Gig Review: The Strands w/ Baltic & Great Waves
Though Riverside 2 is a venue in its early days, which many people probably don’t even realize exists, it opened its doors to the family, friends and fans alike of Sunderland indie-rock outfit The Strands.
For a show tagged as their first ever headliner, the small room was impressively busy from start to end, and those there to witness were treated to more local indie goodness in the form of their support bands.
Local scene veterans Great Waves had the ever-difficult job of opening the show, but did so with the confidence and ease that they always do. Much to the delight of the growing crowd, their set was a mixture of songs both old and new, including latest single and fan favourite ‘Said Too Much’.
They proved the addition of their new drummer has only strengthened their live presence and, as always, frontman Khyle’s vocal gymnastics continue to impress. The band’s obvious love for what they do makes for a charming performance every time.
Upon witnessing Baltic, I think The Libertines and The Vaccines made a baby that grew to its late teens and learned to write its own songs.
Fresh faced they may be, but these lads have real talent and that’s speaking from the perspective of someone who attends a lot of local shows, it was really nice to watch a band I’d yet to hear. Baltic have honed a really frantic sound, reminiscent of a lot of 00s indie with all of the endearment that their cheeky lyrics bring to the table. Though it is something of an already familiar sound, if it’s not broken, why fix it?
By now at its peak capacity, Riverside 2 held within its walls a crowd that were itching for the night’s headliners.
Met by roars as they walked on stage, The Strands launched themselves into their high-octane set and the work that had gone in behind the scenes to ensure they were ready for their debut headline was clear, as was the fact that they were going to take this opportunity to bask in their moment. And deservedly so.
Knowing the boys’ background and having been around to see much of it blossom, their history manages to show itself in the form of a real tangible chemistry. Clearly, they’re very passionate about their craft and the pride they take in showing it off to a responsive audience is something that’s been rightfully earned. Frontman Dean tightropes the line between confidence and arrogance, and has all the makings of a memorable frontman while keeping the audience on side with both his wit between songs and talent to justify it. The Strands have a knack for writing songs that sound mature yet playful, which their live show absolutely proves. This was further demonstrated by their beautiful acoustic rendition of an older song ‘Crystal Clear’, breathing new life into it.
More high energy numbers like singles ‘Don’t Go Away’ and ‘Combine’ had the crowd singing the words back to them, and by the time they reached the end of the set they had everyone in the room in the palm of their hand.
They ended on a high with an unreleased track named ‘Made Of Art’, which left me(and I’m sure much of the rest of the audience), excited to see what’s next for them.
Photography: Robyn Walker