Live Music Reviews
The atmosphere in the Star and Shadow was electric as Peculiar Disco Moves gave all they had to the audience on the night. Belting out a mix of new songs from their second EP ‘The Domino Effect’ as well as some old songs they had the crowd dancing all night long.
Each song had it’s own story as Alix Shepherd, on lead vocals, explained before each song. Never before had I realised how ingenuous PDMs are as they sang topical songs such as footballers wages to and your toe tapping to every tune. With their high energy on stage, great personality and catchy songs their set was great fun and left me with a smile on my face.
Split Festival, Sunderland’s annual music event, now in its fourth year seemed to divide its interests. The controversy lies with the wishes of the festival founders, The Futureheads, they wanted to make the event a “festival for the North East that happens to be in Sunderland”, as Ross Millard from the band told NARC Magazine.
Although attending the festival I left feeling it was more ‘a festival for Public Image’. Despite this the quality and breadth of music across the weekend was excellent. There was a great mix of local and outside of the region bands, mostly indie-rock or pop bands, however I also enjoyed this year’s new Sunderland Folk stage.
Just some of the acts that stood out across the weekend included The Chapman Family, who played the main stage on Sunday. They performed a storming set that had the crowd electrified with their dark gritty indie rock. They are not a band for the light-hearted as their Morrisy like lead singer shouted each lyric at you and the floor vibrated due to the heavy subdued bass guitar.
A few others include Algiers with their good banter, catchy lyrics and really fun set that had everyone dancing. Citizens! Were just as fun, coaxing the crowd with their 80’s throw back indie-pop music full of synths and rhythmical guitar riffs that had toes-a-tapping in the crowd.
Then to round off the weekend The Futureheads took pride in closing the festival with their warm, interactive set. Everyone got behind singing along to the bands ‘classics’ such as a capella ‘Old Dun Cow’ and ‘Hounds Of Love’ it was a great uplifting end to a varied festival this year.
By Ruth Edmundson – Photographs on Flicker by Bradley Davison : http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearonthepulse/sets/72157631808243878/
Evolution Emerging is an annual night of free live music that takes place across various venues in Ouseburn, Newcastle. It can be descried as the pre-party to the larger Evolution festival that takes place on the banks of the Tyne, over the bank holiday weekend in June.
This year’s Evolution Emerging took place over six venues and hosted 27 bands from 7pm till about 11pm, with an after show party taking place at The Star and Shadow cinema. This year was the first time I had attended Evolution Emerging and was unsure of how it all worked and where exactly all the venues were in relation with one another.
My original plan was to stay at The Cumberland Arms all night not realising just how close all the venues were to each other, in all honesty I was worried I would get lost. Thankfully I was able to visit four of the venues and see five bands in total. The downside however was I couldn’t get to see everyone I was hoping to but that is a problem which couldn’t be avoided with the wide range of bands on at the same time. However below i have listed my overview of those bands I was able to catch on the night…
The Cluny 2 – Let’s Away
The first band of the night for me was Let’s Away – a band I had been hoping to catch since hearing their EP “Let’s Away … From Here”. There were a handful of people in the room, which gave it a cosy atmosphere for it was evident, everyone there were intrigued to see the band play their first ever gig. Not bad to have your first gig a part of Evolution Emerging at all I must add.
Live their songs were given greater depth and softness as the mellow melodies and lulling guitars resonated around the room. There fuller sound was due to the addition of musicians from various bands including Richard from Chased by Wolves and Josh & Bop from Lilliput. Overall it was a great way to start the night and a gig I am glad I didn’t miss because of the uncertainty of future gigs due to the logistics goes into allowing this band to play live.
I was able to grab an interview with the band after their set – thanks to the lads for chatting to me.
Here is a free download of “Concording” from their debut EP “Let’s Away … From Here”
The Cumberland Arms – Lilliput
Lilliput were the most upbeat band I saw live all night, by that I mean they were the most lively and interactive with the crowd. The set was a storm with the crowd that shuffled into the back of The Cumberland Arms to catch the band’s most relaxed and chatty performance – which included a few dance moves on stage.
There was plenty of banter within the band and with the audience who fully embraced the part atmosphere. Reminiscent of B>E>A>K Lilliput’s Joe handed out percussion to the crowd and soon they were dancing, singing and playing along with the band.
Lilliput played a selection of songs including a new song “Aerial” that took things down a notch. The standout track from their set was “Until” that went down a treat with the crowd.
I was able to get an interview with Josh and Jonathan from the band – thanks for chatting to me lads !
The Cumberland Arms – Collectors Club
I must admit I only caught part of Collectors Club set while just outside the pub gathering interviews and deciding where next I was going to go. Although from what I heard it was another upbeat and lively performance. They reminded me of Vampire Weekend and by far had the best hairstyles I have seen from a band. Their surfer pop was relaxing while outside seeing people chilling out in the beer garden and discussing who to see next.
The Tanners – Bird Island
After much deliberation outside the Cumberland Arms I decide to see Bird Island next at The Tanners, a light blue pub that looked inviting. Once there I was able to catch half of the bands set in the pubs large back room where they had drawn quite a crowd.
Their music on record sounds like the perfect chilled out driving sound track and this sensation was recreated while playing live, it was a great surf set.
The Star and Shadow – Young Liar
To end the night I ended up across the road from the Tanners in The Star And Shadow Cinema. There through an intriguing cartoon white door was Young Liar playing their set inside the Cinema.
Walking in on their set half way through I was hit by a euphoric wall of sound. The room was fixated on the stage while the band performed and lost themselves in their music – which isn’t hard to get wrapped in their raw and cinematic sound fitting for the venue. It was overall an amazing highlight to end the nigh on and my first ever Evolution Emerging experience.
Hope everyone else enjoyed their night of music on June 1st and all the bands involved had a great time as well. Can’t wait for next years…
Words by Ruth Edmundson
The Green festival is an annual event that takes place in Newcastle’s Leazes Park and offers visitors a range of entertainment, activities and information on environmental protection and social justice. Having started in 1995, as an offshoot from Newcastle University’s Green Society, the festival is now in its 17th year and is still ran wholly by a team of volunteers form the local community.
This was the first time I have visited the Green festival and was not sure what to expect although it turned out to be a day I thoroughly enjoyed. The festival has previously been dubbed as the North’s ‘mini Glastonbury’ and I can say I agree with this comparison due to the diversity of the festival.
Among the festival visitors included families, teens, people from all backgrounds and social groups such as punks to even Japanese inspired Lolita’s all enjoying the festival. There were more people there than I expected all taking part in activates and browsing the range of tents from food stalls to tents selling arts and crafts products.
Soon enough after arriving I got lost however eventually found my way to the Green tent. This was the music tent and where I reviewed and interviewed the various musicians who played there throughout the Saturday.
Inside the tent the mood was very lax with various people sitting on the ground, and others at the back of the tent drinking tea and eating pizza, it was a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
First to on stage was jazz singer Ruth Lambert with her band including bass, bass guitar and trumpet. As a music fan I must admit jazz has never been a genre I have delved into although Ruth’s vocals were infectious and created a chilled out vibe in the tent. This was also aided by the mellow tones of her backing band especially the bass solo that featured in her short set, the first I have heard.
Ruth Lambert interview …
Following Ruth on stage came King Bee a lively band who filled out the tent both by drawing in a crowd and band member wise. The band in total had seven members on stage all playing individual instruments from the saxophone to drums. They promised the crowd a fun set and that is what they delivered with songs such as “Jellymanfunk” that was as fun and wacky as it sounds. The band was an instrumental outfit and created an upbeat atmosphere through the use of the vibraphone and by the fact you could see the band themselves were enjoying the gig.
King Bee Interview …
After King Bee’s fun filled performance, Dan Walsh took to the stage with his banjo and guitar and enthralled the audience with his musicianship. He had great stage presence and interaction with the crowd. Playing his own songs both on guitar and banjo the crowd was intrigued by his ability to play both extremely well ad on top of this he had a great singing voice. Forget Mumford And Son’s he puts them to shame live!
Dan Walsh interview …
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour
I have listened a lot to Bridie Jackson’s music in the past although live it is much more intense. Her selection of mellow as well as uplifting songs caused a reaction from the crowd that reflects the power of her songs. Some tracks were poignant and the tent fell silent listening to her soulful voice where as other songs had the crowd dancing at the front of the stage. A great set all round in the green tent.
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour interview …
Peculiar Disco Moves
Simply from the name, Peculiar Disco Moves, you can guess these are a quirky bunch and live on stage their performance was unfortunately not full of peculiar disco moves but peculiar songs and dress sense. From “I Don’t Want The World To End On Tuesday” to “Mr X” they had the crowd dancing along to their pop esq songs that are the kind to get stuck in your head – in a good way. What made their set stand out was their striking clothes for lead singer and keyboardist Alix was wearing a white suit and tie with a red shirt. While bassist Jonathan was wearing a wooly coat and cowboy hat -by far the most stylish band of the day.
Peculiar Disco Moves interview …
Tomahawks For Targets
On stage Tomahawks For Targets seemed relaxed and they themselves said how it was a nice change to play somewhere so chilled out. They played a tight set with each song sounding as good as it did on their latest record “Invasion On A Budget”. Personally for me their standout song of the set was “Empire Empire” that reminded me to an extent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Tomahawks For Targets interview …
Overall the day of live music was great to see and I was disappoint to be unable to return on the Sunday to see the other bill or artists including So What Robot and Gingersnap and The Style Pile. Thanks to all the musicians who spoke to me as well as all the volunteers who made me feel welcome to be there. I hope everyone who went along to the festival had a great time and next year I’ll defiantly be going along again!
This was a great night of live music organised by Tissue Culture themselves to help raise funds to record a few tracks later this year.
Held at the Cluny two, the crowd was a mix of friends and other bands members. The only annoying thing was the fact that people were sitting down on the chairs aside to the stage, during the various bands performances however this didn’t take anything away from any of their sets.
The first to take the stage was Mammifère -french word of Mammal- after hearing Reece Spencer’s broad accent prior to taking the stage I was taken back when he began to sing. His voice is tender and sweet, there is a vulnerability to it that makes you listen to every word he sings. Although the crowd were not receptive to his style of music, this did not put Reece off and his set was beautifully delivered, ending with “Art” – featured on his latest EP – which was the best song of the set for me.
Next on stage were Air to Achilles a band I have never seen live before. It felt like it took a few songs for them to become comfortable and relaxed on stage. This may have been due to most the audience sitting to the side rather than standing up to watch the band. However their set proved to be powerful and had those standing tapping their feet along to the catchy use of synths and guitar hooks.
Tissue Culture, performed next and the crowd migrated to the front of the stage, evidently all fans of the host band. The lads played a good set, getting a bit ahead of themselves at times with one of the members nearly falling over a amp. Their set was loud and had plenty of energy, the best songs for me were “Anna” and “Armour“.
Unfortunately due to arrangements to get home I had to leave before headliners Brilliant Mind - although from the time I spent at the gig it was a great mix of music and a start to the funds Tissue Culture need to record later this year.
It was lovely to see Martin Longstaff – The lake Poets – in disbelief and humbled by the reception and turn out he received at the Sage last night.
During Natasha’s set you could hear a pin drop, and although she stood on stage alone, she held the stage as her own. The barrier between audience and performer was non-existent. She spoke openly about the meanings behind her songs and shared with us a few surprises including new song “Transatlantic” and “Perfect Stranger” which was new to me.
As well as that, I was taken back by her statement before playing her single “Stepping Stone” – a year ago yesterday her single was the second song she had ever written, to now be playing it at the Sage 365 days later is mind blowing !
The Union Choir, who were on stage next, brought a different more aggressive feel to the gig-compared to Natasha stripped back set. It was interesting to watch as the collective of musicians playing interments from the cello, sax, trumpet to the drums, worked together and even swap instruments to make the Union Choirs unique sound. Not a band of many words, their set was a mix of mellow tracks and moved more abrasive songs such as “Potemkin” and personal favourite “Lavender” which closed their set.
During the interlude the few seats that were not full slowly began to fill, then Martin, The Lake Poets, walked out on stage to a full house and performed a set, he himself said, that he will never forget.
The first half of his performance was solo on stage, playing crowd favourites such as “Windowsill” from the Tunstall Hill sessions. He was then joined on stage by Morris Ford and not soon after a large group of friends that made up the second half of the set turning The Lake Poets now into a band. Even Natasha was even invited back on stage to sing “Dead Tree” a song the pair are hoping to record in the future.
I will admit the music brought a tear to my eye especially when Martin sang his song about his gran, once again it was nice to see an artist feel comfortable and talk about the meaning behind their songs which made them even more poignant.
It was an incredible night for The Lake Poets, a EP launch night I am sure everyone who attend will not forget. The night felt like a collective experience with all those in the crowd. With the highlight of the night came at the very end when The Lake Poets received a well deserved standing ovation.
The Lake Poets EP is now available to download and purchase, via Gateshead label Tiny Lights
Natasha Haws will be releasing her EP on May, 14 and will be holding her EP launch on the May,12 at Sunderland Minister.
The Union Choir will be returning to the Sage along with Hyde & Beast as part of Evolution Emerging on Friday June, 1. Prior to this you can catch them live in Sunderland headlining Lone Wolf Promotions event at Independent, along with Hollywood and Vines and Mick Rolfe, on April, 21.
Photograph’s thanks to Morris Ford