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

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

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

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ANOTHER SKY, BETH MACARI, TALK LIKE TIGERS | 19.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ANOTHER SKY, BETH MACARI, TALK LIKE TIGERS | 19.01.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

 ‘New Year New Artists’ with Another Sky, Beth Macari, Talk Like Tigers, Nick Roberts – 19th January 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Sage Gateshead hosted ‘New Year New Artists’ from 17th-20th January to celebrate, ‘the UK’s most exciting contemporary musicians,’ from folk, classical, jazz, world music and indie, with Blank Slate covering the Saturday night programme that was hosted by BBC Introducing North East.

A wonderful noticeable thing of the night, is that the three acts: Talk Like Tigers with their electro-pop, Beth Macari with her funk-soul vibes and Another Sky with their dark, cinematic sounds, helped to pull in an audience of varying age proving that music really does bring people together, as throughout all three acts the majority of the audience remained.

Nick Roberts, presenter of BBC Introducing North East provided tracks to warm us up and entertained between sets. Some did wonder if he was presenting his show on BBC Newcastle at the same time as it was a noticeably North East soundtrack.

Twin duo Talk Like Tigers opened the night, harmonising tightly over electro pulsating beats from their simple set-up and slightly choreographed moves. They are very sleek and engaging throughout with their catchy numbers that have the crowd dancing, even to slightly darker sounding sounds.

Beth Macari has a powerful voice, backed by a funky band. I have seen Beth in the past and it was apparent that there was something there, but it has been a while since I have seen her perform live and tonight, I was left with my mouth on the floor as it seems she has gone from a solid 8 to a 12/10 in my books. She has a charisma that matches her music and her band is just as engaging. If you want to dance and be blown away a night with Beth Macari could do it.

Headliners of the night were London four-piece Another Sky with bassist Naomi being the North East connection. They first came to my attention when they supported Laurel on her tour late last Summer. Catrin’s voice has won critical acclaim and that is what captured me first. I almost likened them to a dark and heavier version of London Grammar, who I love but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, that voice is deep like Hannah Reids and the music is atmospheric but that is where the comparison ends…that is if anyone has ever found that comparison bar me!

Another Sky then took a leap forward with an appearance on Later with Jools Holland, which seems is why many of the audience were there on this night. Of the three acts Another Sky’s set seemed more intense but in a different way of that term as many of the audience actually stood further back from the stage to get a fuller scope of every band member. They have an energy I cannot quite describe yet but every member is remarkable. Stereotypically, many people want to be up close to musicians in this environment – Another Sky had us wanting to feel the atmosphere of the whole room that people were moving their bodies in the shadows and the back actually became more cramped than the front! It was a case of you had to be there. It might have been a one-off and I am glad I witnessed it. Dark, intense and atmospheric might be the way I could describe Another Sky. However, whatever, I say put them on your ‘ones to watch’ list.

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65DAYSOFSTATIC – Decomposition Theory tour and Gateshead Sage gig  | INTERVIEW

65DAYSOFSTATIC – Decomposition Theory tour and Gateshead Sage gig | INTERVIEW

65daysofstatic talk to us about the Decomposition Theory tour and upcoming Gateshead Sage gig

We spoke to Paul Wolinski about their fascinating new show and the process behind the music.

65daysofstatic - Boiler Shop Newcastle - December 2017
65daysofstatic – Boiler Shop Newcastle – December 2017

65days shows are already well known for being intense audio/visual immersive experiences and you have set the bar pretty high judging by your last Newcastle show at the Boiler Shop in December 2017! Can you give an idea of what to expect at the Decomposition Theory shows?

Thanks. That show was a nice way to finish off the touring we had been doing for our last record, which was the soundtrack to No Man’s Sky. Although that project as a whole was a leap forward to us in terms of music-making (because we wrote an infinitely-long, interactive soundtrack for the game), in terms of the live show, all that algorithmic/generative material got turned into fixed forms to better fit with the regular 65daysofstatic live show. Because usually, our shows are like how other bands do it – a few new songs alongside a lot of material from our back catalogue.

Decomposition Theory is a sharp break from that approach. It’s a different live set-up, and it’s us putting these new techniques front and centre, meaning there’s no back catalogue, it’s all about the new stuff. This isn’t a permanent state of affairs, but something we felt we wanted to try. The shows also have a big visual element too, we’ve made visuals that are very directly tied to the generation of the music, with the intention of making the process a little more visible to the audience.

Can you give us an insight into the songwriting/algorithm creating process? Is it totally electronic or do you have human input too?

It’s entirely human. All algorithms are inherently biased by the human/s who designed them. Ours are only different in that we leaned into that bias rather than worked under the illusion that algorithms could ever be natural. I’d say lines of code have about equal weighting to guitar pedals within the band at this point. Plus we are not dogmatic about this. We have no interest in becoming ‘the algorithmic band’. It’s not a gimmick, it’s just another tool we wanted to get good at. When the algorithms produce rubbish, we step in and try to make it better.

Will the performances be unique musical pieces?

This was the intention although as we’ve now done a few more shows, we notice that a lot of the music is solidifying. It’s becoming more like each show has unique iterations or remixes of the same songs rather than producing entirely new material. This is partly by design and partly because we don’t want to accidentally turn into a more electronic Spinal Tap circa their free-jazz improv period, with us just smashing out insane generative beats in 17/8 time that nobody can dance to. We always try to remember that unique does not automatically equal good. Especially when it comes to music.

What inspired the Decomposition Theory project?

It was a long time coming and involved too many factors to go deep into here. Decomp is not really an endpoint for us and although it’s a loose name for this collection of shows, really it’s more of a methodology that we’re trying to apply to everything we do as a band. I guess we want to antagonise the form of what a band can be, to challenge those expectations a little. It’s not about redefining 65, it’s more about escaping definition altogether. To make ‘being a band’ a process rather than a fixed state. This shows, the algorithmic approach, that’s really just one manifestation of what we’re thinking about these days as a group.

Should we expect any of your recorded material on the tour?

No. In the (very) unlikely event that any old material surfaces, it’ll be in some new weird, liquid form.

What’s next for 65days, any recording plans?

Yeah, probably but do you think that anybody can really reliably say what they’re going to be doing next at this point in civilisation??

65daysofstatic - Boiler Shop Newcastle - December 2017
65daysofstatic – Boiler Shop Newcastle – December 2017

65daysofstatic bring their Decomposition Theory show to Gateshead Sage on 24th November 2018

HAWKWIND | 20.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

HAWKWIND | 20.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Hawkwind – 20th October 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

About 3/4 way through the show as orchestra and band brought the epic Zarzorinia to a spectacular close having built it up to a mighty crescendo I blurted out “F**k me! That was outstanding!“ and to be fair those 5 words could easily be my “review” and I’d stand by it! But I best tell you a bit more…

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve only ever dabbled in Hawkwind and only know the odd track here and there despite them having always been a part of my musical history. So when I was asked if I would like to cover this I was a little apprehensive but I am always up for broadening my horizons. This is the second gig in almost as many weeks that I’ve been to with a “rock“ band being accompanied by an orchestra in the Sage. It’s a perfect venue for it though where every instrument can be heard balanced with each other providing a massive rich sound The orchestra set the scene with the opening of Assault and Battery conducted by Mike Batt (yep THE Mike Batt Of Wombles fame) as each member of the band take their positions before joining in and taking this 1975 classic to new heights!

Throughout the two hour set the visuals, as expected at a Hawkwind show, are as important and upfront as the music. Lasers, back projections, a myriad of coloured lights all come together with each track adding but never detracting from the music. Guesting on the mic is legend Arthur Brown in his trademark face paint and various costumes and especially on Sonic Attack his spoken word assault on the senses coupled with the bombastic mix of band and orchestra is quite nerve shattering! The return to a straightforward rocking Damnation Alley following it is like a breather.

The band played a few without the orchestra through the set, but for me, it was the combination of the two that really worked and going back to my first paragraph Zarozinia will possibly be one of the best band/orchestral performances I’m likely to witness! Whilst they are known as a “space rock” outfit it’s easy to forget that there are also some lovely intricate vocal numbers in their catalogue as well like We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago and Have You Seen Them both aired tonight.

Set closer Arrival in Utopia is the last to feature the orchestra and the band return to get the crowd to their feet for an encore featuring Spirit of the Age and yep, of course, Silver Machine!

Dave Brock may well be the only original member in the band but the chemistry he has with Richard Chadwick (drummer now for last 30 years) and Magnus Martin (guitar/ keys/vocal) and Niall Hone (bass/keys) (much respect to him too playing the set whilst ill) you’d think they’d been together from the start !

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STEVE HACKETT (Genesis Revisited) | 07.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

STEVE HACKETT (Genesis Revisited) | 07.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited with The Heart Of England Orchestra – 7th October 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The lights go down at 7:30pm and I’m trying to remember how many times that I have seen Steve Hackett since that Spectral Mornings tour all those years ago. The count is swiftly put to one side as the familiar melody and drum salvo intro of Dance On A Volcano kicks off this first of the evenings two sets. The six-piece already look comfortable and why wouldn’t they be having the back up of a 41 piece orchestra belting out behind them!

This tour is unique in that sense as it’s the first Genesis Revisited tour where Steve has taken out a full orchestra on tour Steve to take these timeless classics to a new level! Oh, my word it works more than you can try and explain in words!

Solo career tracks Out Of Body and The Steppes follow the Genesis opener and the latter of the two is just incredible. The orchestra adds so much cinematic quality and depth to this desert-themed tune it just soars!! Back to the archives and a track that if anyone else had in their catalogue it would be an encore or at least a set closer it’s such a fantastic piece Firth of Fifth. This is an absolute showstopper of a performance Nad Sylvan is probably the best I’ve seen him his confidence is just spot on hitting every note but as ever it’s THAT solo from Steve that leaves jaws on the floor!

Nad Sylvan

Bolstered by the strings and brass of the orchestra this time it just feels so new and exciting and has everyone wondering how they can follow that for the rest of the night! Dancing With The Moonlit Knight that’s how!!! From the Selling England album (which Steve is performing in full on next years tour) Nad yet again shines delivering some of (in my opinion) Gabriel’s finest lyrics ever with ease and dramatic flair! That’s not to say the band have it easy this track, in particular, has a lot going on and builds from a folk song like intro into a mad mix of time signatures handled with ease by the rhythm section of Gary O’Toole & Jonas Reingold on drums and bass respectively! Gary is featured on the more gentle Blood On The Rooftops before set one closes with a HUGE sounding Shadow Of The Hierophant receiving a standing ovation before a deserved interval!!

The double hit of Wind & Wutherings’ In That Quiet Earth & Afterglow gets the second set well and truly underway featuring Rob Townsend (Sax, flute, percussion) at the centre of it all. As the fade out into Afterglow kicked in it felt like the only thing missing was those old Boeing landing lights that created that iconic image of the band in photos of old.

Two more solo tracks Serpentine Song (written about Steve’s father) and the percussive El Niño are up next the latter showcasing Steve’s guitar work and various techniques to the max. Possibly progs most ambitious track closes the set … yep Suppers Ready, in all of its 29-minute glory every segment performed to perfection. I just sat immersed in the whole thing, the orchestra not only bolstering but adding so much more to its grandeur.

The final segment with Steve’s wailing solo, accompanied by 46 other musicians is something I won’t forget. This for most would have been enough but nope they return for the classic Musical Box with Roger King providing those familiar keyboard riffs around the sinister nursery rhyme tale and ferocious guitar work. A standing ovation on three tiers and rightly so. I have always said Hackett is an unsung hero of the guitar but those who know… know! Early in the set, Hackett said this tour was like all his Christmases in one and we were lucky to be a part of his early yuletide joy!

Massive praise to the Heart Of England Orchestra who absolutely nailed the arrangements Their conductor Bradley Thachuk led them brilliantly he was so into the performance turns out he grew up on rock and prog before going down the classical route so this was like his dream gig.

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MARK LANEGAN AND DUKE GARWOOD | 01.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MARK LANEGAN AND DUKE GARWOOD | 01.10.2018 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood – 1st October 2018 – Gateshead Sage

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

The gig was split into two sets with Lanegan & Garwood performing their albums Black Pudding and their latest release With Animals in their entirety one album per set I always think it’s a brave move doing an album in full but doing two is even bigger a risk. However, they pulled it off beautifully! Mark Lanegan has a voice I have loved for years in his various projects and it was on fine form this opening night of the UK tour. I’ll admit I wasn’t too familiar with the Black Pudding album but I really enjoyed the feel of each track especially Death Rides A White Horse and Cold Molly. It felt like these songs should be heard in the desert around a fire as Garwood’s hypnotic guitar drew you in and Lanegan’s vocal held you there! At times it was very trippy especially when Lanegan added to the other three members guitars and keyboards by taking a violin bow to a guitar set up like a double bass. It felt like the Shamen scene in Natural Born Killers at one point!

The second set of With Animals I was more familiar with as I’ve been listening to the album quite a bit lately. Again multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood was at the core of every song providing rich tones and melodies for Mark to provide his delivery over. Title track With Animals was outstanding, but I could be biased as I’ve had the refrain from that going round in my head since first listen so hearing it loud and live just topped it off!!

Save Me & Feast to Famine are also two of the finest album and gig openers you could want for this style! It’s always an impressive sound at the Sage even more so when the whistling duet between Mark and Duke at the close of Lonesome Infidel is crystal clear. It suddenly dawned on me that everyone was hanging on every note and unlike a lot of gigs of late there was no (or very little) talking from audience members which is a testament to the performers.

An encore of I am The Wolf & Burning Seas (Mark and Duke solo songs) sees the night out and whilst not a concert of visual proportions (two lights red and blue) and not a lot of interaction apart from a couple of thank you’s, I think musically it’s a show that will stay with a lot of people for some time.

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ORBITAL | 11.08.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ORBITAL | 11.08.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Orbital – 11th August 2018 – Sage Gateshead

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Turning the Sage concourse into a huge club for a night certainly paid off tonight! Suitably warming up the clubbers as they arrived and got used to the surroundings 586 Records owner and DJ Anthony Daly played out some wonderful warm vibes tunes.

Then up next were Plaid And The Bee (Warp Records) playing a live set the trio were silhouetted in front of giant video screens pumping out their electronic beats to an appreciative audience


By the time it was time for Orbital to hit the (very high) stage crowd were in full swing and the Hartnolls were given a huge reception as they went into opening track Lush 3-1 . From atop the 25ft riser they kept the party dancing with classics like Halcyon + On +On, Wonky, Satan and slipped in new tracks (P.H.U.K, Tiny Foldable Cities & The End Is Nigh ) from the forthcoming album Monsters Exist along the way amid more crowd pleasers . Belfast and Chime as always get the huge response they deserve and even after a rousing closer of The Box and Doctor? The party keeps going with a Man Power DJ Set into the night

Through the evening the video screens play a huge part of the experience adding visuals to each track along with the light show BUT for me one of the biggest stars of the night was the Sage building itself. It’s shape and structure added so much to the feel of the event the way the windows almost became extra screens reflecting the lights and videos and having the Tyne Bridge and city scape looking on just gave the whole event a unique feel. Having the stage / riser built up to the height of the first level of the building worked perfectly and the sold out crowd was just a sea of smiling dancing happy people!

It’s always odd taking photos of events like this where the artists are essentially playing the tracks from banks of keyboards and technology so I have tried to capture the feel of the night with lots of lights and building

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NIGHTMARES ON WAX | 22.06.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

NIGHTMARES ON WAX | 22.06.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Nightmares On Wax – 22nd June 2018 – Sage Gateshead

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I watched the crew place two huge armchairs, a massive leather sofa, an ice bucket complete with champagne and glasses on the stage, then they meticulously setup the drum kit, keyboards and mixers you just know it’s gonna be a relaxed affair. Nightmares On Wax have long been a go-to of mine when I just want some chilled out but not completely ambient vibes yet I have never managed to see them live so I went in already excited especially as their latest album Shape The Future is up there with their best. Tonights gig wasn’t just part of an album tour, it was also the beginning of The Great Northern Soundtrack at the Sage, a week-long celebration of music curated by Lauren Laverne and also the opening night of the Great Exhibition Of The North.

Before the set gets underway NoW’s main man George Evelyn completes the living room vibe by setting light to what looks like an entire pack of incense sticks and wafting the smoke around each of the musicians “station ” creating a chilled atmosphere but at the same time looking like a shamen warding off evil!!

The set features many of the newer album tracks like Back To Nature, Citizen Kane Tell My Vision and of course the title track but they also delve into the back catalogue with the likes of Les Nuits (one of my all-time favourite tunes ) and each enhanced with some stunning visuals on a huge screen and two large HD TV monitors behind the band.

While I was already totally captured by the performance what really made my night was when the band came out to take their places I thought I recognised the male singer and as soon as he sang I knew right away it was Leigh Steven Kenny formerly of LSK and he has sung with Faithless too. Now not taking anything away from Sadie Walker who sang beautifully all night I was totally blown away with Leigh’s performance He has a voice I have loved for a long time and it hasn’t changed a bit so this was like a double bonus for me !!

The standing pit at the Sage was full of people totally losing themselves in the music as expected but the usually reserved seated audience were up tonight too I haven’t seen the aisles that full with dancers for a long time if indeed ever.

In a spot where most artists would come out after the set and bang out another tune George instead takes the time to inform and explain a charity they are involved in called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life which was set up by another DJ pal of NoW to try and help get clean water supplies and wells to impoverished areas in the world and help out children in crisis check it out here lastnightadjsavedmylife.com

The night closes with Da Feeling and is very apt as everyone in the place has it!!!

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