WILDWOOD KIN | FERRIS AND SYLVESTER | CALLUM PITT | 03.05.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WILDWOOD KIN | FERRIS AND SYLVESTER | CALLUM PITT | 03.05.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Wildwood Kin | Ferris and Sylvester | Callum Pitt – 3rd May 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Under The Apple Tree (UTAT) is the brainchild of Bob Harris, AKA Whispering Bob Harris. You might actually know him from The Old Grey Whistle Test. UTAT is a “music brand that focuses on bringing attention to amazing artists who deserve to be heard by everyone,” with sessions recorded at a studio nestled under an apple tree and now hitting the road, with artists handpicked by Harris himself and this year it’s the wonderful trio Wildwood Kin supported by Ferris and Sylvester and to add to the already fantastic bill local acts were also picked to open the night and in Newcastle we had Callum Pitt with a stripped back band of keys and backing vocals (Jonny and Annie).

It was an early start down o2 Academy in room 2 as the night would coincide with an ‘opening party’ of a festival and we would get to hear the contrasting sounds later, however, Callum and his band gave us a wonderful soothing start. If you are familiar with Callum’s music you may have heard many people talk of those vocals and damn those vocals for they sure can give Mariah Carey a run for her money. Seriously check him out and have your jaw dropped to the floor. He has local artist Annie Griffiths guest with him on backing vocals and just hearing them together is just as spellbinding. A wonderful stripped back set showcasing his sounds to many that have never heard of him before includes his big hits Rabbits to his most recent single Forgotten Kids.

Ferris and Sylvester are a duo I managed to catch literally the last number of when they supported another act about a year ago and it seems they have just gone from strength to strength with some of the audience gathered as big fans of theirs. Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester are an ‘alt folk blues soul’ duo with personalities as big as their sound. They sure brought the party to town and got the somewhat reserved crowd warmed up and even mimicking ‘vikings.’ Yup, you read that right, I just wish their were pints of SKOL and long beards there to complete this vision. My personal fave was when they swapped places on stage especially as the stage is on the small size and Issy takes over the kick drum from Archie and the crowd really get ‘in the moment’ then Archie gets up close and personal by coming to the foot of the stage which is literally in the face of the audience. Ferris and Sylvester give us everything as they even strip it back with their newest release of Flying Visit.

So far so good with the two gigs coinciding under the same roof this night and then it is time for the headliners and a huge credit to Wildwood Kin. We are off to a flying start as they open with new a new song Headed For The Water which showcases their spellbinding harmonies and then it is straight into familiar territory with Steady My Heart. The crowd is captivated from the get-go; only when the unfortunate moments of the balcony doors that adjoin Academy 1 to Academy 2 open and we hear the louder sounds of the other gig downstairs spoil it. Luckily the sounds of Wildwood Kin is at a great volume during the songs and the mood is not dampened. There is great interaction with the crowd and Run even gets a singalong. It is really hard not to get into this gig as the girls really do gel off each other which is lucky as they say never work with family. If you are unfamiliar with Wildwood Kin, the trio is made up of sisters Beth and Emilie Key and their cousin Meghann Loney.

Meghann takes the lead with most of the onstage banter especially during the somewhat frustrating moment for Beth and the failure of her bouzouki which leads to a quick set change and we jump ahead to another new track called Wake Up Sleeper but we do then get a pretty hilarious rundown of the bouzouki and their “pleasantly awkward” conversation, however I think it gives them a certain edge and even their sound engineer Josh gets a special appearance due to it! If things go wrong in a show then take notes from Wildwood Kin in how to get a show back on track!  The bouzouki is fixed and the girls do not need to rejig the set as much as we thought and we are back on track with Warrior Daughter.

Plagued with technical problems and battling with sound from the other venue, the girls are running against curfew but the crowd are having none of it. Security look a bit worried as the chants are pretty loud for an encore and do not waver so not to disappoint Beth, Emilie and Meghann return and give us a warm rendition of Valley allowing the gig-goers to leave happier which shows as they then pretty much engulf them at the merch stand afterwards.

It was my first time seeing Wildwood Kin I would definitely would see them again and if we were faced with the same problems I would be happy. In fact, they could decide to leave all their instruments at home and do the whole gig with just their voices and chat here and there, though the way they play their instruments definitely does add a certain touch more.

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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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TOM WALKER | JADE BIRD | 24.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

TOM WALKER | JADE BIRD | 24.04.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Tom Walker | Jade Bird – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Tom Walker - 24th April 2019 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Tom Walker – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

When you have to upgrade your venue because the demand is high and you could have upgraded again you know the show is going to be a pretty mental one and this is what happened for Tom Walker on tour for his debut album, What A Time To Be Alive, and everyone with a ticket knew it as the queue to get in nearly wrapped itself around the venue and come showtime for Tom himself most of the venue was toasting his success and Tom himself lapped it up from start to the finish.

Looking at the set up it feels he and his band were not ready to upscale the venue as the instruments and screen pillars were packed tightly in on the stage but what a set up and what a band as a slow intro builds into Angels and he appears to a thundering roar with the first glimpse. He goes in between taking control of the mic and then to a guitar as he goes through songs from his early days to the big hits and I think most of the crowd were there from his early days as there was no lull in the energy from them throughout.

The vibe was pretty constant throughout with big thumping sing-alongs but midway through it seemed to step up a notch as Cry Out seems to bring a slight element of rock sounds and the lights are bright and epic and then Tom walks over to a drum towards the end of Dominoes and the venue, if possible, feels that touch more alive.

Tom is very much a musician in his own right, particularly when he gets the chance to shine on his lonesome. Which he does spectacularly on Blessings, which is a really special moment. Slightly eclipsing this, as cheesy as it sounds, a sea of mobile lights come on for his biggest hit to date; Leave A Light On which closes the night and it is a beautiful ending to the set.

However, welcoming this highly excitable crowd to the Wednesday nights entertainment is Jade Bird. Many people had gathered for this night as they saw her name added to the bill but there were also many people there who did not have a clue who she was but as soon as she took to the stage people took note from the get-go. Kicking off with Uh Huh from her recently released self-titled album and showing off her vocal and lyrical ability to the crowd’s amazement, she had this sold-out crowd in the palm of her hand and most were in the building to witness it. It was great to see many people singing and bouncing along from the first second and literally shutting people up who normally overlook support acts.

Jade and her band played an amazing short but very tightly packed set with a great variety of sounds from the album which really does show off her abilities from the big numbers to the slightly more stripped backed ones as she immediately follows the opener with Good At It. And as if the set couldn’t be any more fun for both her on stage and the audience, she throws in the 1980s hit Walk Like An Egyptian from The Bangles which definitely shows the difference of age gaps in the crowd. However, even if you didn’t know the song her infectious performance definitely had you dancing along if not singing along.

I have seen Jade a few times live now but this would be the first time I have seen her a band. Seeing her with an extra three bodies on stage just highlights her personality more as she interacts with each band member while engaging with the packed out crowd and not losing any connection with either. There’s not one moment where the crowd are running off to the bar. In fact, in this short set, it seemed more people wanted in on the action.

When Jade sings I Get No Joy many look on in amazement as she wraps her words around that catchy tongue-twisting chorus. She then has the majority clapping along to the hoe-down track that is Going Gone and as she exits the stage many are gasping, “that was amazing!”

It was basically the hottest ticket in town on Wednesday night and value for money. Tom Walker has had to upgrade his sell-out shows to sell out again and with that performance and many more getting to witness Jade Bird, if they hadn’t heard of her before, you know that her upcoming shows in November are going to be following the same direction.

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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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STIFF LITTLE FINGERS | 15.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS | 15.03.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Stiff Little Fingers – 15th March 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Stiff Little Fingers - 15th March 2019 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Stiff Little Fingers – 15th March 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

By Gav Wyatt (G.Wyatt photography)

If I’m honest this has been a punk band that I’ve missed.. totally missed, I’d heard of them but they’re a band that has never featured on my radar or in any of my playlists but I was there to catch them at the O2 in Newcastle along with a strong crowd this Saturday night.

In support of the stiff little fingers for the ignition tour is Eddie and the Hotrods who warmed the crowd with classics such as ‘Depression’ and Do Anything You Wanna Do finishing off with covers of The Who’s The Kids Are Alright and Gloria.

At this point the crowd is an eclectic mix, young, old, skinheads, mohawks, denim and Dr Martens on every other foot to welcome Stiff little fingers to the stage who opened with Law And Order followed by a deep cut .. at the edge was next to feature as Ali McMordie on bass covers the front and the back of the stage interacting with the crowd and Jake Burns takes centre stage with his emerald green guitar bathed in emerald green light.

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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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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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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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CHVRCHES | LET’S EAT GRANDMA | 19.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

CHVRCHES | LET’S EAT GRANDMA | 19.02.2019 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Chvrches and Let’s Eat Grandma – 19th February 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

It seems whatever music you’re into, the mere mention of Chvrches stirs up excitement that tonight and the last two times they played Newcastle they have SOLD OUT the O2 Academy, with those who love metal, indie and electro-pop, that it is a wonder that they didn’t add the Arena for this date as looking at the tour for their release Love Is Dead the bigger venue could have easily been close to selling out too.

Let’s Eat Grandma entertained a pretty full Academy with their psychedelic sludge pop combined with choreographed dance moves you simply couldn’t keep your eyes off as they swapped from synths, guitars, sax, keys and even recorder whilst jumping about the stage…and even off it at one point that the pink wig fell from Jenny’s head making Rosa keeping check on hers. A brilliant opener for what was to come as whether it was stage presence and/or simply the music Let’s Eat Grandma definitely got our attention.

Excitement and every gap filled as Get Out opened the night and electrified the packed crowd. The pulsating Bury It followed with frontwoman Lauren Mayberry running about the stage stopping to grab the mic stand and lunging it into the air when not singing into it. Throughout the night there is a great mix of songs from all their albums with Graffiti getting the biggest shouts screams from the latest Love Is Dead.

Although Mayberry is seen as the face of Chvrches, other band members Iain Cook and Martin Doherty (and silent fourth member drummer Jonny Scott) equally do their parts and there is a great engagement not only between them on stage but it reflects to the audience. Doherty gets the chance to take the spotlight as he leads on God’s Plan and Under The Tide as Mayberry slips into his place and from this point on when not on the keys and with his guitar, Doherty gets out on that stage and jumps around just as much as Mayberry. There’s even a few moments for Cook too. Their energy is infectious and the crowd are with them every second. They even get on a personal level interacting about the football and the horse incident and the (good) old days of visiting MetroLand and even being on a hen do in Newcastle.  Those visiting Newcastle from out of town are thoroughly engaged in this conversation too.

Really Gone is the moment that Mayberry catches a break and sits down, Scott emerges briefly too and joins in on guitar. After a back-to-back whammy of possibly their biggest hits; Recover, Leave A Trace and Clearest Blue the band return from a brief encore and Mayberry stuns us with an a-cappella opening to Mother We Share; half the crowd are awed in silence and the other half sing along before it kicks into all its glory. With a very heartfelt thanks and the amazement of Mayberry spotting Chvrches tee-shirts from their early days to present, they end with Never Say Die and to hear and see the crowd joining in with the chorus loud and clear with their hands up really was one of those moments you live for at a live gig.

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