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Eagulls,The Cluny, Newcastle

  • Published in Live

The promise of this evening is one we’ve been excited about since the last time Eagulls rolled into town in March, though since then they’ve toured the world and played a multitude of festivals. To begin with there is the small matter of a couple of support bands to attend to.

First up local lads High Tide 15:47. However, by the time we arrive we only have the opportunity to catch the tail end of their set, we’re pleasantly surprised and we shall endeavour to catch them in full in the not so distant future.

Next up though are fellow Leeds natives, Autobahn who were in support last time as well. Tonight, as last time, they don't disappoint. On the face of it, with a name like Autobahn our minds immediately jump to Kraftwerk, but the German name is where the similarities end.

Straight out of the blocks they stamp their authority all over the proceedings, lead singer Craig Johnson bouncing around the stage baiting the crowd. They are a true powerhouse of a punk band, reminiscent of early Wire there’s a real ferocity to the band's delivery, a real angst. To be wholly honest they’re the perfect support band for Eagulls and by the time they leave the stage the crowd is buzzing.

As the lights are dimmed and the projector is started, the crowd chant and the band's opening music plays. Through the darkness they emerge. Wasting no time in lifting the roof, George Mitchell’s ever-passionate vocals echo out through the venue. It's immediate, it's mind blowing, these guys are the perfect live band, blasting through the openers as the over-excited crowd throw themselves in to each other.

Eagull's frequent touring and playing live undoubtedly shows, they’re tighter than any other band around at the moment. By the time ‘Nerve Endings’ gets an airing, the whole venue is awash with flying bodies; the sold out crowd enjoying every second of the set. Mitchell’s visceral delivery intimidates as he moves ever closer to the crowd.

We’re consumed by the intensity of the band like overly excited teenagers, as they work through tracks off their self-titled debut. What we really notice though, is how far these guys have come from first seeing them over three years ago, they’ve honed this huge sound and these awesome walls of noise. Tracks like ‘Fester / Blister’ stand out above others, the eviscerating guitar that hits you is nothing short of face melting. It also has a slightly different element to it, whilst maintaining the intensity.

The most striking thing about Eagulls though is the heart and the honesty of their work. Often described as a band for the realists they’re not afraid to tell it like it is. There are far too many bands that are willing to sugar coat life and create music for the sake of being cool, Eagulls shun ideology in favour of unabashed, no-holds barred honesty.

This evening goes some way in restoring our belief in real British music as Eagulls close out what has been an emphatic set, ending with the utterly awesome ‘Possessed’. We cannot hold them in any higher regard, so few bands around right now are this good and those that are all seem to be emerging from the same area.

Are these five guys going to inspire a generation? Only time will tell but we certainly think they have the potential to.


Night Birds, Black Heart, Camden

  • Published in Live

Static Shock Records are currently cleaning house when it comes to London hardcore gigs, hosting top notch bands from around the world on a regular basis and stoking a fire within the scene in the process. This weekend they outdid themselves with a Camden line-up headlined by the surf-drenched hardcore punk of New Jersey’s Night Birds. I’d seen them smash it a few years before in a Leeds basement and subsequently start to gain a well-deserved bit of recognition with each new tour and release, so their one UK date of the tour wasn’t going to be one to miss. Adding to the carnage, a Sheffield invasion in the form of Detergents and Dry Heaves brings some welcome Yorkshire hype – the Northern hardcore scene has always produced stellar bands, and these bands both carry that tradition on with style. Detergents open proceedings with a crunching UK82 style raucousness that has people moving from the start. No turning up late for this one, the line-up is strong throughout and the early throng shows that people have realised this. No frills punk music that reeks of spit and cider is exactly what’s needed to kick off proceedings nicely, as is the cold beer which loosens my concrete-battered muscles. Dry Heaves have been honing their biting hardcore under the radar for a few years now and, knowing they can draw a crowd in Yorkshire, it’s great to see the same response in London. Everyone is going off, beer is spilling and the band are ripping through songs from their back catalogue interspersed with a good few new tracks which already sound impressively tight, roll on the new record!

Unfortunately due to a pressing need for non-alcoholic sustenance we miss Atomic Suplex and their garage hardcore madness, which I can only imagine to be next level in such a small space, but make it back just as Night Birds thrash into the first chords of full speed surf instrumental ‘Escape from New York’. From then on things are complete chaos; with no time for niceties such as between song banter they blast through what feels like half of their back catalogue like it was one continuous raging beast. Everything is speeded up a notch compared to studio recordings and the result is one of the most intense punk shows your likely to see, an endurance test that both band and audience are very much ready for. While their recordings are incredible, this is a band that needs to be seen live to appreciate in full force. Singer Brian Gorsegner gurns and twitches like a caged lunatic in a Victorian asylum, while the band up the aggression levels as far as they can take them and still maintain that musical tightness which makes each song stand out. The mic spends as much time in the hands of audience as band members, with songs like ‘Modern Morons’, ‘Born to Die in Suburbia’, ‘Prognosis Negative’ ‘Killer Waves’ and ‘Born of Man and Woman’ clearly imprinted on the brains of every person down the front. Nothing quite tops off a solid day’s skateboarding like a good hardcore show - tiredness and aches washed away in a tide of beer and loud, fast music - and this was as good as it gets. Props all round to promoter, bands and crowd, a solid contender for gig of the year!

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