Category Archives: Live Reviews

Tynemouth Fakefest review

Fakefest and North Shields had a lot to live up to after last year’s successes, after seeing the date sold out before the gates even opened. On arrival (4 May 2013) however, it was clear there was nothing to worry about in that regard as the concessions were already abuzz with an excited crowd.

A smattering of local talent decorated the bill finally culminating in an impressive set from The Longsands. Their local following clearly made up a reasonable percentage of the audience front and centre. One fan commented afterwards “We love The Longsands – we’d follow them anywhere.”

To kick off the main event, the Debbie Harry and Blondie tribute act, ‘Blondied’ took to the stage. The open mouthed crowd were treated to four wardrobe changes; each one more flamboyant than the last, as the band went through the greatest hits of the celebrated singer. The enthusiastic gatherings lapped up the professional rendition and were very forthcoming with their appreciation.

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“You’re all from the North East, right? I want your cell, I want your social security – there’s just one way, guys” admonished Michelle Hendricks in Debbie Harry’s American accent, before delving straight into ‘One Way Or Another’ to close her set. A truly heart-warming and awe inspiring act. Michelle later told me she’s met Debbie a number of times and that they share not only a taste in music, but height, shoe size and have the same ‘crooked little fingers’.

Kazabian‘ have been voted the best tribute act on the circuit at the moment and have been personally endorsed by Tom Meighan and even Serge himself – “They make venues crumble where we ain’t got time to. They’re awesome.”
After rallying up the highly anticipating crowd the boys showcased an incredible likeness to the original act executing songs from the self-titled album, ‘Empire’, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ and the most recent release ‘Velociraptor!’

As darkness drew in around the giant marquee it was time for the headline act – ‘Oasish‘. Before the boys even opened their mouths it was evident that they’re merely a shade away from enjoying a chinwag and a cup of tea with Noel.
Their backline and instrumentation were perfect mirror images, right down to ‘Noel’s’ Union Jack Epiphone Supernova and ‘Liam’s’ Pretty Green parka (admittedly now looking a bit worn).

The group played for around an hour and a half and hit almost every acclaimed Oasis song ever penned. As ‘Liam’ stood behind the microphone, his hands behind his back and his head awkwardly tilted to one side I wondered if I’d moseyed in late, would I have queried why Oasis were playing in North Shields? Unbelievably accurate and very well practiced.

As the crowds slowly dispersed for their return journey, it was evident that throughout the day there had been a certain notion sewn into the ether. A notion that I feel was mutually understood – let’s all get a guitar, learn a handful of chords, buy a hat and start a band.

Find the published version on TyneMet‘s website

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Mumford & Sons @ Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

Newcastle is renowned for a lot of things. Unfortunately its weather at times outranks its positives, 4 December being no different.

As I entered the convivial doors of Metro Radio Arena, perched on the banks of the Tyne, the atmosphere was immediately apparent. The concessions were abuzz with excitement of the fast approaching headline act, Mumford & Sons.

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Fresh on the back of their second studio album release (Babel, 21 September 2012), the band industriously take to the stage and it’s clear they’ve lost no love for their art.
The performance consisted of everything I was hoping for. The frantic, finger busting tracks like The Cave, were executed with precision and it wasn’t until the bitter end that Markus snapped a string – this of course didn’t hamper the track’s continuance or the awestricken crowd’s exhilaration.

Over the course of the performance the quartet were flanked by up to seven other musicians (string family and horn section) at a time – really delivering the overall sound toward studio quality.

Dust Bowl Dance was a personal highlight. The dark track opens with a melancholic narrative aided by a simple and sluggish chord progression. I’d been looking forward to Dust Bowl in particular because I’ve learned (from the music video, not a secret journalism source) that our frontman lends a leaf from Don Henley’s book (Eagles) and takes to the drums whilst still fronting the vocals.
The track swiftly evolves from its humble and slightly ominous beginnings, to a frenzied free-for-all. The arsenal of onstage musicians exploded, the crowd erupted, the entire room was amassed with energy and it’s for that exact reason I was looking forward to Dust Bowl Dance. Bravo, more like this please gents.

As the warm fervent atmosphere burned from the stage, engulfing the young crowd, I feel comfortable in confirming it was incomparable to any performance I’ve attended at the venue in the past.

The band praised their near 11,000 supporters and treated them to an up close and personal performance on an audience-centre stage (below). This was of course met by rapturous applause and the evening was put to bed shortly after the short encore.

Thoroughly recommend the group for a live setting, with absolutely nothing lost even in the aircraft hangar sized arena.

Soon to be published at I Are Yeti

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The Stranglers live @ Birmingham O2

As I awkwardly attempt to navigate my way toward Birmingham’s O2 Academy, it becomes very obvious that there’s going to be a strong crowd present.
Hives of rowdy, balding Stranglers fans (uncomfortably bundled into their favourite 80’s memorabilia t-shirts) stagger toward the turnstiles and present their tickets to the door staff – absolutely proud as punch.

The Stranglers, who have been sighted as the longest surviving ‘continuously successful’ group, to have emerged from the British punk scene, take to the stage. Their greeted with rapturous applause from the fans that never left their side.

As the group are now touring on the back of their 18th album release ‘Giants’, I wasn’t expecting them to bring any of the golden oldies I’d grown to know as a little boy to the table – but they didn’t disappoint. ‘Peaches’, ‘Golden Brown’ and even their well established cover of Dionne Warwick’s song ‘Walk On By’ were performed with sheer charm.

Guitarist ‘Baz’ (joined the band in 2000), played directly to the crowd – one foot on a wedge amp, Fender held comfortably like battle axe. He hit every single one of the original notes on the head, properly doing the original line up proud.
Dave Greenfield who’s been the band’s keyboardist since 1975 didn’t drop a note, even in the overwhelmingly long keys solo in ‘Walk On By’ – a truly underrated musician.

If you have the chance to see The Stranglers before they pack up (that is, if they ever do), I can highly recommend it.

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