The Slow Readers Club @ Think Tank?

The Slow Readers Club first headline gig in Newcastle was a definite success.

Why did we end up here? At the start of February, Ste suggested this one as he’d heard Don’t Mind on the Steve Lamacq Round Table, and liked it.  I’d never heard of The Slow Readers Club before, but after a quick play on Spotify I quickly agreed.  Unfortunately Andrew couldn’t make it tonight.  If you want to know more about this band then click here.

Was it any good?  It was fantastic.  I’d had Cavalcade on fairly heavy spotify rotation, but the whole set sounded great.  The venue is really good for an act like this who connect well to the audience.  The lead singer, regularly catches eye contact with members of the crowd singing along and seems to sing-a-long with them.  Highlights for me were the first 4 songs from Cavalcade; Start Again, I Saw A Ghost, Forever in Your Debt & Plant the Seed.  The latter really got the crowd (who were in good voice throughout) going.  They noted that they don’t do encores (“never got into the habit” and “it’s a hassle getting off a stage like this”) and so informed the crowd that, without leaving the stage, the title track of Cavalcade was actually the start of the encore.  I’m never sure what I think about encores anyway, but this approach worked well!  I’m sure they get sick of comparisons, but you can’t help but hear Interpol and Editors when you listen to this band.  That’s a clear compliment.  I didn’t know about TSRC before February, but I’m hoping to hear a lot more in the future.

Did you get any merchandise? It was inevitable prior to the gig, that if there was a vinyl on offer that I’d be getting one.  Each of the band was kind enough to sign it too (pictured at the foot of this review).

What were the support acts like? Denature opened the night shortly after 7pm.  Their 7 song set, including a couple of covers, was decent.  They are a local North East band, so I wish them well.  SKIES were up next & I really enjoyed their set.  I’d given a brief spotify listen on the morning of the gig, but knew very little going in.  They were really lively, enthusiastic and played with barely a pause for breath.  I suspect having the backing track played from a laptop presents some challenges, but it seemed to work well.  This is a band to watch out for and you can start by clicking here.

What else happened?  We were stood next to a man that didn’t watch any of the gig, but instead faced the speaker stack the entire time.  It seemed strange, but I sort of hope this was his way of feeling and absorbing the music.  In other news the band noted that one of the crowd (Debbie) had followed them on their whole tour and as a reward dedicated  a song to her.  Nice touch.

Food & drink? It almost feels like this blog is sponsored by Brewdog as for the 3rd gig running, this was the ale of choice.  By the way, it’s not sponsored, but Brewdog if you’re reading…;-)  We started out at the Brewdog bar in Newcastle and had a nice couple of pints of LIVE East Coast Crush.  We then had a fantastic Fat Hippo burger and Fat Hippo IPA in the Fat Hippo Underground.  We continued the Brewdog theme at Think Tank? with cans of the marvellous Dead Pony Club.

If you haven’t heard anything from The Slow Readers Club then give Cavalcade a listen and if you’re looking for something else new then check out SKIES.

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TSRC Poster

Ste and I feature on this one…(third picture at the right)

The signed Cavalcade vinyl

Take That @ Metro Radio Arena

Manc man-band deliver belated Christmas present

I still remember the sinking feeling shortly after hitting the “buy” button. Was that really £398 I’d paid for two tickets to see Take That?

Tickets to see Take That were suggested as a Christmas present idea. Having procrastinated for too long and missed the regular scramble for tickets, I resorted to a secondary ticketing website. After spending an age comparing and contrasting different seating options and prices on each of the sites, I settled on my choice. I continued with purpose to the payment screen, acutely aware that the clock was ticking and I may lose the prized tickets if I delayed. I clicked “buy” and sat back, quietly satisfied with myself.

Hang on, was that not supposed to be around £290? Undo undo undo! Where did the £82.38 “booking fee”, £9.95 delivery fee and £16.48 VAT come from? You swines! Can I return them? “It’s not possible to cancel or exchange tickets once a purchase has been made as orders are considered final. If you cannot use the tickets you purchased and there is still time before the event date, we advise you to re-list them by clicking on the “Sell” link on the event that you have tickets for.”

So the moral of this tale is to always read the total before you click “buy”. And that secondary ticketing sites are the work of the devil.

Christmas arrived and a print-out of the confirmation email had to serve as the gift.

A few months later and the gig finally arrives. A nice meal beforehand at George’s Great British Kitchen with a bottle of Haviestoun Bitter & Twisted.

All Saints provided the support and did a nice little set encompassing all of their big hits from the 90s. Gone are the cargo pants but the synchronised shimmying and striding remain the same. They finished with Pure Shores which sounded great.

The oestrogen levels were palpable as Take That prepared to take to the stage at around 8.30pm.

The gig was performed “in the round”, so all parts of the arena had a decent view. The band emerged separately at opposite ends of the arena and made their way down narrow gaps in the crowd to the stage, whilst performing opener Wonderland.

Throughout the show there was constantly changing scenery, lighting and projected images and a seemingly endless stream of dancers and performers. There was some loose concept around the performance (which went over my head) interspersed with spoken word interludes. The band themselves sported some unusual clothing lines; Mark was rocking some high heeled boots to give him an extra lift, Howard sported some MC Hammer clown pants in a range of colours, Gary was no-nonsense.

The music spanned their career but mostly concentrated on their material from after their rebirth as a stadium indie/electro pop band. The energy levels barely dropped throughout the set, only slowing slightly when a tabla player joined the band for an acoustic medley section in the middle of the set.

The light show for The Flood was particularly impressive (should have shot the video below in landscape). They finished with Never Forget and Rule The World, with mobile phone lights aloft around the arena.

It was impressive stuff – more of a theatrical production than a gig in many ways but with tickets priced at £95 (face value) you want to see something special. All in all, a really good evening’s entertainment and well worth £398 of hard earned cash (hmmm). Next time I really must remember to be on the ball when tickets go on sale.

Haley Bonar @ The Cluny

Decent gig from the main act. Horror show from the support.

How we chose it: random pick. No obvious gig choices in April, so we gave Spotify a spin for all the reasonably priced choices thrown up by Songkick.

Venue & crowd: The Cluny is always good if not a little loud at times. Volume was good tonight & the crowd was plentiful and very respectful.

Food & beer: decent local brew (Stronghold, Wylam Breweries) with a standard range of Cluny burgers.

Attended by: Chris, Ste & Andrew

Support act: Michael Nau – Not feeling this bloke. Sounded like a bad Josh Rouse with poor tuneless, samey, drab songs. The drummer looked like Napoleon Dynamite. That was the best part.

Main act: Haley Bonar. Good stuff. Played a good set. Not really that familiar with her stuff, but guessing most came from her last few albums. Covered Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric as part of the encore. All in all pretty impressed.

Merch: non purchased.

@cwblueroom tweet

Little Comets @ Newcastle University

Just Ste & I at this one.  Food back at his place.

We missed most of the support act, Eliza & The Bear, but what we did see (4 songs) was enough to convince me to buy some vinyl.  This gig ended with signed vinyl from Little Comets (latest album Worhead) and the eponymous first album from Eliza And The Bear.

Little Comets were great, unlike most of the beer we consumed that night.

The setlist probably looked something like this one a few days before, in London.

The Sherlocks @ 02 Academy 2

The Sherlocks are possibly on the brink of something big.  They signed a record contract at the start of the year and are due to release their first album in August.

They were supported by Vida who seemed like a poor Oasis meets The Stone Roses.  Not for me.

The highlights of The Sherlocks set were the singles; Live For The Moment, Will You Be There?, Last Night, Heart of Gold & the latest one Was It Really Worth It?

No merch purch.

Food at the Coop was great as it always is.


Two Door Cinema Club @ O2 Academy

Fantastic gig.  Better than I expected.  Much better.  Great sound.  Great atmosphere.  Great songs.

The main support act was Sundara Karma with the first support act being Anteros. Anteros proved tidy & Sundara Karma were excellent, although neither benefited from the sound quality that TDCC had.

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The Lumineers @ O2 Academy

The Lumineers at the O2.
Surrounded by frickin’ idiots. Why must I be surrounded by idiots?
Good gig though.

Just Clare & I at this one.  Sat on seats at the back, so view was OK, but sound was impaired.  This was a particular problem during an entirely unplugged section which coincided with a drunken idiot near us being very loud.  Literally couldn’t hear anything.  Also, impaired hearing throughout as the two couples next to us knew every word, to every song, and sang them very loudly!

Support act: Bahamas (OK)