Gig Review: Onix Music Presents Phase / Twist Helix / The Pastures
The North East music scene has been steadily growing over the last couple of months, with ever more new bands, venues and promoters popping up across the region.
The latest name to make an appearance is Onix Music, a music management agency aiming to provide a range of services for artists (tour bookings, merchandising, production - you name it!) but with a real emphasis on nurturing the finest in cutting edge alternative music from the north east.
And what better way to launch this new endeavour than with a gig featuring three hugely talented and distinctive local bands at the intimate Cluny 2 in Newcastle’s famous Ouseburn area. Onix kindly invited us along to be part of this big night and also gave us the chance to interview two of the acts, Phase and Twist Helix, which you can read here.
The team’s work in promoting the event clearly paid off as revellers started arriving pretty much from the doors opening, just in time to witness four-piece The Pastures kicking things off with a bang.
A band who have mastered the art of blending their punk attitude with folk-rock vibes and lashing guitar riffs, Pastures' unique setup shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does.
Anyone who had previously been settled into their cosy auditorium seats quickly found themselves on their feet, even if at a tame distance from the stage itself.
But with the appearance of band mascot "Plant Pot Face” (does what it says on the pot…!) any final resistance by the audience to get involved and dancing had been overcome.
The Pastures are clearly a band that doesn't take itself too seriously, and simply hopes to entertain with their uplifting feel-good music, a feat that they most certainly achieved.
Switching things right up with their cinematic electro-pop, and fresh off a plane from Madrid after playing at Dcode festival, were Newcastle trio Twist Helix.
Smoke and light effects perfectly emphasised the mood of the band's dark, futuristic and industrial themes as Bea’s thundering vocals filled the room.
Time seemed to stand still momentarily; only to be reawakened as keys, drum and bass reunited into a captivating blend of rock-electronica.
With the exception of a special request by Onix’s very own Mietek for Twist Helix’s iconic track 'Decade'; the set mainly comprised of new material, including their singles 'Pulse' and 'Little Buildings', all of which were received well by the mixed crowd of fans and newcomers alike. However, my personal favourite track of the night was their as yet unreleased song 'Ouseburn'. Not only is it ridiculously catchy, it felt special to hear it being played in a venue which has so much history and meaning to the band.
The final act of the night was also the one with the longest history.
Having formed back in 2013, and with 2 albums under their belt, Phase are hard to catagorise into a particular genre.
Blending their influences from lead-singer Thanos’ home country Greece, with dark psychedelic and post punk sounds the result is certainly unique.
However tonight’s performance was much more stripped back than the usual eclectic assembly of band members and instruments. Instead we were treated to Thanos' performance using an acoustic guitar whilst Adam (Drums) and Fardin (guitar) kept things at a suitability loud and grungy level for the small gathering of hardy fans.
Despite this particular band lineup being a very last minute arrangement (primarily due to injury and some of other band members carrying out their military conscription in Greece) we were still treated to an enthralling and skillful performance, proving that the Phase Ship is indeed built of very sturdy material.
Onix Music certainly did themselves, and the local music scene, proud with this hopefully first of many live music events.
We are excited to see what’s to come next from this passionate team of music lovers and what local talent they will champion next.
In the meantime check out our interviews with Phase and Twist Helix here.
All photography by Mandy Neumann