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.


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.


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!

The ridiculously long instructions!
The brilliantly signed sleeves!






Turin Brakes @ 100 Club, London

Quite probably the best gig I’ve ever been to.

This was originally a secret gig, available only to those who ordered the planned Source Years vinyl box set.  Unfortunately the box set was cancelled, but Clare and I re-purchased gig tickets and took a trip to the capital.

Turin Brakes have been one of my favourite bands since The Optimist LP was released in 2001.  I own an extensive collection of Turin Brakes vinyl & CDs (68 items according to my discogs page) and had seen them live 15 times before this gig.  Clare came down the aisle to Fishing for a Dream and one of our wedding tables was named after The Optimist LP.  What I’m trying to emphasise here is that I’m a big fan of this band.  So is Clare.  The reason that’s so important is that I need to stress how good this gig truly was.  Despite a strong sense of loyalty and emotional attachment to this band, I feel I can reasonably say that this is probably the best gig I’ve ever been to.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect from a “secret gig”.  The doors were at 7.30pm and for the first time ever, we actually arrived a little early and queued outside on Oxford Street (in front of Ann Summers, no less).  That meant that we got right to the front, centre stage, where Olly’s mike was set-up.

The beer was great, if not eye wateringly priced (but then it was London).  I had 3 nice pints of Brewdog: Dead Pony Club Session Pale Ale.

The venue was small a wide, with the widest stage I’ve ever seen in a venue of this size.  300 capacity, apparently, and this place certainly has some history.

The support came from Tom Speight.  Tom gave a great performance, spending one song amongst the crowd bathed in smartphone lights.

Turin Brakes wasted no time coming to the stage after Tom departed.  What followed was a truly tremendous Source Years spanning setlist.  We’d been promised a set composed of songs from the first 4 albums and we weren’t disappointed.  The setlist was stuck on the monitor just in front of me, so I was trying to make sure I wasn’t looking as I didn’t really want spoilers!  They opened with a rip-roaring version of Blue Hour and didn’t let up from there.  The band seemed happy to be playing a great mix of songs which included many, that I suspect, they haven’t played in a fair while.  They played 6 from both The Optimist LP and Ether Song, 5 from JackInABox, 2 from Dark On Fire and 1 surprise new one.

They joked well with the audience throughout, suggesting they probably knew everyone there.  Midway through the set, Gale took lead vocal on Full of Stars (from Ether Song) and much amusement followed as after an aborted start, Gale noted that he’d forgotten the first line.  It was proposed that someone check the awesome fan made Ether Site for the lyrics, but the right ones eventually flowed.

Forever was noted as several couples wedding songs (someone behind us shouted that it was theirs) and the guys noted that Future Boy was written when they were 16!  My personal highlights from the main set were; Dark On Fire, State of Things, Last Chance, Fishing for a Dream and Feeling Oblivion.  After playing 14 classics, they went off for a very brief break before the first encore.  Red Moon, Rain City and Underdog (Save Me)…wow!  Another encore followed with them playing Ether Song, before giving the crowd a taste of things to come.  The new song was called Tomorrow and sounded great – it had a pop feel to it in the vein of Keep Me Around.  The closer, Slack, meant we were guaranteed to be sent home happy.

Why was this my favourite gig?

  • An amazing setlist spanning some of my favourite albums
  • Live performances of TB songs that I haven’t heard in a long time (if at all)
  • A band that seemed like they were having a great time
  • An audience that definitely was
  • An intimate venue with great acoustics
  • Front row position throughout with my beautiful wife
  • Setlist, signed posters and a picture with the band

Essentially this was a culmination of 16 years investment in a band that I love.  I could think of no better way to spend a Saturday night.

Merch:  They had vinyl copies of JackInABox on sale on the merch store which was typical as I recently picked up a second hand version of that.  I picked up a couple of posters of the most recent albums and Clare (being the brilliant wife she is) got them signed for me and asked Gale if we could grab a quick photo.  I bussled my way passed the crowds and got a great photo.  Olly complimented my Ether Song t-shirt (it’s still in top condition considering it’s about 14 years old) and I proceeded to make a cringeworthy comment, repeating a recent twitter reply I’d sent to him about Shaun of the Dead.  Oh well, that was the only thing that I’ll regret in an amazing night that will live long in my memory.

Thank you Olly, Gale, Eddie & Rob for a fantastic night.  Turin Brakes deserve a bigger audience, but Clare and I felt privileged to be part of a small one on Saturday night.  Well worth a trip to London.

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The offending cringeworthy Twitter banter. Fine in tweet form, but why I felt the need to repeat it is beyond me. Olly gave it the response it deserved *brief pause* “nice”.


Turin Brakes Setlist 100 Club, London, England 2017, The Source Years [

Turin Brakes @ The Cluny

Present: Chirs, Clare, Ste & Andrew.  This was sold out by the time Andrew knew he could go.  Magically I spotted someone selling a ticket on Facebook and Andrew managed to grab it!

Turin Brakes were great.  Way better than at Chase Park last year.  They had the amps at the Cluny turned up well past 11, but TB sounded amazing and were clearly pleased to be showcasing a new album (Lost Property).

Support act: Tom Speight – pretty good.  Added to spotify playlist afterwards.

Food: Longhorns, Jesmond.  Post-gig quote “I’ve learnt an important meat lesson tonight.”

My highlights:
Last Chance
Sea Change
Fishing for a Dream
Mind Over Money
Keep Me Around

Turin Brakes Setlist The Cluny, Newcastle, England 2016, Lost Property Tour




Chase Park Festival feat. Turin Brakes

Headliners: Ash
Support Act: Turin Brakes (pictured)
Others on the bill: Slug, Blizzard, Hot Soles