Friday, 23 October 2009

Full Moon Rising

Article by Matt Taylor

The Full Moon, in Newcastle, is due to welcome back customers to the venue on Friday, October 30, when an entertainment-packed opening weekend will begin.

The pub was a favourite spot for music fans and was on the circuit of bars associated with the indie crowd and has been much-missed for its late-night antics.

But licensee, Matt Taylor, is vowing to bring the pub back to its former glory, as well as capitalising on previous strengths, a year almost to the day since it mysteriously closed last year.

Matt has reinstalled a stage, and is hoping to turn the Full Moon into one of the city’s leading live music venues, as well as offering discerning customers cask ales and ciders, plus several draught continental lagers.

On Friday, the opening night will feature two leading local bands performing original material, plus acoustic guitarist Gareth Powell doing his quirky versions of popular indie and classic tunes. After the music played by a resident DJ will go on until 2am with indie and rock music into the early hours. Doors will be open from seven o’clock and the bands are on from nine, with a two pound charge for entry.

To continue with the party, the next day, October 31, will feature a Halloween party, with magician Ben Cardall doing ‘spooky’ close-up magic, a tarot reader, acoustic music from Haley Strangelove, indie/rock tunes from the DJ, all in a location done up in a style befitting a horror film set. It is free entry until 11pm and two pounds thereafter.

Matt hopes that the opening weekend will be the start of great times to come. He said:
“I was a loyal regular of the Full Moon for a good while until it closed down. I was absolutely gutted when I went out in Newcastle this time last year, dressed up in a Halloween get-up, and when we got to the Moon, it was shut.

“We are going to start off with live music on two nights: Chilled Out Wednesdays with a regular list of amazing local acoustic musicians, and Fridays featuring a range of diverse originals bands followed by DJ SweetJayne who used to be on the decks before the pub closed last year. Then on Saturdays we will have two alternating resident DJs with a slightly different feel than on a Friday.
“Eventually I also want to bring back the old open mike acoustic nights. I remember going to them years ago and they were some of the best of their kind.

“I know the Moon has been sorely missed, so I hope we will make a lot of people happy by doing what we’re doing. And if anyone has any ideas of how we can do things better, our ears are wide open to suggestions.”

The Full Moon opens on Friday, October 30, and entry on the night will cost £2. To keep up with what is on the agenda for coming weeks at the venue, join the Facebook group “We’re Bringing Back the Full Moon".

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Another Rhythm Jesus / She is Sue/ The Chapman Family @ The Sugarmill 16th October 2009

Review by Charlotte Lunt

Photos by Chris Bostock

A ruefully empty Sugarmill was the venue for a gig which for my money ranks amongst the best I’ve seen this year.

Opening the night was Burton based ‘Another Rhythm Jesus’ hotly tipped by local music hero Dave Hamer, and it was easy to see why. Melding jazz rhythms with an edge of (somewhat tongue in cheek) Sonic Youth, they presented a timeless set of music. Swapping instruments and vocal leads throughout the set they moved effortlessly through a range of differing styles. From ‘Greyhound’ with its “weird rhythm” and vocals reminiscent of early Siouxsie Sioux, to ‘Haircut’ which was a cheeky little number with a decidedly dirty bass line.
Their last song ‘Punch numb’ combined a bedrock of soaring guitars and indomitable vocals, giving it a real horizon-chasing road trip feel, then just when least expected a chord progression which takes the track on a jovial circuitous route back to the dark edge of the witch hunt it narrates.

She is Sue, lightened the mood somewhat with a sound that struck me immediately as sounding like a hi-bred of The Sport and The Control. Not that this is a bad thing. Providing bite-size indie numbers to the audience and with a particularly candid performance by their guitarist, I found myself wondering if the performance would’ve been more energetic if they weren’t constrained by the coats that the frosty temperature of the mill demanded. At times the delivery of the lyrics was so fast that the sonorous vocals of the front man.

For the last couple of songs they were joined by a sax player, who I understand is to become a permanent fixture in their line up, which gives them a slight edge over other guitar based bands. The audience now replete with a banner for aforementioned sax player, started venturing forwards appearing to thaw out somewhat. Whilst firmly in the indie trenches, She is Sue’s music would not be out of place on any given Brat-pack Soundtrack, not because it harks back to the 80’s but it does have that feel good actor about it; one to hear ringing in your ears as you watch the protagonist heading off into the sunset.
One of the emptiest stages I have seen in a while lulled me in to a false sense of security as The Chapman Family cranked up the volume. Opening in a very measured fashion; such an understated approach coupled with the clarity and menace of Kingsley’s vocals could lead to comparisons to Glasvegas, but The Chapman Family deliver an entirely different level of anger; equally brooding but I’m tempted to believe these guys might just swing the first punch.

A real electric charge emanated from the stage during the first song whilst Kingsley repeatedly wound the mic lead round his neck in a macabre imitation of hanging with his eyes rolling back in his head, surrounded by pounding drums, frenetic strumming, and a bassist seemingly possessed by a greater force. Treating us to a “ballard”, a number with far more commercial appeal than its predecessors showed why this band have been so hotly tipped, and why perhaps they have escaped being pigeon-holder into one specific genre.
The stark picture on their promo poster does not give a true picture of what this band is about. Whilst they are from the darker edge of the music spectrum, they are a band who clearly have a good sense of humour, and who are eager to take their music to new audiences as shown by their current 31 night tour. They give a sinister whirlwind of a performance, which tonight included a superb rendition of ‘Kids’, as well as forthcoming single ‘VIrgins’.

Their last song grew to a catatonic and climactic finish, and as the last chords rang out, negotiations were underway for an encore. With the same disconcerting faux-suicide visuals as their opening number and wave after wave of feedback, this is the sort of music that drives accelerators to floors, and sends tribes charging into battle (but may not be for the average Sun journalist).

Another Rhythm Jesus
She is Sue
The Chapman Family

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Kinch / The Souveniers @ The Old Brown Jug 14th October 2009

Review by AFD

This week’s We-Play night, although a little thin on the ground audience wise, provided an opportunity to see some fine talent.
From Manchester, Kinch opened up the night’s proceedings with an amazing style that is quite difficult to categorise;I would say that they have a new individual sound of their own.
The band themselves describe their sound as, “Britpop with a taste of motown, ska and the early 80s.”
With strong chord progressions, an interesting use of dynamics and almighty harmonies, the four had everyone’s eyes on stalks. Throwing tunes out there like ‘Never Be You,’ to ‘Falling apart’ and ‘If looks could kill’ just showed the versatility in both their song writing and live performance abilities. They are an out right brilliant collective of musicians.

Headlining, The Souveniers influenced heavily by bands such as: The Who, The Kinks, The Clash, Buzzcocks and more, delivered a very Libertines/Pulp style set. Debuting their single at the Jug, ‘The 21st Century,’ they had people humming the song long after the night was over.

The Souveniers

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pearl / Tommy Reilly @ The Sugarmill 12th October 2009

Review by Sian Eardley

Photo by Chris Bostock

Rarely does a support act usurp a headliner in an almost anti-climatic fashion, but it is fair to say that the first acoustic act: “Pearl”, (usually of “Pearl and the Puppets”) stole the limelight off 19 year old Tommy Reilly. However, that isn’t to say that all hope was lost on Mr. Reilly and co. But…being so moved by the pure brilliance of Pearl, I feel it is only right to report on both musical musings of the night.
Firstly, I do have to note that the crowd were very unforgiving (in regards to all four acts on stage); with the average member being an excited 16year old girl, making it hard to tune in to anybody, for their constant screaming and yelling in anticipation for Tommy Reilly. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the bands start getting agitated by it too, there are also rumbles amongst the audience. This didn’t exactly make for an electrifying atmosphere, especially for those respectable fans
who come to appreciate the music, so with this in mind; it did put a “downer” on the evening.
This aside, the show went on…

The lovely and magical “Pearl” floated on stage, in hand with acoustic guitar (as borrowed from co-support act “Roddy Hart”, who you should also look up), producing sounds slightly reminiscent of “Fiest”, but more importantly, it was music good for the soul. Her lullabies and romantic melodies are very much in fashion with the film release – “500 Days of Summer”, which has established it’s very own style in dress and music. Each song reminded me of Regina Spektor’s “Us” (from the 500 Days soundtrack), as she manages to captivate innocence, purity and beauty with every breath and strum, with lyrics: “Shame
to make you cry”, and “I dearly love you” just touching the iceberg.
Here elegance and grace were sadly overshadowed by the rowdy crowd as she sung “Love me like I do”, which was purely ironic as I loved the set even though it was hard work trying to hear what was happening on stage. Her music works as background music to your life or loved ones, or you can find yourself falling completely in love with her sentimental sounds as I did.

Her music was poetry, and moved like words noting a romantic novel. Her cover of “Use Somebody” was purely stunning. It did actually give me chills, and for once, the rest of the crowd did stop in recognition of this wonderful rendition. Besides the music, as an artist and as a person, she had a very sweet disposition and came across as the kind of gal you could get on well with down the pub.

She has to be my favourite discovered artist since… I don’t know when! “Pearl”/”Pearl and the Puppets” are a must see! She’s a rare gem and it was an honour to be able to witness such grace, refinement, and loveliness on stage.

And onto Tommy Reilly…
The first thing to probably note, is that he’s very different on record than live. On record, it becomes apparent that he’s influenced by Dylan, and give him 15-20 years, and he’ll be all distinguished and as husky. Also, he too, like Pearl, has the acoustic airwave thing going on, painting the impression of birds soaring in the air; just as light and delicate. Reilly makes the kind of music you’d stumble across at a festival in a lower-key tent, but of higher quality music.
So, I don’t know if it was the buzz and excitement
of having “just released an album last month” as he proclaimed on stage, or the hyperness of the pubescent audience, but a very different vibe was given than the heartfelt tracks found on his MySpace, (check out a track called “Telephone”).

He had a very childlike ambivalence; a naivety which met with the conviction of his chords; similar to The View’s “Kyle Falconer”. Reilly also has a generational appeal which gives off this “happy days” feel, as his music is very much “of its time” making for a light-hearted set, and one that sees you expect for him to break into The Libertines’ “Don’t Look Back into the Sun” at any point. Therefore, it is feel-good music to listen to, but it soon gets repetitive, relying on the powerful drum beats and choruses to pull it off, and carry them through. But then, during this very Scottish night (where all the acts hailed from, and even Reilly’s keyboardist bore a striking resemblance to Biffy’s “Simon Neil”) a jaw-dropper emerged. “Having No-one” had just as much romantic caliber and punch as one from Pearl’s repertoire, and
was almost familiar (beat-wise) to Peter, Bjork and John’s “Young Folks”, whilst the lines: “That’s why I’ve gotta find myself someone…’cause having no-one isn’t much fun” made my hair stand on end. The whole place was moved and made the whole highlight of the show, with tracks “Tell Me so” and “Jackets” being close contenders.

And so, not being an engaging act as hoped for, I’d still say to check Tommy Reilly out; whether on record or MySpace to get his full impact. I don’t know whether it was the vibe or the formula tonight where it didn’t quite work out, but Pearl was left glistening.

Tommy Reilly

Friday, 9 October 2009

Cause an Effect / The Rittz @ The Old Brown Jug, Newcastle 7th October 2009

Review by AFD

Some might say these Wednesday Night events at the Jug have become an asset to live music in Newcastle under Lyme.
The night is run by Joe Thomas and Tom Wood hosting a display of musicians, ranging from different styles and genre, but mainly based around Indie. With that in mind, and the duo, Joe and Tom themselves, playing the decks, you have nearly no excuse to have an early night.

Out of town band, ‘Cause an Effect’ opened Wednesday’s gig with a hard hitting rocktastic set. The four piece played a range of their own material right through to a most surprising mix of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, crossed with Dizzee Rascal’s Bonkers at the end of their performance. Make of it what you will but it was definitely entertaining one way or another to say the least.

Soon after, the four boys from Congleton addressed the audience with brilliantly well thought out riffs and dually given stage presence; of course I’m talking about the sounds of ‘The Rittz’.
At such a young age, Adam (guitar and lead vocals), Sam (guitar and backing vocals), the powerful Matt (Drummer) and Jake (Bass), never fail to impress talent and modesty in their actions. With pumping tunes like: ‘3:42’ to ‘False Apologies’, the sound was blasting, almost spoon-feeding the crowd’s open mouths.

A great night for all involved, and for an audience, great to listen to.