Live Review – Clean Bandit, O2 Academy Newcastle

So Clean Bandit played at the O2 Academy Newcastle last week and absolutely smashed it. The band from Cambridge are doing some incredibly exciting things at the moment and if you haven’t heard their no.1 hit ‘Rather Be’ that also made it into the Billboard Hot 100 chart then where have you been for the past year?

With great stage-presence, the 4 piece group connected ,and rocked, the audience right from the start. The female singers joining them on stage were flawless, and by the looks of things enjoying every minute of it. Basically, the way the band works is they create their own songs and then proceed to find the right vocalists to feature on them.

The band played songs from their debut album ‘New Eyes’ which was released during the summer. They switched between styles during the set, going from electronic and classical focused songs such as ‘Mozart’s House’, ‘Dust Clears’ and ‘Telephone Banking’, to songs nearer the pop end of the spectrum like ‘Real Love’, ‘Extraordinary’ and ‘Heart On Fire’. One of my personal favourites was the result of an unexpected collaboration between the band and French musician Stylo G on the song ‘Come Over’. It is a well fused mix of Clean Bandit’s staple, featuring electronic sounds and classical instruments with reggae island beats. The artists managed to weave their genres together seamlessly, and not one person in the audience refrained from moving to the track. Another song, ‘Rhianna’, got a similar reception from the crowd. The encore consisted rather obviously of the smash hit ‘Rather Be’ but not before they got the crowd bouncing with a performance of Robin S’ 90s banger ‘Show Me Love’.

What also made the gig so enjoyable was that the warm-up act, the great new band Years & Years,  were awesome too. The band possess a seriously talented lead vocalist, and I’m particularly obsessed with their cover of Blu Cantrell’s ‘Breathe‘. Years & Years are most deserving of their gig as Clean Bandit’s support-act.


There’s no single way to describe Clean Bandit, but they do certainly incorporate aspects of classical and electronic music. Their debut album ‘New Eyes’ is an original and versatile piece that stands on its own from other mainstream chart music today, and as Stylo G himself said ‘no-one sounds like Clean Bandit’.


Amanda Graham

Live Review: Dan Croll

When the opportunity to interview my latest obsession in the form of LIPA’s (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) graduate Dan Croll, pharm there was no hesitation in acceptance. Having earned his stripes touring with the likes of Imagine Dragons, cure Bastille and Haim, viagra buy this up and coming singer song writer has settled into the new music scene like a monkey to a tree, already airing with the likes of Radio 1 and 6Radio.

Coinciding the release of his first Album ‘Sweet Disarray’, Croll’s tour kicked off in Newcastle’s newly located Think Tank? venue, with a squeezed in crowd almost bigger than the room was capable of.

To put a definitive label on Croll’s ‘genre’ is a difficult task, with notes of electronica, soul and, most intriguingly, afrobeat throughout, yet regardless of specificity, each song had the audience entirely captivated. The warm quirky lyrics in “I just want to compliment your soul” of his second released single echoed around the walls with its Caribbean quirks and enchanting melody. This instigated everyone to become fluid in movement, bouncing to the harmonious beat of the five piece band.

‘Home’ was another winner for Croll, accompanying the beat ridden theme of the rest of his set with his inoffensive yet wildly endearing voice. “Sweet Disarray,” the title track, was the highlight, as the song boasted intricate harmonies, drawing in every attention and alluring each ear, leaving the room hanging on each syllable.

Although there is dispute about the time it took Croll to produce his debut album, he has not disappointed in his first headlining live performance, with each song bringing a unique diverse simplicity. As he went onto the rest of his “Sweet Disarray” Tour, Croll left a tightly packed crowd in anticipation, eagerly awaiting his next appearance in the Toon.

Zoe Troughton

Live Review: Fall Out Boy

Going to a gig for a band that owes its career to its talent for communicating an accessible brand of teen angst always begs the same question: what will the crowd be like? For a band like Fall Out Boy, whose mainstream success has waxed and waned over the last decade or so, the answer is a simple one – diverse.

The mix inside the sold-out Metro Radio Arena ranged from thirteen and fourteen-year-olds with paint on their faces, late twenty-somethings who seemed to have forgotten what being in the standing section at a rock concert is actually like, and everyone in between, all eager to see a band who most likely influenced them somehow in their formative years. Them and one guy in his late forties with a ponytail and an Enter Shikari t-shirt.

Danish dance-rockers New Politics’ alleged timeslot came and went with no sign of the band, who confirmed on Twitter that they got pulled over in their van and, disappointingly, were unable to make it to the venue in time.

As The Pretty Reckless took the stage, it soon became apparent that frontwoman Taylor Momsen has done all in her power to shift her image away from her previous career as a child actress. It was jarring to watch someone who was last relevant to my own life when she played Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas now decked out in black from head to toe and gyrating up against her fellow band members on stage. Still, in between all the grunts and growls, her voice was much more soulful than one might expect, and the performance as a whole was well above tolerable.

Any band that announces their return from hiatus with a heady album title like ‘Save Rock and Roll’ certainly has a lot to live up to. Though some critics may cry “Gimmick!” at the idea of Fall Out Boy acting as some vigilante defenders put up against the unwieldy task of saving rock music, the band’s enthusiasm and honesty throughout their performance would suggest otherwise.

Images of young punks in love darted across the screen as they played ‘Alone Together,’ and a clip from a 1977 interview with Iggy Pop in which he tells the host, “What sounds to you like a big load of trashy old noise is, in fact, the brilliant music of a genius,” served as an interlude between two segments of songs.

The setlist was a well-received blend of classics like ‘Saturday’ and the poppy ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles,’ peppered with more recent songs such as ‘Death Valley’ and the intense powerhouses ‘Just One Yesterday’. A cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ also made an appearance.

The highlight of their set was when frontman Patrick Stump pulled out his acoustic guitar for ‘Young Volcanoes,’ the youthful single from Save that acts as an energetic reminder of why people fell in love with Fall Out Boy in the first place.

Annie Waschko

We Are Scientists: Intimate Session

Tuesday the 11th of May marked an incredible day for everyone who was lucky enough to be at Loft Studios. The fantastic We Are Scientists came in and played a number of songs, all acoustically, for an audience of 20 fans and NSR. Not only was the music amazing but the chat interspersed between songs was filled with quality banter of the highest standard. For those who were sadly unable to make it don’t be too upset as you can listen to it all right here!



NSR Presents… We Are Scientists | Intimate Session | 11.03.14 by Newcastle Student Radio on Mixcloud

SKIP Acoustic Night – Charity Sounds Great!

Charity really does sound great for all who attended the SKIP acoustic night at the Hancock Pub last Tuesday. Ten young artists performed for the Newcastle University Society which sees a student led charity raise money for teaching English and finance healthcare in a rural village in Cambodia.

The event was superbly attended by a huge number of students and locals, who received a real treat with the calibre of performances. The night started with Constance Richardson instantly warming the crowd with her mix of impeccable covers and original material, beautifully played and performed. Up and coming local duo Hey! Market were next to light up the stage as they introduced their own quirky style and impressive mix of contemporary hits – definitely one to check out soon!


Constance Richardson

“Hey! Market”

The third artist to hit the stage was Alice O’Brien, looking flawless with her black dress, her guitar and her angelic soul voice. She presented a good selection of covers, by performing “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys and the hit “Royals” by Lorde, before it was Wango Mwanza & Pete Mills’s time to shine – a duo with great potential and one to watch.

Alice O’Brien


The final artist before the break was James Hedges, who delivered one of the most funny and captivating performance of the night. He exuded charisma and knowhow on the stage and came equipped with a tremendous range of covers. Ending his set with a quite remarkable cover of “Hey Brother” from AVICI capped a very exciting performance!


James Hedges

After a small break the second part of the night kicked back off with Harry Smethurst continuing from where James Hedges had previously left off. Harry was able to involve the audience to great effect and we really got the sense that the tone of the night had picked up. We won’t forget his cover of “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers anytime soon – a really good performance and a great interpretation for every song.


Harry Smethurst

Jonathan Tait was the next artist to rock the stage. His performance started with great energy and vigor, with a more relaxed atmosphere in the next few songs. It was a very enjoyable performance throughout; showcasing a great voice which flowed very nicely with his blend of rock and country music.

Jonathan Tait

Shona Mairi Crossan was the next artist to show us her impressive talents. Shona was able to entrance everybody with her melodic voice, her piano skills and her grace. The Hancock Pub had been flooded by a great vibe, culminating in a quite remarkable performance of “the song without a name”. Enchanting performance, well done!

Shona Mairi Crossan

The next performance saw surprise package  John Rootham take to the stage and deliver a quite magnificent set; playing with real skill with a great voice to match. John lit up the room and made everyone sit up and listen to his great mix of songs. Another strong artist with an exciting future.


John Rootham

The final performance of the night was the duo of Ben Tyas & Nic Burn. The performance perfectly ended a great night with an enjoyable selection of diverse music and an extremely talented bunch of individuals who were very well received by an enthusiastic audience. Another great performance for a very good cause – Charity definitely sounds great!


The event was a great success, with more than £550 being raised in a one night at the packed venue. We must say thank you to the excellent organization of Ruby Woodward and the ten artists who played for this incredibly worthy cause!

For more information about SKIP, check the Facebook and Twitter Pages: / @SKIPNewcastle.

Check out all our photos on our Facebook page

Review by: Monica Lenaz
Photography by: Amanda Graham

Preview: Radstock – O2 Academy

On 30th March 2014, viagra 60mg Radstock festival comes to the O2 Academy in Newcastle. The second Radstock festival in which Yashin, viagra 40mg who performed last year at the same festival, shop return after their rise to fame over the past 12 months. They will be sharing the stage with bands like Kids In Glass Houses, upcoming Essex band The Hype Theory, Me vs Hero who once supported Elliot Minor at the academy, Heights, Fearless Vampire Killers and more! The headline band for this festival of up and coming bands is none other than Welsh post –hardcore band Funeral For a Friend, I personally am most exicted for these and the Hype Theory. Radstock Festival 2014 is definitely not to be missed, and one which will certain rocket these bands to an even higher level! | |

Live Review: Peace and Drenge

Feral. Violent. Drenge are back in Newcastle, help and it’s going to get sweaty. With the lighting suitably bathing the primal bro-duo in blood-red, abortion Drenge thrash the absolute s**t out of Digital.

Drenge are a band on the rise. They recently announced their largest headline tour to date for 2014 –and you can see why. With songs such as “I Want To Break You In Half” and “People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck”, sick they’re delivering the perfect sort of angry, grungy material that bored young people can relate to. And it sounds fu****g amazing too. Which helps.

But I’ll tell you what; a sign of a good gig is when people get going to a support band. Mosh pits break out to Bloodsports and Backwaters, and the oven-hot Digital is already starting to swelter. By the end of the bands set, you could have picked up a small human and wringed their body – and I could guarantee that they would proceed to exude a lot of sweat onto the floor.

Having interviewed Eoin (lead vocalist and guitarist of Drenge – who is an incredibly nice bloke by the way) before the gig, I can’t help but being reminded of how he surprised me when he said, in response to what he wants from a crowd, when he is playing as a support act “I want them to calm down. There is an hour and a half Peace set still to come! They won’t have enough energy.”

Thankfully, Eoin was wrong. The young crowd certainly did have enough energy for Peace. The crowd is hurling themselves around and screaming along from start to finish. With their anthemic, charming indie-pop sound, Peace are the complete opposite in sound to Drenge. But as Eoin acknowledged, it works really well.

It seems like every song Peace play off of their debut album is already a hit. But, and I refuse to apologise, my favourite moment of the gig was when they covered “Last Christmas” during the encore. I’m being serious. C’mon! It was the first of December. Everybody loves a good sing-a-long right? Trust me, it was great.

Peace and Drenge. Two young bands. Two young bands who released their debut albums in 2013. Two young bands that are going places. I’m excited to see what happens next.

Lucas Fothergill

Live Review: The Stylistics

26th November 2013, and The Sage


“Is the music bringing back memories for you this evening?” – Herb Murrell


“YEAH – I GOT PREGNANT LISTENING TO YOU!” – A lady in the audience.


To be fair to Herb Murrell, capsule he did not specify whether the memories had to be good or not. Either way, it stands as a testament to the music of The Stylistics that their music evokes such memories, and that they are still able to tour 30-plus dates in the UK each and every year to near-full audiences. My memories of their smooth, soulful music is somewhat different: the Robinson Library, first year, alone. Best days of my life, eh?


Anyway, The Stylistics, for those readers unfamiliar with their work, were made famous by their combination of soul ballads, incredible harmonies, and a unique stage presence. This later factor was clearly on show this week at The Sage – their reputation for putting on a show worth seeing is what keeps their British fans flocking to their performances. That, and middle-aged/older couples recapturing their youth to the background of the Philly Sound. Little awkward/nauseating if you are on your own; little advice – avoid eye contact, and remember a sick bag. I jest, of course.


Before I go any further, let me deal with their backing band first. It is common for such acts to tour effectively on a shoestring: a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist and a keyboardist or two – replicating the intricate sounds on the records. The Stylistics original recordings were heavy on intricate horn and string arrangements; that was the Philly sound that redefined soul and disco in the 1970s. The Stylistics performed on Tuesday, however, without a drummer, three keyboardists, and a guitarist and bassist. At times on the side of over-synthesised horns and strings, it did not really seem to matter. Once The Stylistic lads graced the stage, donning red jackets with black waistcoats, and began singing the concerns about the band subsided.


The Stylistics today consist of two original members, Mr Murrell and Mr Airron Love; the lead-singer of fifteen year Eban Brown, and Jason Sharpe – formally of the group Heatwave. It was a greatest hits package, a night of nostalgia; an oldies-but-goodies, hour and a half show of ‘70s excellence. Hits such as You Make Me Feel Brand New, Betcha By Golly Wow, and I’m Stoned In Love With You were mixed with the occasional rarity; my favourite of the evening was a track entitled Love Comes Easy.


The encore saw the chaps sit on stools, nineties-boy band style to reminisce about their career. The group appear grateful to their British fans – they had more hits over a greater period of time in the UK, and still tour these isles some forty-five years later. Strangely enough, however, the group even manage to fit in a rendition of their 1979 recording of that song from The Lion King!? Who knew they recorded that?!?


The Stylistics, however, know how to entertain a crowd and have tailored their show for their British fans. It’s likely that they’ll be back next autumn, playing the same hits, to the same people at the same venues. In these days of austerity and general gloom, people search back for nostalgia. And for those of us not old enough to see the fellows the first time around, these shows are the closet we’ll get to the era of the Philly Soul. I’m not sure what happened to the aforementioned lady, but with all those love songs it’s quite possible the North-East might have a new addition in nine months.

George Haffenden