Adem @ The Cumberland Arms

Adem produces a beautiful performance, in an intimate setting, on a snowy night in Newcastle

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In attendance: all three of the gigamonth collective.  Andrew, Ste & I.27709516_1484636471644835_3309849123319611996_o

We’ve been wanting a Cumberland Arms gig for a while.  None of us had been before and it was obviously going to be an intimate venue.  We missed out on tickets for Willy Mason, but soon spotted the Adem gig.  Andrew had been a fan since the

first album, way back when. He’d introduced Ste to Adem.  I

hadn’t heard anything by him prior to booking this show.  I gave the latest album, Seconds Are Acorns, a listen and really enjoyed it.

It was a Saturday night, so became a good chance for some food out and a few drinks.  We started at the Tyne Bank Brewery and, before Andrew arrived, Ste and I played some table football and table tennis, reliving our youth.  Some tasty food was had at Kiln.  A few nice beers were consumed on the night and at least one dodgy one; smash fusion, beaver town neck oil, summer breeze, salty kiss…to name a few.

Pete Dale was the support for Adem.  We didn’t catch much of his set as we were getting drinks downstairs.  The Cumberland Arms is a small old school pub with an intimate IMG_2308room upstairs with a cool atmosphere.

Pete sounded in the vein of Billy Bragg.  A few of the crowd seemed familiar with his stuff and you could see Adem watching him amongst the, initially, small crowd.  You don’t often find that and it was nice to see.

When Adem took the stage he noted that he’d been asked to play this gig and that it was one of only 2 on the tour.  The other in Glasgow.  What followed was a really intimate and completely beautiful gig.  I’m not overly familiar with his tunes (as noted above), but I was captivated by them all.  I was stood right at the front of a polite, but respectful and enthusiastic audience.  I’m never good estimating numbers in a venue, but there can’t have been much more than 80-100?

The set spanned all 4 of his albums and a lovely Radiohead cover version.  I don’t have a specific set highlight, although Snow in April was pretty cool and apt (it was March, but see below).  I’m not sure what Adem has lined up next.  He hinted at a new album.  I hope so as I can see an Adem album nestling nicely in my collection.  There was some vinyl on sale on the night.  We were all short of cash and so threw our change Ste’s way and he picked up Seconds Are Acorns and a mini-chat with the man himself.  We should have had a Sharpie to hand to get it signed…!

Adem Setlist Cumberland Arms, Newcastle, England 2018

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A rare photo of Andrew, Me & Ste (L-R) from one of our gig nights.  “Snow in April*”  *March

 

Turin Brakes @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Turin Brakes signing their lives away and playing a quality set in a fine venue

I’ll start this review with the disclaimer that Turin Brakes are one of my favourite bands. They have been since I purchased The Optimist LP, on the recommendation of a friend (a gigamonth alumni, Andrew), back in September 2001.  They are my most watched band by quite some distance.  This was the 17th gig of theirs that I’ve seen (including only 3 festivals) which is a nice average of 1 a year since that first album purchase!  They have been the subject of three previous blog appearances (100 Club, The Cluny, Chase Park Festival) and so are now the most mentioned band on this blog.  I’ve only been to one previous gig at the Tyne Theatre…Turin Brakes.  Back in 2002 on the 25th September: The Acoustic Tour.  That gig was fantastic, enhanced by support from the excellent Fionn Regan.

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Present: Ste & Amy, Clare & I.  Andrew had a ticket, but unfortunately couldn’t make it.

With the wives present, babysitting was a challenge, so there was no pre-gig social.  Clare & I managed a swift drink, but by the time Ste & Amy arrived Eliza Shaddad was about to take the stage.

I enjoyed Eliza’s set.  I wasn’t too familiar with any of the tracks, except the excellent set closer, Waters.  I’ll certainly be looking out for a future album.

Turin Brakes

The new album, Invisible Storm, came out earlier this year and is a superbly catchy long player.  Tracks from this album were the common thread through the night as they played 7 of the 11 tracks on it.  A huge 5 tracks were played from The Optimist LP, 2 each from Ether Song & Lost Property and 1 each from Dark On Fire & JackInABox.  Two albums weren’t represented as there was no room for tracks from either Outbursts or We Were Here.

We were sat on the front row of this incredibly atmospheric (if not slightly cold) theatre.  Front row seats for one of my favourite bands.  Nice.  The band were in fine form once more.  Again, this is a band who seem at their best when they are enjoying themselves.  I can only think of a couple of times I’ve seen them when they didn’t seem up for it.  This was definitely a night when they were up for it.  They even played through a fight that managed to break out in an all seated venue.  Yes, a fight broke out in a seated theatre venue.  A Turin Brakes gig in a seated theatre venue, no less!

They opened the set with three Invisible Storm tracks and sounded incredible.  Moving straight in to Future Boy and then State of Things, the pace was kept.  The only real break from quality tunes was the sound of of Eddie howling, and making the audience howl, like a wolf.  Slightly surreal, but fun.

Invisible Storm was probably my highlight of the night and my favourite from the new album.  Last Chance, Fishing For A Dream and Rain City all sounded superb.  I can’t help but smile whenever Gale plays the Underdog solo and that took us nicely into the end of the normal set.  The first encore included the quality Keep Me Around, new album track – Everything All At Once and the wig-out Black Rabbit.

The lack of theatre lights held the hope of a 2nd encore.  This hope was further enhanced when a disembodied thumb (belonging, I think, to Rob) started interchanging up and down from behind  a curtain.  The audience clearly wanted more and so, thumbs up it was.  A last track from Invisible Storm; Don’t Know Much, before closing on the classic first album track; Slack.   Quality from start to finish.

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The setlist is below.  As is an amusing little post script.
Turin Brakes Setlist Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle, England 2018, Invisible Storm

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Turin Brakes on Instagram

Post Script:

Earlier on this year, I purchased the deluxe bundle of Invisible Storm and splashed out on a test pressing for £50!  Hand signed and hand numbered – limited to 20.  Only, when it arrived, I found it hadn’t been numbered.  Not a huge issue for some people, but it was something that attracted me to the purchase in the first place.  I got in touch with the webstore who politely informed me that the band must have forgotten to sign.  Yes.  I realised that.  I thought I’d try the band.  I got in contact via twitter and was really pleased that they replied.

So, I went to the gig armed with my test pressing and thought I’d sneak in some additional LP sleeves for them to sign.  Cheeky, I know, but shy bairns…

Anyway, I wrote a lengthy note with instructions and threw a few different coloured sharpies into the bag, for them to select the appropriate colours.  [Yes, I appreciate that, at this point in this blog – if not before – you are building up a very clear and accurate picture of my personality].  I rocked up to the merch stand and then was struck with a disease that has affected me for a while now.  Inarticulosis.  Essentially, when faced with some pressure in a possible brush with anyone even remotely famous, or a person who might be vaguely linked with a famous person, I mutter and mumble.  I’m desperate to say something clear and sensible, but fail miserably (see the 100 club blog “you’ve got red on you” anecdote).  This time, I muttered something about contacting the band via “The Internet”.  “The Internet” – I even said it in an awkward voice – WTF.  I then said, they hadn’t signed properly and said they would.  I didn’t, crucially, mention a lack of numbering, but despite it being signed correctly – I decided to confuse things by mentioning signing in these verbal instructions.  Fatal.  Eliza Shaddad was doing the merch and therefore was the one lucky enough to be on the receiving end of my drivel.  She took it well and said I could just pick up at the end of the gig.

Of course, what I failed to realise is that I should have just put one line on a post it note and attached it to the front of the vinyl – “number it out of 20 here please”.  Instead, I wrote a long note!  Why I thought they would read the full note or remember the twitter exchange, I don’t know!  So, post gig, I picked up the bag  of sleeves, thanked Eliza and trotted out.  My wife encouraged me to have a look before we headed home.  The band had signed the sleeve again – this time on the back – but hadn’t numbered it.  I went back into the venue and Eliza was so patient with me.  She went off and came back with it numbered.  The band had already generously signed all of the sleeves of 7 other LPs and The Door EP 7″.  I’m hugely grateful to them.  A top band, top tunes, top albums and top blokes.  Yep, I just used the word top 4 times in a row.  I’m just that cool, as this whole episode indicates!

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The ridiculously long instructions!
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The brilliantly signed sleeves!

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Elbow @ Leeds First Direct Arena

Elbow in sparking form at the Leeds Arena

This was the 8th time I’ve seen Elbow, making them 4th on my list of most watched Elbow gigsbands/ artists.  This is the second time seeing them since doing this blog (Mouth of Tyne).  This one was in Leeds, at the excellent FDA.  Last time we saw Elbow in Leeds we had an overnight stay and the respective wives were there.  This time we returned home post-gig.  Leeds is just about the edge of a sensible gig-commute…especially on a school night.  Ste has an even longer journey to get back to Newcastle – especially with two A1 diversions on the way back!
Tonight felt pretty special.  I’m not sure why, but it felt like a celebration.  They played a good career spanning set filled with my favourite Elbow tunes and Guy was on his usual quality banter form.  Perhaps it felt like a celebration because it was his birthday.   Happy Birthday was sung more than once to him!

Support act: John Grant

I enjoyed the John Grant set.  He reminds me a lot of Father John Misty.  He turned the swearing up to 11 during the set and I could well imagine some of those who had come to see the band that did the Olympics song, may well have been horrified.  Pale Green Ghosts was my set highlight.  With 8 songs played, he didn’t outstay his welcome.

Main act: Elbow

Incredible.  I really could just watch Elbow again and again.  It’s like watching your mates on stage.  It feels really relaxed.  Guy messed up the lyrics to Lunette and Craig played Little Fictions when the rest of the band were, correctly, playing Mirrorball.  It didn’t matter.  All taken in their stride and with great humour.  Every song sounded amazing.  Leaders Of The Free World was superb and Fly Boy Blue / Lunette is probably the most underrated Elbow classic.

Guy’s stage patter was interesting as he regaled us with tales of a solitary attendee at his 11th birthday (Robert Redmond I think?), the drip of ceiling liquid that dropped in his mouth during a set at Leeds Cockpit (tasing of “new sweat and old nicotine”) and the adventures of Dennis & Lois (in attendance and following them on this tour) who had lived the rock n roll dream.

See below for the setlist.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been another 30 minutes on stage.  Even then, I’d have wanted 30 more.  The encore included the duet version of Kindling, as JohnGrant joined them on stage.  Great to see that live, as we’re probably unlikely to see it again in that form.  What more can be said about the set closer, One Day Like This?  What more can be said about Elbow?  Sublime.


Elbow Setlist First Direct Arena, Leeds, England, Arena Tour 2018

John Grant Setlist First Direct Arena, Leeds, England 2018

 

Social stuff: a journey to Leeds is a bit of a rush.  Ste also decided to miss the turn off to my house, so we met at Scotch Corner and headed on from there together.  Time was tight, so a packed lunch was the order of the day!  We had a solitary ale each at the gig.

Post gig notes: Elbow is a band that both Ste and I have a bit of a collection of.  Ste’s is much more complete than mine.  I was delighted, this week, to finally get my hands on the Elbow definitive vinyl box set.  I’ve been searching for this at a reasonable price for ages.  So, here’s some bonus pictures of the box set and my expanding Elbow collection.

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Franz Ferdinand @ O2 Academy, Newcastle

A quality evening with Franz Ferdinand & Albert Hammond Jr.

I saw Franz Ferdinand 3 times within 13 months back in 2004/05 (& Ste caught 2 of those).  I hadn’t seen them since.  No particular reason.  Perhaps my interest waned after album no. 2, perhaps I was just going to less gigs or trying not to see the same bands on repeat?  Whatever the reason, it was a 13 year gap.  It was worth the wait.

Just Ste and I at this one, so we ate pizzas at home with a couple of beers.  A quick taxi ride into Toon and we headed straight to the venue.  The beers inside the O2 are inevitably poor and expensive.  I think we consumed a couple of pints of San Miguel (or something similar) and a massive oversized 2 pint pot full of Carlsberg Export.  It was cold, wet and alcoholic. £20+ lighter (each) for the privilege we initially shivered on a cold night in the venue, but it soon warmed up as the support act took the stage.

Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes fame was the support act.  I’d never bothered with his solo stuff prior to learning he was the support.  The new stuff sounded decent and it was an enjoyable set which lasted a surprisingly long time.  At the time of writing, no-one has put up a set list, but it must have been 10 songs or so.  Decent stuff.  Could be the closest I’ll ever come to seeing The Strokes?  I hope not.

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Franz Ferdinand

The main act took the stage an proceeded to deliver an awesome set.  A great mix of new and old tunes, drawing heavily from the new album (8 played from Always Ascending) and the debut album (5 played from Franz Ferdinand) with a handful from the rest (3 from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, 2 from You Could Have Been So Much Better and just 1 from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action).  Alex Kapranos was an excellent frontman throughout the gig, holding the attention of the crowd and getting them involved at will.  I realised early in the gig that there had been a line up change that I wasn’t previously aware of.  Guitarist, Nick McCarthy apparently left in 2016 and Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie joining.  The guitar sound on the early songs didn’t quite sound as angular as previous (if I’m being picky), but that was a tiny issue in a great set.

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Highlights for me were; Do You Want To, Michael, Take Me Out, Ulysses, Alway Ascending, Jacquline, This Fire and Lucid Dreams.  Amazingly the whole gig was wrapped up by 10.05pm…presumably for a club night at the O2.

Franz Ferdinand Setlist O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle, England 2018, Always Ascending

Albert Hammond, Jr. Setlist O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle, England 2018

Post Script: we headed to Tilleys Bar straight after the gig.  We had a few too many real ales, played a pub quiz machine (pop music) which we failed to win and talked endlessly about music, vinyls, CDs and other forensically analysed issues.  I fell asleep in the taxi on the way home and Ste was partied out for most of the next morning, prior to heading to a record fair.  It was a top night!!

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Lord Huron @ Leeds Beckett University

The tremendous Lord Huron get back on the road to warm up for the new album. It was good. Very good.

In 2015, Lord Huron released Strange Trails.  I wasn’t a mega fan at the time, although Ste had introduced me to Lonesome Dreams.  I liked Strange Trails when I first heard it and now, 3 years later it’s firmly placed in my top 10 albums of all time (it’s number 1 on some days).  After catching them at The Cluny in the first year of agigamonth I was eager to get tickets for this gig, originally planned for the Brudenell Social Club.  The nearer we got to the gig, the more obvious it was that no new material was going to land (in the week since the gig, there’s been 2 songs and some teaser stuff on social media).  That didn’t matter.  It was awesome regardless.

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Best laid plans: Ste & I got tickets for this as soon as they came out.  Leeds isn’t too far south of us, but it’s 90 minutes or so from me and a couple of hours from Ste.  We were going to head down together and garb some drinks, staying in a hotel for the night.  In a bit of unfortunate timing, my daughter had a swimming gala during the day in Sheffield (further South) and it was obvious that this was going to be tight to get back up for the gig.  Ste went straight to the hotel.  Lana finished her final race at 5pm and after a rapid turnaround, I too managed to get to the hotel shortly after 6.30pm.  Straight out for food and drinks.  As a safe bet we went to the Wetherspoons; The Cuthbert Broderick (the one we always seem to end up at in Leeds).  It was busy, but we took a seat and downloaded the pub app and ordered food and drink through it.  A couple of minutes later the pints arrived (Shipyard American Pale Ale) and a few minutes after that the Haggis Burgers arrived (Burn’s night special).  Tremendous!  We downed the pints and took on the burgers, delighted that we would get to the venue in time to catch the support act.

Queue.  Not so good, Al: we arrived at the venue and there was a huge queue.  It turned out that those with a physical ticket could go straight in.  Those with a barcode print out (which is surely now the norm) had to queue and queue very slowly at that.  As we approached the door, we could hear that Flyte had already taken stage.

Support Act: Flyte were good.  Very good.  We only caught 4 songs (Cathy, Come Home amongst them) and I needed to visit the bar for one of them.

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Lord Huron: LH took to the stage at about 9pm.  The sound wasn’t initially that clear, but it improved as they played an outstanding set, drawn heavily from Strange Trails.  It’s really difficult to explain why I like this band so much.  There’s something about Strange Trails that I think works as an album.  All the songs are strong and it works really well as a whole.  I never tire of listening to it and when I first bought my new turntable, this was the LP that I played non-stop.  It was therefore great to hear loads of Strange Trails songs again, with an early intro into the new album, Vide Noir.

There were three/four new tracks played it the gig.  At the time of writing the 4th song in the set was still unknown to me, but contained a line along the lines of “wake her in the morning“.  Wait By The River was a another new one – I got the title from other setlists.  Since the gig I worked out that the 3rd new track was Ancient Names (Part One), which may well have bled into Ancient Names (Part Two), but I’ve got no idea now.  The new songs had a slightly different sound, seeming more keyboard / electronic driven.  They sounded good, but I need a few more listens.  A contributor to setlistfm replaced the original noting of “unknown” (which turned out to be Ancient Names) with Until The Night Turns.  I’d had a few to drink, but I’m pretty certain they didn’t play that.

Lord Huron Setlist Beckett University, Leeds, England 2018

Highlights of the set were The Birds Are Singing At Night, Time To Run, The Night We Met and Fool For Love.  That said, it was all awesome and I’m hoping they will be back to tour once Vide Noir has landed.  A Newcastle date would be nice!

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Merchandise: I couldn’t resist a T-shirt.  I tidy £20 for an emerald logo.

Beers & post-gig entertainment: we got a range of bottled craft / real ales from the student union bar.  All eye-wateringly expensive and poured out of the glass bottle into a squeeze plastic pint pot.  Can’t be helped.  I can’t remember the names now, but Ste picked up  Brooklyn one of some description that was 6.7%!  After the gig, the SU bar was already closed, so we headed to find a pub.  We landed in Shenanigans and despite me never having ordered a Guinness in my life, that’s what we both decided to do.  After a couple of pints of the black stuff we headed back to The Cuthbert Broderick for a Shipyard.  We then took a trip back to the hotel for a final bottle of ale before calling it a night.

 

John Bramwell @ The Sage 2, Gateshead

The final gig of 2017 saw the former I Am Kloot frontman in fine form

The final gig of 2017 fell to John Bramwell.  It was a fairly last minute choice as Andrew, Ste & I couldn’t all make a gig on the same day in December.  Ste & I went to this one without Andrew which was a shame.

I wasn’t hugely familiar with much I Am Kloot or John Bramwell solo stage prior to the gig, but I immersed myself via Spotify for a week or two.  I’d listened to the Sky At Night album before but really only knew a few tracks before seeing IAK at Glastonbury several years ago.  I / we didn’t really know what to expect from this gig.  The summary was that it was great.  John Bramwell was very funny and ambled his way through a very pleasing and long set.

John Bramwell Setlist The Sage, Gateshead, England 2017

Support came in the form of Dave Fidler (also playing in the “band” sections of the JB set).  He did a really enjoyable set too.

The JB set was 25 tracks in length, stuffed full of I Am Kloot tunes as well as solo tracks.  The encore was pretty awesome.  I’m writing this a month or so after the gig and so can’t remember specifics to note, so this will be a sparse review.

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Food was at the Head of Steam in the opposite side of the Tyne (fish & chorizo pie for me and fish & chips for Ste), washed down with a pint of Bitter & Twisted.

Pumarosa @ The Cluny, Newcastle

Priestess, you dance, you dance, you dance…

It would appear that this was the final gig of the year with all three of us in attendance.  We managed 10 as a threesome (threesome+ at times) this year which isn’t bad going.  This was, ridiculously, my 24 gig of the year with at least one more still to come.

What was it like? Pumarosa were really good.  Ste & I caught them at Glastonbury earlier this year, but didn’t know much about them then.  They were good that night, but tonight was quality.  I’d been giving the album quite a hammering of late and that helped to ensure I was familiar with virtually all of the set.  Isabel Munoz-Newsome fronts the band and seemed to be having a great time all night and this always improves my enjoyment of a show.  She was a very engaging stage presence with a great dancing style and gorgeous vocals.

They came on stage promptly at 9.30 and breezed through a set which consisted of the entirety of debut album, The Witch, with an added cover.

Dragonfly, Lions Den & Priestess were all highlights for me, but highlights in a set full of them.  The album is most definitely in my top 20 of the year, and is likely to be a vinyl purchase at some point in the new year.

Pumarosa Setlist The Cluny, Newcastle, England 2017, The Witch

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What about the support act?  I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.  Vïsta was his name.  Just one guy on stage with a computer.  When we arrived in, he was essentially running on the spot in sports gear singing along to a backing track.  My initial reaction was intense amusement and at one point I was crying laughing.  When we decided to stay, after watching him drawing on his t-shirt (which subsequently went up for sale?), it actually became a pretty compelling watch.  It could certainly be considered the most unique and interesting support of the year.  As he noted, it’s Vïsta, with a double dot on the i (this was what he was demonstrating on his t-shirt), if you want to check him out.  Probably worth it.

What about food and drink?  We normally just have food in The Cluny, but decided to venture elsewhere.  Just up the road as it happens.  Arch 2 brewpub & burger kitchen.  Burger and a beer for £6.50.  Andrew and I had an awesome Wolf Blonde and Ste had a Southern Cross.  The burger was excellent to go with the excellent pint.  Unfortunately it was a bit chilly and we noted that this probably should be a summer venue.  Slightly hungry still after just a burger we decided to head to the Cluny for pudding  Waffle and ice cream.  Sounds good, only the waffle was disappointingly cold and tough work.  We smashed it though and washed it down with a hot coffee (ice cold coke for Andrew – crazy Kid).

If you don’t know Pumarosa then check out the album, or start on Priestess.  I think you’ll be pleasantly impressed.

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