MIDDLE KIDS | 21.11.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

MIDDLE KIDS | 21.11.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Middle Kids – 11th November 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Middle Kids - 11th November 2018 - Newcastle Think Tank
Middle Kids – 11th November 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

It’s going to be difficult to review this one without gushing! Not only did they release one of the best albums of the year with Lost Friends, they then go and put out a brilliant new single Salt Eyes recorded at none other than Ryan Adams Pax-Am Studio, after they supported him on tour. So on a cold November evening, Middle Kids from Sydney, Australia have come to play their first Newcastle show and I am glad to say their performance is on par with the high rating of the album!

Airing Salt Eyes as the second song in the set, I noticed many of the crowd singing along word for word. Hannah Joy’s voice is just awesome. She hits every emotion known, whether she’s behind the guitar or piano or just fronting the band with the mic tracks like Edge Of Town, Tell Me Something and Mistake are even bigger and better in a live performance. The atmosphere in the Tank tonight is fantastic, there’s a great rapport between band and crowd. I think it surprised them how many knew every word and they joked that they should take everyone on tour with them as a choir.

It’s difficult to describe where the music lies without pigeonholing it. They’re just great lo-fi indie pop songs and I’d say if you’re a fan of anything influenced by The Pixies, 10,000 Maniacs, Belly mixed with a bit of alt-country and some fantastic slide guitar then these could/should be your new favourite band.

Finishing the set with title track Lost Friends And Never Start, Middle Kids have definitely added more to their Newcastle fan base and I’d say they became another in a long list of Think Tank shows that everyone will claim to have been at when Hannah asks the sold out shows “So who saw us the first time we played here?”

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DUNES | TEN EIGHTY TREES | TOO CLOSE FOR MISSLES |  17.11.2018 | Think Tank | PHOTOS

DUNES | TEN EIGHTY TREES | TOO CLOSE FOR MISSLES | 17.11.2018 | Think Tank | PHOTOS

Dunes | Ten Eighty Trees | Too Close For Missiles – 17th November 2018 – Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Dunes – 17th Nov 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

These days I don’t get enough time to go out and enjoy local bands as much as I’d like but this one was unmissable. It was a great night. Lots of new Dunes tunes! I’m really looking forward to hearing their debut album, which should be out in 2019. Ten Eighty Trees were a ridiculous amount of fun and Too Close For Missiles even won me over despite my usual animosity towards pop-punk! All bands to watch out for!

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ARCANE ROOTS | BRYDE | 22.10.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ARCANE ROOTS | BRYDE | 22.10.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Arcane Roots and Bryde – 22nd October 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

By the time you read this Arcane Roots are no more. On Monday 22nd October they played the penultimate night of their ‘farewell tour’ at Newcastle’s Think Tank before parting ways and moving onto separate ‘long-term projects.’

I felt a bit of a fraud. This was my first time seeing them. Many had gathered as they have followed them a lot longer than myself some even from day one, including local band Boy Jumps Ship, who were in attendance for this last hurrah. The anticipation was high with the venue being fairly packed before support act Bryde came on. Nobody wanted to miss a single moment of this night.

Bryde, AKA Sarah Howells, quietly stepped onto the stage as audience members were in deep conversations but as soon as she said ‘hello’ the room fell with a magical silence as she opened her set with Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good. I have seen Bryde a number of times over the past few years. The first time I saw her she played solo. It was just her and an electric guitar. The other times following she was backed by a drummer and bassist/synth player. But on this tour it was like that first time and I am unsure if it was because this was the farewell tour for Arcane Roots or it was just the presence of Bryde and her music that had the crowd under a spell. There was no sound except claps of approval after each song in this strong half-hour set running through songs from her Welsh Music Prize nominated album of the year, Like An Island, and new song On The Subject Of Breathing. If Arcane Roots were not advertised as the headliner you could have been mistaken that this was Bryde’s headline gig.

The room became tighter and lights went out as smoke filled the stage for the trio Arcane Roots. The intensity of the room became, well, more intense as the echo of the guitar and keyboards filled the room to a dully red-lit stage. The haunting vocals of Andrew Groves immediately captured our breath, then the stage lights up between the smoke making the two other bandmates Adam Burton and Jack Wrench visible as well as  long-term friend and guest vocalist Emily Denton, as they open with the more electro-fused version of Before Me (Over) from the specially released Landslide EP with Matter (Revel) following straight after.

Long-term fans (and critics) held their last album Melancholia Hymns to mixed reviews with some believing the absence of heavy riffs took away what Arcane Roots became known for but if you were to witness this tour, this sound could not have been more perfect. The vocals of Groves are spellbinding. The instruments (bass, synths, drums, keys, acoustic guitar) and the dark smokey setting made the night feel ‘otherworldly.’ The room was packed but it was like your soul was in a dream-scape and you were alone. I have visited Think Tank on numerous occasions. On those occasions, you could be annoyed hearing someone near you talk or even the cash register and glasses clink due to the intimacy of the room but this night with these musicians these noises felt absent. Nobody dared spoil this moment.

Bryde is welcomed back to the stage for Indigo as Groves introduces her as, “Pissing all over them,” using the term very loosely to describe her opening support slot as a great introduction to their set. Emily Denton also rejoins for Rouen from their 2012 album Left Fire, which originally is a lot heavier than we witness on this night. This version with Emily on vocals is hypnotic that it makes you wonder if you really want to go really want to go back to the original version. Other notable heavier songs are Solemn and Belief but this tour was bringing them in a stripped back form which was perfect to how the Landslide tour was being delivered. It was also perfect as it allowed for more a connection with their fans, as Groves points out, they normally ‘have the plastics things stuck in their ears.’ So this more intimate setting allowed them to be closer to their fans. We were also treated to Winters Wept which is a song that has been ‘made up of songs littered in the spaces between song(s)’ from the Blood & Chemistry days. This tour would be the first time the song would get its live outing.

The Landslide tour was definitely the perfect way for Arcane Roots closing this chapter of their musical life on a high.

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PARIS MONSTER | 28.09.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

PARIS MONSTER | 28.09.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Paris Monster – 28th September 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I missed Paris Monsters show over at Surf Cafe earlier this year (or late last year time seems to fly so quickly) and now I’m kicking myself even harder having witnessed just how good they are!! Simply mesmerising from the get-go this duo have you in the palm of their hands. Soul/funk/disco/grunge it’s all here in a big melting pot pretty much defying being put into any genre! Moving swiftly past the fact they’re a two-piece whose drummer plays keyboards and sings at the same time it’s actually the songs that will remain with you and the talent that just oozes out of the pair of them as they play.
Josh Dion is king of the multi-task keeping the drum beat with feet and left hand, keyboard melodies and more drums with the right hand and a voice that could rival pretty much anyone I have ever seen. Geoff Kraly, however, isn’t just any old bass player either half of the melodies you hear and assume are keyboards are actually his bass. The funk of A Vision Complete has me wishing for a time when these old legs of mine could bust some moves. I was reminded at times and as excited of the first times I heard Pigeonhed. The soulful sound of Moles had the goosebumps at attention and even just typing this now has set them off again.
At one point Josh came stage front and sang unaccompanied and floored the whole room I turned to a friend and we both had that same jaw dropped “ Holy shit “ look on our face! It was gospel-like and if anything was ever going to turn me to religion it could a voice like this.
The album is out shortly so go get it and brace yourself for the next time they tour I really want everyone to go see this band and make them as huge as they deserve but Part of me also wants to keep them that little secret between those that know but I’m not that selfish though!

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EVIL BLIZZARD | 29.09.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

EVIL BLIZZARD | 29.09.2018 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Evil Blizzard – 29th September 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I’ll hold my hands up and admit I wasn’t at all familiar with the bands material pre-gig but at times that can be a good thing. Apart from the visual side of things (mannequin head, clown makeup, pig mask and more) the first real impact Evil Blizzard make is that there are four bass players up here along with a singing drummer and a keyboard/sampler! It certainly gets you wondering what the hell is going to happen.

You get your answer pretty soon as the band kick into Hello the opening track from their latest album; The Worst Show In The World a tremendously catchy beat and bassline gets fists pumping and crowd dancing! Fast Forward Rewind is another high light from that album and older numbers like Are You Evil and Slimy Creatures keep everyone happy and bouncing Throughout the set there is a lot of self-deprecating humour between band and crowd (chants of “you’re shit and you know you are“ signs telling the crowd to boo “hello Sunderland“ for example) but the tunes are anything but comedy Pinches of Killing Joke/PIL/Hawkwind can be heard in the swirling echoing delivery and it is just relentless with just those four bass guitars providing the riffs! A six string did make a brief appearance though, as well as a theremin type device disguised as a severed dolls head providing yet another disturbing image as it was held out for all to lay their hands on and create weird noises from!

I have to reiterate just how much their tunes pull you in every track almost trance-like. For their final gesture the last track sees the band inviting as many of the crowd as possible onto the stage as they play away through the tune and slowly one by one they somehow pass their instruments to crowd members unnoticed until they have left the stage only the sequencer making sense as fans play a cacophony of notes until the bands disappearing has been confirmed and the PA shut off!! I think they are definitely a live experience and I would definitely go again now knowing what can happen! I won’t say “expect “ as I reckon with these, anything can and will happen at a live show.

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ASHES OF IRON | DESERT STORM | KARMA TO BURN | 23.06.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

ASHES OF IRON | DESERT STORM | KARMA TO BURN | 23.06.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

Ashes Of Iron, Desert Storm and Karma To Burn – 23rd June 2018 – Think Tank Newcastle

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

A fantastic night of HUUUGE RIFFS kicking off with local heroes Ashes Of Iron with their groove-laden take on things. It’s great to see these lads getting better and better every time. Heavier vibe next with tour guests Desert Storm who I have seen before (also with KTB oddly enough) but again they have just got better and stronger.

Finally, Karma To Burn absolute legends in the genre I love this band and have seen many times and I am never disappointed. Any band that just have numbers for song titles of predominantly instrumental riffs that just build and build are getting thumbs up every time from me! The trio just connect on stage and you can’t help but be drawn into the hypnotic

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BULLY | 24.05.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

BULLY | 24.05.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

Bully – 24th May 2018 – Think Tank Newcastle

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

Storming set in the Tank, another in the ever increasing and encouraging list of bands to watch and get excited about!

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EMPLOYED TO SERVE | 23.07.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

EMPLOYED TO SERVE | 23.07.2018 | Think Tank Newcastle

Employed to Serve – 23rd July 2018 – Think Tank Newcastle – Review and photos

Feature By Graeme J Baty

Employed to Serve – 23rd July 2018 – Newcastle Think Tank

This marks my second time seeing ETS this year. On the previous occasion, I was that blown away I ordered both of their records from Holy Roar. Brilliantly put together records, the sound is amazing and the colours were enough to entice me! I was instantly hooked. They returned to Newcastle for a headline show and they brought two suitably awesome bands, I was really impressed with Leeched and Rough Hands.

Tonight they play their second album The Warmth of a Dying Sun in full and in order. Which also happens to be my favourite of theirs. I last saw them with Code Orange. It’s nice to see them now that I know the material and I can appreciate the details and craft to the songs. It’s quite a testament to a band if they can share a bill with the likes of Code Orange and give them a run for their money! They made quite a lasting impression on me. On first hearing them it’s somewhat of a wild ride, you never know what to expect, an album’s worth of densely packed riffs in just one song. It’s overwhelmingly impressive!

There’s a lot of depth to their writing compared to many in this genre and that elevates them in my humble opinion. It’s a mix of hardcore and tech metal blended into something new and utterly thrilling. Easily the best heavy band I’ve seen in years. They tour a lot and through hard graft are breaking through and gaining some deserved attention and accolades.

It’s a short and pummelling set, bashing out the album in a lean 45-ish minutes. There are a few familiar faces in tonight and I spotted at least one Code Orange tee so it’s great to see they have made lasting fans from those shows. I think the more ETS play those types of support slots the more their audience will grow.

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