Gig Review: JUDAS/Shoot Wrestler/Butterjunk/Duchess @ Nemix (16/3/18)
Arriving at the hidden away recording studio & rehearsal space in the centre of town shortly after doors, I was immediately impressed with the generous size of the venue which would take some doing to fill.
But then I had no doubts on this being achieved in good time given the strong line-up put together by the guys from Truth Hurts promotions.
Tasked with warming up a quickly increasing crowd were three skilfully picked local bands.
First off, with exhilarating riffs and Strokes-esque vibes, Shoot Wrestler certainly toppled us over with their roaring rock sound.
A smooth and mature performance from a band which are not afraid to declare their inspiration from the world of pro-wrestling by writing not 1 but 2 songs about the sport.
Following such an impressive lead was never going to be easy, especially for a band about to play their debut gig in front of a clearly hyped-up gathering of friends and family. However the peculiarly named Butterjunk didn’t hold back and delivered their raw indie-rock tunes with heaps of confidence and sheer enthusiasm, which certainly provided great entertainment for a bouncing crowd that by now had clearly made good use of the venues BYOB policy.
A breath-taking third performance of the night came from atmospheric alt-rockers Duchess.
Having wowed me with their spine-tinglingly dark melodies and hauntingly beautiful vocals on numerous occasions in the past they certainly did not disappoint on this occasion either. A band with a real unique sound full of depth that certainly held me captivated throughout their set and swiftly brought the main act of the evening upon us.
Taking to the stage with a self-assurance gained during their extensive touring schedules, Judas’ lead singer John enthusiastically summons the timid crowd right up to the expansive stage. With quick steps the crowd is huddled up close and immediately a real spark is ignited in the atmosphere as the first chords begin pulsing trough the speakers.
The band's potent rock sound is undeniably enthralling to behold for hard-core fans and curious observers alike thanks to their hooking riffs, crystal-clear vocals and brain-latching choruses, especially in such an intense live setting.
Building steady momentum by opening with a striking new tune and following it with the familiar mellow melodies of 'Some People' allowed plenty of opportunity to get engrossed in the passionate performance by all four band members – there is no competition for attention here with everyone in equal standing, which is a refreshing sight.
The next track 'Big Mouth', based on those moments when we say things we instantly regret, is received with big cheers and is certainly an instant crowd-pleaser as more and more boisterous jumping along ensues. It comes as no surprise when it is announced that this huge rocking anthem will be Judas’ new single due to be released later this month.
Swiftly following are the catchy beats of 'Youth of a Young Age'; keeping spirits high before the stunning rock ballad 'Love Is The Enemy' really gets the crowd to join together in an impressive sing-along. The smiles with hints of disbelief observed on the each of the band members' faces show how much humility and pure joy for making music remains in these up-rising rock-stars.
With no time to repose the temperature in the enclosed space hits a peak but does not falter the crowd's enthusiasm when the challenge is set for a “high-jump” competition to seductive heart-break anthem 'Call Me' and is rewarded handsomely with free t-shirt to one lucky fan. What is really noteworthy is how strong Judas’ set-list is tonight - full of classic tunes and unreleased tracks which are all distinctly unique in sound but equal in captivating passion and force that runs through them– a real testament for the huge potential this band really packs.
The concluding song 'Ceasefire' allows for one final euphoric sing-and-jump along as the night fully imprints itself into everyone’s memories and leaves us hungry for more.
So it’s just as well that it won’t be long until Judas will return to Newcastle as part of Hit The North festival in May - take it from me, you will not want to miss it as this band has it's eye on the big stages for sure!
Cover image: Duchess
All photography by Mandy Naumann