Gig Review: White Houses/Salsola/Bad Bug/Josh Hodgson
Pillar Artists are at it again: showcasing the top emerging Northern talent in the best local venues. This time, White Houses (formerly Columbia) were joined by Salsola, Bad Bug and Josh Hodgson in a Head of Steam packed out with a mix of existing fans, curious gig-goers and Newcastle Indie Society members, making for an atmosphere bursting at the seams.
First up was Sunderland based singer-songwriter Josh Hodgson who, despite admitting to only having just ventured out performing solely covers, offered up an impressive collection of original material. Josh’s performance was nothing short of stunning; his show stopping voice and effortless guitar playing are enough to leave any audience awestruck and wanting more. His on stage presence is slightly awkward but in the most endearing way, and had the whole crowd charmed without even trying. Thoroughly excited to hear more from this guy.
Hailing from Leeds, it was Bad Bug’s first time in Newcastle and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already love them before they’d even played a note.
The band are made up of four of the most badass women on guitars, drums and bass (I mean really, how often do you see that?) all accompanied by a bold and fearless frontman.
Bad Bug describe themselves as “evil pop”, but there was nothing at all evil about this powerful display from the ferocious five piece.
Between their exceptionally solid rhythm section, mad scientist-esque frontman, impeccable image and gritty, edgy, almost trip-inducing setlist, I feel like Bad Bug are really onto something really quite clever.
Girl power seemed to be a bit of a theme to the evening as next to the stage were indie outfit Salsola, who were a band I’d heard a lot about but was yet to catch live. Had frontwoman Vicky not informed the crowd very early on that she was suffering from a severe sore throat, you’d never have guessed anything was wrong (though chugging the cough syrup midway through could have been a bit of a giveaway). A fierce set featuring a plethora of catchy pop songs with a punky edge, jangly guitars and a palpable energy, Salsola really blew the roof off the place.
White Houses, the band resurrected from what was Columbia, closed the night with their first ever headline slot. The atmosphere had continuously grown throughout the night, and there was definitely an air of expectation hanging around due to the calibre of acts the night had seen so far.
The band wasted no time throwing themselves into their set, with frontman John immediately claiming the stage as his own.
Considering their recent rebrand and lineup change, White Houses appeared unphased and demonstrated an entirely self-assured performance. As a first time spectator, the rebrand didn’t affect my perception on the band at all, and there definitely wasn’t any weak links in terms of musicianship. Props must go to newest member, bassist Sam, who looked and sounded entirely at home as part of the unit; the chemistry between these lads is undeniable, and massively added to their on stage charm and likeability. There was no shying away from crowd interaction either, taking every chance to get their audience on board and as involved as possible. The nicest part was how genuinely humbled White Houses were by the size of the crowd and the response they received, which was all thoroughly deserved.
If this is just the beginning for White Houses, I’m looking forward to what comes next.