Evo Emerging Highlights Part 2: Tyne Bar, Sequinned Outfits And a White Piano
I had some time before catching the next act on my list, so I acquainted myself with the various venues and how best to get to and from them all. Thankfully the map was good and, despite my shockingly bad sense of direction, they were all within easy walking distance of each other.
I found myself at my pre-arranged destination early, the Tyne Bar Stage, so I got myself some mango cider and sat in the enclosed area underneath a huge arch with a disco ball hanging down. With it being an outside stage it was inevitable but disappointing to see loads of people that hadn’t bought tickets easily able to view the stage. Answers on a postcard for the solution to that problem.
The band that were drawing the crowd at this point were local rock band Good Friend. They clearly love playing live, which always means the crowd will enjoy it, and they mix a few different styles of rock into their set. I chatted to them afterwards about playing live.
“We loved that! Had loads of fun, especially with our favourite song to play live, ‘Butterflies’. We just get right into it and lose ourselves.”
And they clearly plan to continue loving it, having just completed a European tour they’re about to release a whole bunch of new songs before touring again in America. I really hope they manage to fit in a few UK dates too.
Next up on the Tyne Bar Stage was grime artiste Zico MC. His was an energetic set delivering a lively mix of background tunes to complement his confident lyrics. Although the crowd started off hugging the walls like they were at a school disco, Zico managed to get everyone bopping along to his tunes. He traversed across the stage covering every inch with a zealous performance, and I think that even if grime or hip-hop isn’t your ‘thing’ you’d still enjoy Zico MC. I managed to grab a conversation with him afterwards about his set.
“That was brilliant! I’m so glad everyone liked it. I would’ve liked the backing vocals and mastering on sound to be a bit better but that doesn’t matter as long as people enjoyed it. I loved seeing everyone up and dancing to my favourite song to play live, the dance hall track at the end.”
You can catch Zico MC at Lindisfarne Festival this year, and you should!
The last band for myself to see at Tyne Bar Stage was Social Room. This band has a swagger to them that is completely justifiable, because they produce a set of live songs that can’t be delivered any other way. The lead singer’s stage presence is immense, but he’s totally in sync with his bandmates. There’s quite a few of them as well; six musicians are crammed onto the stage with guitars and keyboards blending together to create a unique sound that’s quite addictive. They get better each time I see them perform, and it’s as if they already know they’re going to be a huge hit not just in their home county but well beyond. Their new EP is out soon and is produced by none other than Dave Stewart of Eurythmics et al. Their upcoming gigs in Stockton, Middlesbrough, Leeds, and London will be timed to support the launch of that, and I can tell you it’s worth paying whatever entrance fee to see them live.
I had just enough time to wander back over the bridge to Mustang’s Alley to see Be Quiet. Shout Loud! I got there to see just a smattering of people in the audience, but with a knowing smile I took my position at the front. The knowing smile was justified as people streamed in from all over before the first song had even finished.
This band are flamboyantly infectious with their pop-rock anthems, sequinned outfits, and even mascots, so the chances of anyone passing by and not wanting to see them are nil.
The lead singer bounced all over the stage in a sequin jacket, bright blue shoes and matching scarf singing and performing disco moves, more than ably backed up by a band consisting of a half-naked lead guitar player, a constantly beaming bass player, a keytar player happy to be at the back headbanging, and a drummer playing like his life depended on it. By the second song in the crowd was singing the words back to the band.
Their electrifying set included old and new songs, with a lean to the new mainly because of their current online pledge campaign for their new EP, which has all sorts of cool rewards available for contributors. Be Quiet. Shout Loud! finished their Evo Emerging debut with their favourite song to play live, ‘No Hope’, which was performed with the lead singer clambering onto the roof of a neighbouring container and strutting Jagger-esque whilst leading the crowd in a sing-along, leaving the band to make the most of the stage by jumping around with equal enthusiasm. This was definitely the best live performance of the day for me.
With the sun getting low in the sky it was time to catch an indoor gig, so I made my way to Blast Studios to see Imogen. This was a really nice space for a gig; plenty of standing room, gentle but effective lighting and a bright white piano onstage. The whole room had been specifically set up for Evo Emerging, and it’s normally a lounge area for the studio.
Despite it being rammed full of expectant gig-goers it was a nicely relaxed atmosphere as she took to the stage. Between beautifully constructed songs she was very modest about her talent, which is a good job because I spotted plenty of musicians in the crowd who’d turned up to watch her. I was just one of around a hundred-strong captivated audience enjoying her varied vocal range and piano skills.
I can’t wait for her debut EP, due out at the end of summer.