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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WALK OFF THE EARTH | 01.05.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WALK OFF THE EARTH | 01.05.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Walk Off The Earth – 1st May 2018 – Sage Gateshead – Review and photos

It’s been 5 years since WOTE played here and tonights’ packed Gateshead Sage welcomed them back with open arms. This is a band who have 14 MILLION views on one Youtube video alone and over 3 million subscribers to their channel. Their secret? FUN! Yes, they cover other artists a lot of the time but they make the versions unique and create videos you can watch time and time again to just wonder how much time and effort they have to put in to get the timing right with the instrument acrobatics and timing! This stands for their own material too just take a look at the video for Red Hands and the one showing how it was made to see how much work they put in!

I digress though back to the sage and from the moment the lights go out there is a feeling that this is a show – Road crew running on to fix “faulty gear” before 4 of the band (Joel , Gianni, Sarah & Marshall) appear behind a table atop a riser and kick things off with that 14million times viewed cover of Shape Of You performed pretty much exactly as it is in the video with the plastic tubes and ratchets etc

This sets the night up pretty well and they split the set nicely between Youtube favourite covers and their own original material all performed as they are in said videos or with accompanying moves! As always Beard Guy (Mike Taylor) gets an ovation for pretty much every movement throughout the night!

To be honest I’m not gonna list which other covers they did as it could spoil it for anyone still to see them but their own songs like Red Hands, Revo, Taekwondo (with added Ninja action ) & the newest single Nomad amongst others sounded great. And it’s been a long time since I heard a crowd start singing a bands chorus to get an encore rather than just clapping

The band are amazing musicians playing everything from kazoos to brass to theremin to plastic tubes as well the more expected planks of wood and wire it’s just hard keeping up with who’s playing what at any given time

The energy from start to finish is incredible with band members swapping instruments mid-song, never mind at the end of one and a big applause has to go to their crew members who are in charge of catching the flying ukuleles !! Seriously they are such a striking visual experience that photos and words can’t do them justice. Which is possibly why they have millions upon millions of viewers and sold out shows. Confetti cannon by 3rd song could peak some artists but not these guys they just build on it until the last song where everything is being used confetti balloons flags you name it! They have a great rapport with their fans worldwide and the smiles on everyone’s faces young and old leaving the building spoke volumes !! Sometimes all you need is a night of unadulterated fun

 

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ARCANE ROOTS | 27.02.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ARCANE ROOTS | 27.02.2018 | Sage Gateshead | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Arcane Roots – 27th February 2018 – Sage Gateshead

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I’ve absolutely gutted that this gig coincided with the freakiest weather we have experienced in ages causing chaos on the roads! Not only did traffic and conditions make me miss most of the supports but I also had to bail early from Arcane Roots due to weather worsening! I can’t really review the gig properly because of that. BUT can say the time I was there the band were absolutely on fire! The latest album Melancholia Hymns has become of my favourite releases of last year and the tracks I heard tonight were just blistering.

Anyway here’s a load of photos that I took whilst there I love the way they use the lights to create shadows and silhouettes hope you do to.

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