Gig Review: Gallery Circus & Sauvage at Surfcafe Tynemouth
I had heard of Gallery Circus, but hadn't had the chance to listen to their music around the time that their gig was first announced at Surfcafe Tynemouth on the 10th of June.
Despite this however, I was easily swayed into getting a ticket after checking out some of their tracks on Spotify.
With an abundance of riffs, drums and a dark piercing vocals in every song, there was no way I’d miss the chance to see them perform live at one of the North East’s best small venues on Tynemouth’s sea front.
Support on the night comprised of recently formed Newcastle four-piece Sauvage, whose beautifully melancholic indie sound provided the perfect ambiance for a hot summer evening. Whats more, with an additional two band members added to the usual line up, the Surf Cafe felt extra cosy. This fact was particularly evident during their beautiful yet poignant single 'December', which was released in its namesake month last year and sounded incredible live. The band have been gigging a lot already this year, so expectations are now building for what's to come next. One to watch for sure.
By 10 o'clock it was finally time for the headliners, and what better way for the twin brothers of Gallery Circus to open the show than with their most recent belter of a single “The Flood”. Within seconds it became clear that these guys know how to play live, and relish it to the max. The energy delivered by Graeme's vigorous drumming style is matched only by Dan’s vocal and guitar wielding prowess, and from the way the two interact throughout it's clear that there is no singular front-man in this band.
Gallery Circus itself formed back in 2010 when the brothers moved from South Tyneside to America where they started writing music together.
With the help from local musicians who kitted them out and sourced some unusual venues for them to play (a roof-top being one!) the brothers quickly built up a local following.
Eventually returning to Blighty in 2014, with undoubtedly a head full of impressions and experiences, their first 2 singles 'Supercell' and 'Hollywood Drip' were released.
Last night's set included a mixture of new and old material, some of which also gave Dan a chance to show off his keyboard skills.
And despite each song being as mosh-inducing as the next, the crowd unfortunately was a little more reserved than I would have expected.
Even when the riff-loaded 2016 single 'Holland on Fire' kicked in, things remained relatively calm, allowing me to become engrossed in watching the brothers play their hearts out without the distractions of being in a mosh.
The official video of 'Holland on Fire' is incredible by the way and provides a great game of “guess where this is in the north east” .
What happened next was the highlight of the night for me as 10-year-old Alfie, at the Surf Cafe with his dad John, was asked to join the band on stage for a rendition of 'Supercell'.
Not only was he able to keep up with Graeme as they conjointly played on the drums to this classic Gallery Circus track, he almost stole the show and finally got the crowd going just in time for the encore.
And what better way to finish than a double whammy of covers.
Undoubtedly best song ever written: 'Imagine' was delivered with a fantastic Gallery Circus style rock-twist which had the whole of the Surf Cafe singing along.
This was then followed by a less perfect, but still incredible, version of Bowie’s Space Oddity. I’d imagine that it’s these performances that will stay with those in attendance last night the longest.
By this point the crowd was not willing to let the night end and managed to request one final encore track: 'Hands Up For The Hipsters', and what a track to finish on.
With its alternation between ferocious percussion and riffage, combined with a slowed down chorus and some neat drumming skills - who knew playing one drumstick on anything but a drum, say another drumstick or a guitar for example, could sound so good.
There is no doubt that Gallery Circus would give Royal Blood a run for their money with the right backing and support.
I am definitely hooked and eagerly awaiting the release of their new single 'Sugar', and hopefully more live shows very soon.
Keep your eyes peeled on Gallery Circus’ social media and streaming accounts.