Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Artist
Black Spirituals are a two-piece from Oakland, California, literally bringing the noise to Newcastle with an intense attention-grabbing performance. They seem to be an ambient-noise band with a jazz band ethic, a classier Lightning Bolt shall we say? This seems completely wrong on paper but works surprisingly well with the jazz element creeping in through Marcshall Trammell's erratic improvisational drumming (his slightly stunted - but thoroughly endearing - introduction after their first song isn't a million miles away from jazz room shtick either).

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

This gig has been put on by Middlesbrough promoters The Kids Are Solid Gold who have a habit of booking great bands for one-off gigs, usually bringing multiple acts together for mouth watering one off line-ups. You could almost call them the ATP of the North, just without the financial irregularities.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

  Photo: Adam Millard An evening of dreamy jangly pop awaited this Newcastle audience as two promising purveyors of this new-new wave took the stage. First up, Fear Of Mean, a Brighton 4 piece who do the jangly dream pop thing with some aplomb. Weirdly, it comes across as being on the sleepier side of the spectrum, despite their almost relentlessly upbeat performance. They certainly look the part too, especially singer Jess Weiss who seems totally at ease up front.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Artist
Photo: Adam Hampton-Matthews First onstage tonight are Palace and the most noticable thing about Palace is that they look ridiculously young. They do, however, fall into that annoying trap of having too many guitarists (3), which there is just no need for, especially when they all seem to be playing pretty much the same thing. I can forgive this faux-pas on account of the fact that they might be growing into their respective roles, and there is certainly some promising talent on show but it does all sound a bit generic.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

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Sunderland folkies Lilliput made the short trip to Newcastle’s Cluny 2 to open up tonight, clean-cut, clinical and with an air of laddish swagger, they roll out a barrage of unyielding vocal harmonies that would make Mumford & Sons blush. I’d go so far as to say that if you love vocal harmonies then you’ll love this band, and if you don’t you most probably won’t. On the odd occasions where they move away from this formula, like on new song “All Honesty” which is a cut above the rest with its superior melody and killer guitar hook, they really show what they are capable of.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Artist
The sadly defunct Riverside venue in Newcastle was obviously close to people's hearts. This gig was a fundraiser for a new documentary on the venue which is currently in production, and not only had they managed to coax Dubstar out of retirement for their first gig in 14 years, but they’d brought Kathryn Williams and David Brewis (Field Music/School Of Language) along for the ride. At five English pounds for a ticket this must surely have been the bargain of the year.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Kicking things off tonight are a local power-duo Gallery Circus who treat the early arrivals to a breakneck dose of loud but slightly over-polished garage rock, seemingly aimed at the Kings Of Leon generation. It’s technically excellent but an odd match for the crowd of lo-fi aficionados eagerly awaiting headline act, The Wave Pictures. The band are touring on the back of yet another excellent LP, Beer In The Breakers, released this year without a great deal of hullabaloo to a growing batch of loyal fans.

Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Marina Celeste is probably best known as a regular member of Nouvelle Vague’s revolving line-up of sultry French vocalists but tonight she’s in Newcastle with her own two-piece band (plus some laptop percussion) to promote her latest album The Angel Pop, a collaboration with Terry Hall of The Specials. Entering the stage to a stilted version of The Cure’s "A Forrest" and a couple of slightly flat original numbers it’s fair to say that the opening fails to lift the crowd, many of which are lazily sat on the floor (presumably drained from a sunny afternoon of beer garden drunkenness).