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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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT | THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT | 23.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT | THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT | 23.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Blue Öyster Cult | The Temperance Movement – 23rd February 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

A headlining act in their own right The Temperance Movement were here tonight setting the mood for one of rock music’s greatest acts; Blue Öyster Cult. They waste no time in getting the crowd going with Only Friend and Caught In The Middle and for the next 40 minutes deliver a fiery set of blues-soaked rock n roll. Phil Campbell’s voice just gets stronger every time I see them and the band just gel together brilliantly on tracks like A Deeper Cut and set closer Midnight Black leaving the crowd wanting more!

The Temperance Movement – 23rd February 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

The intro rings out and the band take to the stage the dark blue lights making it difficult to make out anything but shapes and shadows but there’s no mistaking the image of Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma centre stage sharing a lifetimes friendship fist bump signalling Blue Öyster Cults’ return to Newcastle. Tattoo Vampire gets things underway and for the next 100 minutes we are in the palm of their hands! The big MTV era hit Burnin’ For You is aired early in the set sandwiched between older Secret Treaties cuts Career of Evil and Harvester of Eyes all of which are met with the same joyous reception.

BOC are no strangers to Newcastle having even recorded some of the tracks for Some Enchanted Evening at a City Hall show way back in the day, so it’s great to see them still rocking to a full house here after almost 50 years as a band (despite multiple line up changes) I was a bit disappointed that our Toon crowd voted against Shooting Shark when Bloom put two songs up for public choice though!

Dharma is outstanding tonight both vocally and musically especially on Last Days Of May where he absolutely knocks it out of the park! But it is, of course, Don’t Fear The Reaper that causes the majority of the crowd to lose their minds. Regardless of the reasons why people know this song, be it long time fan TV/movie soundtrack or THAT sketch (even Eric was mimicking the “more cowbell”) it’s a great song it’s got everything memorable riff melodies sing-along chorus AND that ferocious solo never gets old! And yeah I got fed up of hearing it in clubs and pubs radio etc BUT never tire of it live!

However BÖC are more than just THAT one song – Godzilla is still possibly of the first and finest stoner rock blueprints, Hot Rails To Hell (handled brilliantly by guitarist and keyboard player Richie Castellano) is just pure Garage Rock ‘n’ roll and Black Blade co-written with Michael Moorcock is sci-fi storytelling at its finest. These amongst many many others high light the bands versatility which is why they’ve lasted the test of time Aptly Cities On Flame (with Rock ‘n’ Roll) brings the night to a close and I’m hoping we get that promised new album sooner than later and maybe one more tour out of the guys for the 50th celebrations.

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RUTS (RUTS DC) | THE PROFESSIONALS | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

RUTS (RUTS DC) | THE PROFESSIONALS | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Ruts (Ruts DC) and The Professionals – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The Professionals couldn’t have a more appropriate name when you take a look at their history. Apart from founding member Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols (and more) tonight’s line up also features members of 3 Colours Red, The Men They Couldn’t Hang and The Wildhearts. So it’s safe to say that the stage is no stranger to them. Currently out on tour opening for the Ruts their no-nonsense straight ahead punk rock is a perfect way to warm up the crowd. Although saying that it did take the first couple of songs and a bit of cajoling from Tom Spencer to get everyone on board.

Cook is a powerhouse behind the kit and as a friend of mine pointed out his playing is solid, with tasteful fills in just the right places! It’s short set but they cram in as much as they can both old (Payola) new (Good Man Down) and classic (Silly Thing) with the dual guitars of Chris McCormack & Spencer providing a beefy wall of sound while Toshi & Cook pound it out as a solid rhythm section and big terrace anthem choruses there are certainly much worse ways to start your Thursday night!

Performing an album in full in order can be problematic, particularly if the album has lulls in it. However, The Crack by The Ruts has no such fall downs and tonight the Ruts DC are celebrating its 40th anniversary. The alarm bells and sirens blast from the PA and the trio kick into the fantastic Babylons Burning with as much fervour as it had back in 1979. I was a little worried about this as this track is probably my favourite of the Ruts (I even have the album of remixes just of that track) and I thought I may drift a little. Oh how wrong I was!!

Totally forgetting just how many brilliant songs are on this album; SUS, Dope For Guns, Jah War, Savage Circle, just went to show not only the various musical influences the band had but also the underrated musicianship. Some of Segs bass lines and Ruffys drumming are absolutely phenomenal ranging from full-on punk to dub reggae in style and I was captivated for the full performance which went on after the album with Ruts DC original material from Music Must Be Destroyed as well as the classic Staring At The Rude Boys. The trio (completed by Leigh Heggarty on guitar) looked like they were having an absolute blast bringing the album to life to a Riverside full of old school fans out in force.

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WHITE DENIM | BC CAMPLIGHT | 16.02.2019 | Newcastle Northumbria Institute | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WHITE DENIM | BC CAMPLIGHT | 16.02.2019 | Newcastle Northumbria Institute | REVIEW and PHOTOS

White Denim and BC Camplight – 16th February 2019 – Northumbria Institute

Review by Lee Hammond. Photography by Gordon Armstrong 

Nights like this are few and far between, tonight White Denim roll into town with the exceptional BC Camplight in toe. In his own right BC Camplight carries significant stature and tonight he proves it early on with a scintillating set, opening with Deportation Blues he kicks things off in a rousing style and retains that with the equally fervent I’m in a Weird Place Now. He does bring the mood down slightly with a solo version of When I Think of My Dog, yet he still retains his usual charm throughout.

He riles the crowd with his story of the former Home Secretary before launching into a brilliant rendition of Fire in England, before closing out this short set with I’m Desperate. BC Camplight well and truly warms up this crowd, but this is a mere aperitif compared to what lies ahead this evening.

White Denim take to the stage and barely waste any time with an idle chit chat, instead diving headlong into Backseat Driver. They barely stop for the first four tracks, each track more ferocious than the last as they provide a barrage of aural deliciousness unlike any other.

Fervent guitars coupled with relentless thunderous drums are something to truly behold today, Double Death and Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah) are early favourites in this mammoth set. Their unwavering energy coupled with their signature brand of garage funk has every member of this heaving crowds head nodding along in unison, as the band barely leave themselves time to blink between tracks. The likes of Real Deal Momma and Had 2 Know (Personal) follow each other in quick succession.

Towards the end of the set the bands tracks almost begin to blend into one as they retain such a ferocious pace, this is beyond impressive. By the time they reach the latter stages of the set you’d be expecting them to falter somewhat yet they continue with ease as they round off the set in typically ferocious fashion. It Might Get Dark and Shake Shake Shake providing more crowd favourites right at the end.

Their unrelenting enthusiasm, pace and excitement are what permeates throughout this exuberant Saturday night crowd, White Denim traversing genres with ease and relative simplicity also helps all whilst retaining their signature sound. There is no way to fault these guys in any way, many would guffaw at playing much longer than an hour but for White Denim they sustain an incredible atmosphere for two hours straight and give every member of this packed crowd their money’s worth and then some. Without doubt one of the finest live bands around right now!

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BUCKCHERRY | HOOBASTANK | ADELITAS WAY | 12.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

BUCKCHERRY | HOOBASTANK | ADELITAS WAY | 12.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Buckcherry,  Hoobastank and Adelitas Way – 12th February 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Taking to the stage not long after the doors open is always a tough job. However, Adelitas Way took it in their stride and played like the room was full from the get go! Having been together since 2006 and releasing albums since 2009 the Las Vegas quartet are here opening for Hoobastank and Buckcherry.

I think this is their first UK visit (I could be wrong) but they had fans who turned up early to show their support and although the first couple of numbers, Still Hungry and Ready For War were being played while people were still walking in, there was a healthy enthusiastic response by the time they got to the end of their short seven song set. Closing with Invincible (best known for being used by WWE Smackdown Vs RAW game). Check out their latest album Notorious if you are partial to some big riffed melodic rock!

Up next Hoobastank kicking off with Pieces from their self titled 2001 release. This is a band who have sold 10 million plus albums, yet strangely they’ve never really made it big here in the UK. They are co-headlining with Buckcherry so get a chance to play a full set of fourteen songs taken from all of their albums including Don’t Look Away from the most recent Push Pull. Of course it’s the title track of the album The Reason that gets the big reaction even surprising frontman Doug Robb with the crowd singing back the huge chorus (“Oh god yeah I love this one I just didn’t realise who it was” is a regular reaction to Hoobastank songs here) and closing on Crawling In The Dark they promise to try and get back to the UK sooner than later. Absolutely storming energetic performance!

It’s less than a year since Buckcherry were just down the road at Riverside. So when this tour was announced I wasn’t sure how it would go, being in a much bigger venue but I shouldn’t have been as by the time Josh Todd and Co hit the stage the room was pretty full of eager fans. I was surprised though at the choice of opening up with a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ classic Head Like A Hole. They pretty much nailed it to be fair, although for me Todd’s vocal didn’t feel quite sinister enough.

It’s A Party is up next and back in familiar territory for everybody! Whilst the band have a new album due in March (Warpaint) they don’t saturate the set with tracks from it only playing three tracks (the aforementioned opener Back Down and Bent) spread out through the night.

Lit Up, Too Drunk To Fuck amongst others still evoke that Sunset Strip sleaze rock spirit but songs like Gluttony and Somebody Fucked With Me keep the band up to date. I particularly liked the melodic Everything with its big singalong chorus but of course, it’s the closer Crazy Bitch that everyone loses their minds over. Buckcherry are one of those bands having been around 24 years now (yeah I was surprised too when I worked it out) know what their fans want and give them it regardless of trends and fashions they’ll do what they want and have a good time doing it!

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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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