WARD THOMAS | THE WANDERING HEARTS | 06.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WARD THOMAS | THE WANDERING HEARTS | 06.04.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Ward Thomas | The Wandering Hearts – 6th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Ward Thomas – 6th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

“It looks like heaven….It’s picture perfect paradise.” The first and third lines of Lie Like Me from country-pop twins Ward Thomas opens the show and this is what it feels like and definitely doesn’t “feel(s) like hell” like the second line of the song suggests as everyone that took up the standing area were packed in tight to get close to the action and from the get-go nearly everyone is singing as loudly as they can to the new numbers blending into the older ones with ease.

A lovely moment (with no disrespect to the amazing band) is when Catherine and Lizzy have the stage to themselves to give a heart wrenching stripped backed performances of Cartwheels, No Fooling Me and Deepest You; the latter welcoming Billy their guitarist back. You get to really feel the emotions in their harmonies. It really is a testament to singers when they can sing in this way and sound pitch perfect to the recorded versions or better in the case of Ward Thomas. But if you are familiar with Ward Thomas you know they can’t keep you sitting down for long and the upbeat numbers are dotted around the setlist which works brilliantly. The majority of the crowd came to dance there cares away and even those that had to settle for the upper tiers were on their feet as crazy as those in the standing area. Credit to those guys, as I wouldn’t want to be on my feet that high up! I am unsure how we could have cranked up the atmosphere any more but we did with I Believe In You as claps tripled in volume and more audience members lent their voices to the singalong.

Another medley comes but this time with songs from their first album From Where We Stand with The Good And The Right, A Town Called Ugley and Push For The Stride, which is probably as close to honkey-tonk country as we get. And oh, you could just feel the power more so in their vocals with the last song of this medley. It sure got my heart thumping as mad as the beat of the drum. You could definitely feel those who were seated were ready to get on their feet.

My personal highlight came with Rather Be Breathing. Since getting their latest album it’s one of the songs that really gets to every bone of my body. From the beat and the ‘whistles’ in the darkness of the room before the lights came on I actually had to hold back the tears. I can’t describe the actual feeling but it’s definitely one of those songs for me.

You really couldn’t fault the setlist. Catherine and Lizzy brought everything to the table and covered what they could from all three albums in this hour and twenty minutes with Carry You Home not only closing the night but the whole of the UK Restless Minds tour. If you wanted to witness perfection this would be close to it.

Speaking of perfection, as if Ward Thomas fans would not be satisfied enough with just seeing Ward Thomas, I would say they made about half the room more ecstatic with Americana’s other sweethearts The Wandering Hearts as their support act. AJ Dean, Chess Whiffin and Tara Wilcox played a solid harmony blazoned set with songs from their critically acclaimed debut album Wild Silence. They played last years concourse stage at SummerTyne festival in the same venue and just like that day the queue to meet them was crazy. I believe it was still quite a length as showtime for the headliners was getting closer. Let’s just say if you WANT an audience just put both Ward Thomas and The Wandering Hearts on the bill and you WILL get those numbers and one helluva atmosphere.

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ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND | ELIZABETH LIDDLE | 05.04.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND | ELIZABETH LIDDLE | 05.04.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Art School Girlfriend | Elizabeth Liddle – 5th April 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Have you ever been to a gig where everything feels complete and then at the end of it you think, ‘what just happened?’ I have been to gigs where I have had ‘moments’ and there are only a handful, yes I can actually count them on one hand, where I have become so immersed in the gig that I have forgotten most of it because each second was perfect. I had people come talk to me before and after the support act and headliner. I remember those parts but tell me to describe the gig for you and I am a bit lost for words. Thankfully I managed to grab a setlist to trigger some moments.

So, Friday 5th April at Cluny 2, what can I tell you?

Local girl Elizabeth Liddle opened the night. She quietly took her place behind the keyboard where her fingers glided over the keys giving us gorgeous melodies with her silky powerhouse vocals. They held the audience captivated and most of them hidden in the seated area at the back of the venue. It was a dreamy set so why would you not want to sit back and relax but as her name gets known there’s no doubt in my mind there will be more bodies in the room that they will want to get closer to the action.

Elizabeth Liddle – 5th April 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Credit to all that turned up to this venue to see this artist on this date as before Art School Girlfriend was announced I had my heart set on another show that was rescheduled, then another was announced and a few more that I would have loved to have gone to but as soon as I saw this show scheduled I knew that there was only one I would and could attend and those that joined me also knew that there was only one show to be at especially after hearing what they had to say afterwards.

The room took a moment’s silence as the electro pulsating beats of Distance opened the show as Art School Girlfriend, AKA Polly Mackey, and her band settled on stage and a few more bodies took to the floor area. After each song the audience sent rapturous applause and a few thumping yells of ‘yes!’. We are a relatively smaller crowd than I anticipated but we made sure our appreciation was heard as ASG sends us into a whirl of electro dreamscapes from the opening number to the last note. We get the tracks from her previous two EPs, Measures and Into The Blue Hour, and are also introduced to the latest single Come Back To Me and an even newer one called Diving.

I realised during Uncomfortable Month that I was actually singing along at a mild volume to every word besides Diving. Until this night for a while I have skilled the art of lip-syncing as I have noticed at a few gigs my fellow gig-goers can over-sing the artist which can get annoying but the sound was loud enough that I didn’t realise I was actually singing until I mouthed my favourite lyrics of ASG’s which is, “You’re so shy, I could kill you out of love.” I even caught myself smiling at this point too. It’s a lyric that just GETS me!

There have been a few gigs I have been looking forward to going into 2019 but this gig was the one that I anticipated the most and I don’t know why but after the night I knew I was right to trust that gut feeling. A few I spoke to afterwards eagerly waited to try and talk to Polly after the show. I say try as some then left without a word as she left them speechless.

I am unsure if these words are really a ‘review’ so to speak but what I can say is that from having  seen Art School Girlfriend at a festival and a rowdy showcase where people were queuing to get in (and many missing her set due to the numbers) to a solo support show for another artist and two headlines of decent audience numbers in Newcastle, every performance has been quite euphoric and the most recent one tops them all. Art School Girlfriend will soon be mouthed from the lips of more people and the best thing about it is that she is so humble that I don’t think she realises just how great she is and how the music captures others souls.

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CLEAN CUT KID | TOM SPEIGHT | 31.03.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

CLEAN CUT KID | TOM SPEIGHT | 31.03.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Clean Cut Kid | Tom Speight – 31st March 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

It’s always quite tough being the support act as you never know who will turn up for your set and if they will like you, as many if not all would have bought a ticket to see the headline act. On this night Tom Speight would open for Clean Cut Kid.

Tom and accompanying musician Lydia Clowes gave us a stunning set, but on the mention that he was going to be on Radio 2 soon, there was almost a flat response but then a mention of Glastonbury quickly followed and the reaction was the complete opposite. With that we definitely knew what type of crowd we were dealing with and as the set grew so did the audience that he won over especially with the Phil Collins cover ‘In The Air Tonight,’ with Lydia giving the drum part a good going. We had a bit of crowd participation with phone lights and the duo coming into crowd for a song titled Joni and a special guest appearance from frontman of the headliners, Mike Halls, giving some impressive backing vocals along with Lydia. The crowd were not prepared for that and it was a bold move that when he ended his set a lot were genuinely quite sad.

Ironically, or maybe not, Clean Cut Kid open with the song Goodbye from their latest album, Painwave and if that is how you say goodbye I think we need more of it – an upbeat melody with sad lyrics actually works especially in the Clean Cut Kid way.

As with any headliner, the floor space immediately fills up closer to show time and the hardcore fans were already in place with Clean Cut Kid over their chests for all to see (in T-shirt form) and with a big booming ‘hello Newcastle’ from Evelyn the vibe was set. Evelyn tells us that she is originally from down the road which gets a huge cheer. The new songs went down well and those that knew the words were mouthing them with such passion as they bounced around while others were literally smiling throughout in awe of the energy. As a photographer I was actually lost as to where to point the camera, as I wanted to make sure I caught this energy in a still frame. Hope I’ve caught this for you.

Mike does most of the talking throughout the night and has us laughing even through the sad moments of when he describes, ‘Hayden, Give Love’ and ‘Jason.’ Clean Cut Kid actually say that the new album is, “reaching out to the listener and saying “ok let’s talk about these things we’re not meant to say out loud,” and what better way to ‘talk’ than through the power of music. And with the power of music, there’s actually a dedication to new bassist Gaz who fell out with Mike for a good few years. The crowd laugh but we are told it is a true story as we go into the mellow ‘Brother Of Mine.’ I can’t help but stress how many people were smiling but if you really heard the lyrics, WOW! And tonight reflecting on it that is how ‘Red Green Black’ came to me especially the lyric, “but then the colours went away like the memories fading fast.” Hearing it on record is one thing then hearing it live with the people that wrote it takes it to another level.

Before the night ends we get a storming trio from their debut album kicking off with title track ‘Felt’ then ‘Pick Me Up’ before the mini encore that gives us, as the kids say ‘a serious bop’ with ‘Vitamin C’ and the ‘kids’ have the whole room jumping with not only the infectious guitar hook but the song as a whole. But the ultimate ending of the night comes with, ‘Emily,’ and I mean that in the sense it is such an anthemic tune. The crowd singing, “there’s a hole in your heart,” is a special moment as I round off my March gigs with a song that ‘takes depression completely for what it is, and doesn’t try to make it seem less important than it is, but discusses it in such a raw and pure manner,’ as Mike has described it previously. I did not want to be seeing Clean Cut Kid this night. I wasn’t ready to have these danceable tracks come to me with their deep lyrical meanings as March 2019 was a month I really wanted to give up a lot of things but music and the added bonus of live music with my camera kept something positive ticking away inside me. This night Clean Cut Kid made me have a night out in my happy place and quoting Mike on the night he says “it’s like playing in your living room,” as they were so chilled and I like many was chilling and bopping our cares away.

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BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH | ROSIE CARNEY | 27.03.2019 | Newcastle Wylam Brewery | REVIEW and PHOTOS

BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH | ROSIE CARNEY | 27.03.2019 | Newcastle Wylam Brewery | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Benjamin Francis Leftwich | Rosie Carney – 27th March 2019 – Newcastle Wylam Brewery

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

This night really was one of those nights where it was wonderful to get down early to capture the full set of the support act and more so in the stunning venue of Wylam Brewery nestled in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park. Rosie Carney is a new name to me and seeing her in this setting was like a dream under the stars, as pretentious as that sounds. I wasn’t looking at the audience but I could feel they were witnessing what I was. You almost felt afraid to breathe in case you upset the mood. Rosie had an accompanying cellist which added to this most beautiful atmosphere. What a perfect start to the evening.

There was a nice long interval between Rosie and the man of the night Benjamin Francis Leftwich coming to the stage but when he did that mood and atmosphere increased. The vibrant chatter amongst friends fell to almost immediate silence as a melancholic version of Davis Bowie’s, We Could Be Hero’s’ filled the darkened room as a huge bright spotlight lights the empty stage (besides instruments) as you wonder when will Leftwich come to the stage. As the song reaches a climax he and accompanying keys player, Lowpines (AKA Oli Deakin) do appear and open with Sometimes from his latest release, Gratitude. Unlike the support act, I was the sole photographer but then another two joined me for Leftwich’s set, which in the environment of the Wylam Brewery and Leftwich’s music probably isn’t the best thing, as each one of our clicks makes him ‘want to die,’ as they echo in the room. I totally get this and just before he starts 1904 he checks in on the audience making sure they are having a good time – and they definitely are – but he also says that he doesn’t mind people taking a recorded memento of him on stage just as long as it is without sound effects as it makes him nervous and credit to him for saying this and in a lovely manner. In fact, the only sound effects we get for the remainder of the night is the odd fan here and there singing along to his songs, or in my case, one fan singing every word back in my ear throughout the whole night. Luckily she was in tune and in time.

Leftwich’s stage presence is something quite special. The bright spotlight shines on him. He is dressed simple. The stage is simple but as he starts strumming the guitar and sings every note he feels quite monumental. I glance at the audience now and then and I can see their breathlessness! Leftwich tells us this night is very different from previous dates played on this tour where the crowds were rowdy and screaming his name, whereas in Newcastle, although we have a reputation, when it comes to musicians like Leftwich we are as he says, ‘so chill’. The crowd, of course mimic and shout back his name but besides this and the rapturous applause between numbers it remains pretty silent, which seems to triple the meaning and the feel of his music. He echoes this feeling as he steps out in front of the mic to the edge of the stage to sing Pictures and later Shine and allows the acoustics of the room carry his voice and half of the audience whispering along the lyrics. Oh the feels.

Leftwich really has had one helluva journey and if he is not thanking the audience tonight (which he does a LOT), he is thanking someone from his team with heartfelt thanks as they each get their own special mentions throughout rather than grouped one. Benjamin Francis Leftwich really is a genuine down to earth person. He is like your mate next door who just happens to be a musician and when he performs in a room full of people it feels like he doesn’t really know just how loud the volume of his music is, although it is stripped back when played live. That really is the power of music and when he performs the last song of the night, Atlas Hands, it feels like we should be in the biggest arena or field, as every voice sings along with him feels like twenty thousand in this one intimate room. This is the moment you live for at live shows.

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DAVID GRAY | L.A. SALAMI | 24.03.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

DAVID GRAY | L.A. SALAMI | 24.03.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

David Gray | L.A. Salami – 24th March 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

L.A. Salami started the night with many in the room not having a clue who he was prior to this gig but he definitely had many talking by the time his set ended. One person even muttered, “It’s actually nice to hear someone sing something with actual real meaning.”

A tune plays in the background at a nice volume as people settled for showtime. Unsure if people thought it was a part of the show but it definitely felt like it and as soon as the figures appear on stage and a hello from David Gray comes there’s a huge cheer as The Sapling from his latest album, Gold In A Brass Age, opens the show.

The show itself feels huge. It’s a sell-out this night. All bodies are still and silent. As a write this, I have read again and again about people talking at gigs being a big no-no and I totally agree. The odd whisper is good but not through the whole show and at a volume where you can’t hear the artists and this night it seems all but that one woman are in agreement. I don’t know if it is because it’s a Sunday or because of the grand venue we are in and the music of David Gray not being of the ‘beer swigging’ standard. This is not a bad thing and this is not a negative reflection on the audience as at every song change the claps and vocal appreciation feels electrifying. They just seemed in awe with every second Gray and his band give us this night of music. But good on that woman whooping and trying to get the venue clap along at the appropriate moments, though deep down I think she wanted it the whole night.

Back to David Gray though. His (and the band) performance was such a calming experience. It was one of those perfect gig moments where you get lost for a few hours and everything feels right in the world no matter what subject matter is being sung about. Until this moment I have only ever seen Gray on television with a guitar or behind a keyboard. I have never seen him do what he did this night. He was loop peddling between guitar swaps – huge nod to the guitar tech doing the swiftest of changeovers and allowing Gray and band to smoothly carry on. As he starts, A Tight Ship, he sings into his ukulele to capture a sound then quickly takes up his place behind the keyboard with no note missed. What a moment especially for a first-timer of a David Gray show. Other moments include Gray letting loose and busting a few moves which could definitely have given Elvis a run for his money.

We are given a ‘solo’ section, not that Gray really needs it as from the second he stepped on the stage he owned it, even though the backing band are fantastic, it is a wonderful part of the show which includes Snow In Vegas that was a duet with LeAnn Rimes from his 2016 Best Of album, his 2002 hit The Other Side and a Bob Dylan cover One Too Many Mornings. This is also the moment where Gray does the most talking as he mentions his grandfather being from South Shields. The biggest cheers come with The Other Side and it is no surprise that other songs from that era also get this reaction – Sail Away came earlier in the night.

When the band rejoin Gray on stage, a few more amazing numbers come from his current album but his ‘biggest hits’ close out the night in the form of Babylon with This Years Love and Please Forgive Me in the encore which really gets the crowd on their feet….and you wonder why they just didn’t do this from the start….however it’s also good that they didn’t – one reason because I may have been the shortest person in the room and secondly people really got to sit back and take in every moment in admiration of David Gray and it really was that kind of night where you appreciated the silence and be in awe of art.

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KT TUNSTALL | LAUREL | 11.03.2019 |  Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

KT TUNSTALL | LAUREL | 11.03.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

KT Tunstall and Laurel – 11th March 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

What I absolutely love about both the support act and headliner on this night is that there are no airs and graces but pure passion and appreciation of being able to do what they do for an audience that has gathered, who are also just as appreciative of what they see before them. With each drop of the ‘f-bomb’ it is done so with so much love.

Laurel is starting to make a name for herself and has been touring the more intimate venues for a few years. She admits that she is a huge fan of headliner KT Tunstall and is thriving on every moment given to her. The last three times I have seen her the crowds have been somewhat rowdier but the Sage crowd is quite a contrast that the first ‘f-bomb’ of the night is dropped as she is amazed by the attentiveness. The only time it gets really loud is when she and her band shout the ‘yeah’ bit in Lovesick.

Laurel has an instant connection with the crowd that when she introduces South Coast someone asks where she is from. Jokingly her instant reply is ‘the south coast,’ but then she says Plymouth and the crowd cheer which is some feat as this gig is in the North East. The volume is tripled as she introduces the last song Adored as the audience want her to stay a longer. Showing their appreciation at the interval there is a never ending queue for her at the merch stand.

KT Tunstall – 11th March 2019 – Gateshead Sage

A booming ‘Hey Micky’ comes as the room darkens then appears the lady of the night KT Tunstall and with a quick hello the members of her band join her to open with the song that is wrote on her white guitar, Uummannaq Song. She narrates that we are in a Sage shaped space ship travelling to the furthest side of the world before starting ‘Other Side Of The World.’ Tunstall is quite clever like this and we get these soundbites throughout the night that lead into her songs. There is also a personal connection in that she talks of the rivers of “Gateshead and surrounding areas” reminding her of home as well as those “clear blue skies then stepping out and it’s like fuuuccckkk!” She maybe LA based now, but she still talks like a true Scot.

There is so much energy in the air and true or not the band slip off twice for their ‘beer break’ and Tunstall is on the stage alone, just her with a guitar, a loop pedal and a tambourine then later a harmonica. She says most people probably spent their hard on cash to see her because of the song that has now become a ‘karaoke classic’ that she couldn’t be more proud of as she can now buy a few rounds of drink. The way she plays Black Horse And The Cherry Tree is one of those special moments where it feel like it is just you and her in the room even when the room is clapping along leading into the band coming back and a mash-up huge loud mash up with the classic hit Black Betty is played.

Although Tunstall has a stellar back catalogue we also get some from her latest release Wax with Little Red Thread being a personal favourite on the night visually. We get back-to-back of The Night That Bowie Died, Dark Side Of Me and The Mountain as she asks for us all to just get lost in the music. Besides the claps in between each song the room obliges and is still as we let her do her thing. What a moment. But being KT Tunstall we go out on a with the heavy rockier song ‘The Healer’ before she is off and the crowd call for her back.

The crowd is rewarded with ‘Invisible Empire’ and a rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t Back Down,’ which makes the room still and silent once again and it is such a beautiful moment. I could watch and listen to Tunstall perform this way all night but her vibrant soul is also something to be witnessed and it probably couldn’t be more fitting that the night ends with ‘Suddenly I See’ and those that were sitting before that were invited to stand earlier in the night were right up on their feet with everybody else in the room. If only Sage had room for those big streamers this was the moment for them as the band leave the stage and Tunstall runs and hand slaps those at the front with a big shout of “we totally love ya.” That feeling is echoed back to her as the venue empties.

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KATHRYN JOSEPH | SHHE | 26.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

KATHRYN JOSEPH | SHHE | 26.02.2019 | Gateshead Sage | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Kathryn Joseph | Shhe – 26th February 2019 – Gateshead Sage

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

“I’m still at the stage in my head where I can’t believe anyone would pay to listen to this shit!” Well, Kathryn Joseph believe it as being there to listen and watch her night at the Sage was one of the most beautiful things to witness, even with a lot of expletives! Saying that, the amount of times ‘fuck’ did come up actually made not only the performance more real but also made Joseph more real too, as there are many times you can put those whose music you admire on a pedestal and many times they ‘go to script.’ With Kathryn Joseph it really was what you see is what you get and it was, not sure if ‘adorable’ is the right word but I am going with it!

Before Joseph’s set we are welcomed by SHHE. I finally managed to search for her on the world wide web a few hours before the show and there was only one song I could find. Eyes Shut literally stopped me in my tracks and made me more excited of the night ahead and she did not disappoint. SHHE is very minimalistic but very powerful in the sense that I was pretty breathless watching her. So dreamy it was captivating that it sure silenced us all.

As soon as Joseph steps onto stage it feels like an open dialogue, or maybe monologue, as the audience are still and silent throughout most of the show, though she has us laughing through most of the night to the commentary she has to most of the songs. There are some sad moments too and to have the audience let it all be about Joseph was perfect.

We are given, I believe the whole of her new album, From When I Wake The Want Is, in its entirety and there are a few dedications to audience members, namely the musician Kathryn Williams who is there this night, is the song And You Survived. Not related to the song, but we are told a hilarious story of a Twitter live feed from Williams being an overnight guest at Josephs’ or was it more of a kidnapping! A dedication also goes to her support SHHE with Mountain where she says that although it’s been great having her on the tour it is also a regret as every night she has to follow her beautiful set. There is a wonderful feeling of gratitude from Joseph to these artists and what I noticed during SHHE’s set was that Joseph was there for its entirety. SHHE echoed this and was there throughout the whole of Josephs set.

Gratitude is what Joseph has. Two songs we are given this night, There Is No God But You and The Weary from her 2015 album, Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled, could set you on the edge of tears for the subject matter of people going through battles of illness and loss and being worse off than yourself. The way she performs them, in fact the way she performed the whole evening was like you were in a room listening to her sing only to you. To watch her, to listen to her and to be at a live show of Kathryn Joseph is a pretty special experience. These words I write will never do it justice. It’s just a brief summary.

It was a night of joy, sadness, laughs, engagement and a huge shout out to her single Weight being at number 8 in the official singles chart. Joseph has been around a for a while, she came to my attention through ‘new artists’ coming onto the scene posting admiringly social media posts and I am so glad this happened as I do not think I could experience another night like this, unless it is another night with Kathryn Joseph. In my own selfish way though, although the night in terms of lights and set were simple and perfect, a bit of smoke could have added to the ambience (and photographs) and lost me to the night completely. Saying that, Joseph had my emotions from the second she stepped onto the stage to the moment she left.

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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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WHITE LIES and BONIFACE | 04.02.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

WHITE LIES and BONIFACE | 04.02.2019 | Newcastle Boiler Shop | REVIEW and PHOTOS

White Lies and Boniface – 4th February 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

I was sat in a pub, around the corner from the venue before doors opened, there were many getting in high spirits with their VIP upgrade lanyards and T-shirts emblazoned with White Lies. There was an excitement brewing. We were celebrating White Lies fifth studio album and their tenth year in the industry. One fan really was in the spirits as he was covered head to toe in the merch stand!

Boniface - 4th Feb 2019 - Newcastle Boiler Shop
Boniface – 4th Feb 2019 – Newcastle Boiler Shop

Canadian quartet Boniface fronted by Micah Visser welcomed the early gig-goers, which there were quite a number of, giving us ‘indie sensibility and making it glisten.’ The two members on synths/keys with guitars were very eye-catching as they bounced around in their spots while Micah does mainly the static lead singer holding mic pose with added guitar and coming to life from time to time and at one point joining in on the keys. A very energetic performance and a choice support band.

Excitement and intoxication filled the packed Boiler Shop as the band stepped on stage and with the first glance of them chants of “Harry” came as opening track from their latest release starts and a singalong from the get-go to Time To Give. Harry McVeigh is a great frontman and genuinely seems pleased to be back in Newcastle as at every opportunity he is beaming with arms raised and gives the city a huge shout-out more than I have ever heard any band when interacting with a crowd.

There is a great mix of material from the new album ‘Five’ but songs from the back catalogue are greatly received too with the thumping Farewell To The Fairground being first up and when Harry asks the crowd to sing back they do it with so much passion, that you wouldn’t quite believe we are in a 1000 capacity venue. The sound is loud and the lights go from static blues, reds then bursts of other colours and strobes, which adds to the excitement of the night. As the night goes on many gig-goers try their best to get to where people had already taken the prime spots but those in them were not going to let them go without a fight. Luckily none of that happened as the majority just wanted to live this experience with other gig goers.

The chants for Harry come and go throughout the night but the other members are just as energetic with Charles Cave on bass and backing vocals and thumping out the energy on drums is Jack Brown. On this tour, the three-piece become a four with Tommy Bowen letting his fingers do the magic on the keys. But Harry’s charisma really does steal the show and at every opportunity his arms are up in the air as if to say, ‘let me embrace every single moment of this night just as much as you are,’ especially with the tenth anniversary of their first release and as he mentions this the crowd erupt. It’s a very nostalgic moment for the majority of the room as they remember how old they were when Unfinished Business hit the airwaves and they jump having the time of their lives. This feeling stays for the stand out track on the new album, Tokyo, and Harry feels this and is literally thumping his fist on his chest as the crowd get rowdier.

The whole night is full of energy. You wonder when you are going to catch your breath but that comes when Harry returns solo for the encore and sits behind the keyboard to play Change from the Big TV album and it is the quietest the crowd becomes. What a moment. But of course the night could not end like that and we are treated to the anthemic To Lose My Life and the loudest I hear Charles’ vocals. It’s good to have these guys back and being ever so humble. Ten years you say. Here’s to another ten.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Images Copyright Victoria Wai. For permission to use these images please contact victoriawai.co.uk


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THE HOWL AND THE HUM and SAUVAGE | 24.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW

THE HOWL AND THE HUM and SAUVAGE | 24.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW

The Howl And The Hum and Sauvage – 24th January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)

Has a band ever captured your attention purely because their name interested you? I know there have been bands that caught people’s eye because of this, even before you’ve heard the music; The Howl And The Hum are one of those bands. I caught their set at last year’s Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough and they simply stunned me into silence. Their headline show at Newcastle’s The Cluny was a whole different affair to that show a few months prior but equally as entertaining.

Sauvage. Photo by Victoria Wai

Support of the night came from Newcastle quartet Sauvage, who sometimes go the other way with their namesake especially due to Johnny Depp and unfortunately not by the French translation of ‘wild!’ But don’t let that name get to you, they bought a solid half-hour set for the early gig goers with a mix of indie and psych sides. Each member had their own energy and you didn’t quite know who to focus your attention on. I heard a few murmurs of people in the crowd who had seen them before saying that was the best they have ever seen them play. I put my hands up as one of them. I don’t know what has happened over the past few months but something is definitely working for the better.

As with most headline acts those milling at the back soon came forward as The Howl And The Hum were ready to start. We were the hum waiting for the howl!

A few months ago I saw these guys play, it was dark and intense. The same came tonight, in the upgraded Cluny from Cluny 2, but there were a lot more stories to be told and not only through their music. Unlike the support act, The Howl And The Hum definitely had a ‘star’ of the band and that came from frontman Sam Griffiths. I mean most bands do have THAT frontman and he delivers. Not taking anything away from the other three members Bradley Blackwell, Conor Hirons and Jack Williams as the band is greater than the sum of its parts.

Hip swerving Sam guides us through a tight 45 minute set of atmospheric alt-rock as he tells us many of the songs are about possessions from sharks to bus tickets. It definitely had the crowd that bit more intrigued than if we were given a straight-up performance of their music and the usual patter you get from stage to crowd. The melodic sounds then big thumping bass and guitars mould into a very entertaining set that the crowd were thoroughly into.

‘Don’t Shoot The Storm’ is a song about not shooting bullets into a hurricane. Sam on top of his impressive ‘woo’s’ also gives us some great dance moves to participate with. Strangely the song that came about staring at the back of a Megabus while in a Fiat Punto, ‘Sweet Fading Silver,’ captivates the audience and sends a roar through the room but personally ‘Portrait I’ and ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge,’ were personal highlights to a highly entertaining night that I walk away with The Howl And The Hum as a musical possession to press play to every now and then.