 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I have somehow managed to miss Joanne’s previous Newcastle shows so this was my first live time seeing her live and boy I was not disappointed! With new album Reckless Heart only a month old Joanne treats the crowd to seven of its tracks through the set. Opening with the rockin’ In The Mood followed by the rollin Creepin’ the bar is set high very early in the night.

The band are locked in tight though and maintain the standard delving back into previous albums for Let It Burn and Wrecking Ball. However for me when they come back to Reckless Heart for The Best Thing I can’t stop myself having a bit of a dance (yep even on these old legs) with its wonderful funky soul feel, I am reminded of the likes of Galactic and Gary Clark Jr at their best.

I’ve Been Loving You Too Long is just one of those songs destined to become a classic, the solo is just jawdropping making you realise what a talent she is, no tricks, no whammy bar and very little effects, just technique, tone and pure feeling it’s one of those time you just have to applaud mid-song it’s that good. There are smiles all round on stage as the band play off each other and the infectious New 89 has everyone singing “you go your way I’ll go mine” before the walking bass line of title track Reckless Heart brings the tempo down a notch to a very appreciative Boiler Shop crowd.

The 90 minutes fly by and encores of Mud Honey and instrumental White Sugar see the night out. The latter sees JST absolutely channelling her inner Stevie Ray Vaughan to a tee (hope she won’t mind me seeing that) but still retains her own style. I know I said at the start I’d missed earlier shows but after this one, I will be doing my utmost not to do that again. I may be late to the party but at least I got there eh?!

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THE STRANGLERS | 14.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE STRANGLERS | 14.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Stranglers – 14th March 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

The Stranglers – 14th March 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

It’s been a week short of one year since they were last here but The Stranglers don’t rest on their laurels and are back with a new set to keep the fans bouncing. The stage is set up to resemble a kind of industrial warehouse with huge air con fans and oil drums and a neon sign on the backdrop displays No More Heroes, a phrase sadly becoming truer every week!

Jean Jacques Burnel as cool as ever has a huge smile on his face as he walks over to his bass and the band belt out Tank to get the night underway! It’s a set well mixed with old and new but such is the strength of the songs every one of them is a “banger” as the kids say these days 😉

Rattus Norvegicus is visited for the first of 5 times tonight with a blistering version of Get A Grip (On Yourself) but the set covers all eras not just living in the past. The band are heading into their fifth decade looking and sounding stronger than ever with newer songs like Man On The Moon, This Song and Water sitting perfectly with older favourites Duchess and that dirty bass led classic Peaches. It was great to hear Princess of the Street bringing the tempo down a bit with some fantastic guitar and keyboard work from Baz and Dave.

I’ve always felt Greenfield’s keyboard sound is an important part of the Stranglers identity rather than just background and Something Better Change is a perfect example of this. Of course, the hits are there (Golden Brown, Always The Sun, etc) but for me Hey (Rise Of The Robots) and Bring On The Nubiles were my particular highlights in this 24 song set.

I have friends who go to many of the gigs each tour and as Burnel punches the shit out of his bass before that ever familiar intro to No More Heroes I can see why and even as a casual fan I’m already thinking I can’t wait to see them again next time as they certainly show no signs of stopping and just get better every time.

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BROTHER ALI | 15.03.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

BROTHER ALI | 15.03.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

Brother Ali – 15th March 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I am in no way qualified to do a full in-depth review of this gig as I don’t think I could do it justice. But I will say it was one of the best hip-hop gigs I’ve been to in a long time. From Minneapolis, Brother Ali’s socially conscious lyrics strike a chord but he also spreads the word of peace and love. I personally got a distinct Michael Franti (Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Spearhead) kind of vibe, which can never be a bad thing. I can only say if you like your hip hop go see Brother Ali.

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