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

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

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

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

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

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

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

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

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

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

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

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

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

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

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