Battle of the Bands
7pm. The crowd is growing and were all riled up, anxiously awaiting for the next exciting instalment of Battle of the Bands to begin.
Sound check complete, the drinks are in, and the atmosphere is electric.
The opening act take the stage. They are Schizophonic, a Newcastle based band with acres of attitude. Schizophonic formed in 2009 and are led by the audacious John Rowe. They currently have a 8 track EP out entitled ‘One eye open’ and began gigging in 2012.
Dave Thoburn is laudable on lead guitar, Rob Macleod ballsy on bass, and Ant Gould is dangerous on drums and vocals.
Schizophonic immediately demanded the audiences attention with their anarchic approach. The set opened with ‘Seize the Future’ only to be described as manic musical mayhem.
Rowe’s vocals were reminiscent of that of Biafra of The Dead Kennedys, full of grit, gumption, and guts.
‘Point of no Return’ was my personal favourite track. Exhibiting grunge, grizzly guitar, with added apathy and angst. Truly displaying the bands diversity and dark side.
Schizophonic seemed to have fun with the audience and didn’t take themselves too seriously, but were certainly taken seriously, projecting a presiding punk persona.
‘Come Inside’ showed a sensitive aspect to the music, but still retained that raw Schizo edge.
‘Stolen by the Storm’ ended the performance and what a one to finish on! Post-Punk with vivacious vitality. Everyone was bouncing off the ceiling.
A fantastic choice to start the night. The audience were left feeling dizzy.
After a 15 minute interval we finally caught our breath. Raising Ghosts were introduced and took to the stage.
Raising Ghosts are a 5 piece local rock band who have been playing together since 2010 and started gigging the following year, which is when they released their first album ‘Act of Revolt’. They are currently recording a new album with present material, which is due for release in November. Their sound has changed since then, as has their drummer and they now opt for a heavier set.
Lynsey Hughes is the bands front woman and can definitely hold her own in the predominantly male realm of rock, offering hypnotic and robust vocals with an additional feminine touch.
Mark Stafford is gifted on guitar, Tom Ramsey lively on lead, Leon Chan beguiling on the bass/guitar, and Sam Collett is dynamic on drums.
Raising Ghosts brought a real dominance to the stage. They were fearless, unapologetically aweless, and unafraid.
Ghosts covered a popular Paramore track ‘crushcrushcrush’ and truly made the song their own, cementing their individuality.
The crowd were consumed by their powerful presence. Raising Ghosts felt like one not to mess with and certainly commanded control, projecting a racy potency, possibly attributable to a female lead.
‘Just The Way’ had an angsty, ’90’s feel to it, redolent of Shirley Manson‘s Garbage and was instantly infectious.
‘Crazy Eyes’ provided a grungy, sultry overtone, which went down like a spoon full of sugar. I loved the band’s courage, confidence, and fierce finality.
They gave a varied sound, with elements of 90’s rock, grunge and classic rock, but added their own specific signature. Ghosts had a sort of effortlessness about them, which did not go unnoticed.
‘Out My Mind’ was probably my favourite track. Contributing a nebulous aura, with multi-layered vocals, and a harrowing hardiness.
The audiences response was superb. Raising Ghosts had just upped the game.
After a brief interval, Nic Wood took to the stage, a 23 year old singer/songwriter from Durham, who has been playing guitar since he was 14.
The audience were unprepared as to what followed. Acoustic Destruction.
Wood enticed us all with his honest, mesmerising sound, and haunting intonation. Vocals were evocative of Frank Turner, with shades of Brand New and possessed the realism and rawness of Nirvana. Wood really stood out for me.
Medic abruptly began and the audience shut up and listened. Wood bellowed out the truth as if he couldn’t contain it any longer and strummed with such passion, I thought his guitar might burst into flames. The atmosphere was incredibly intense. Wood’s performance felt magnetic.
You could feel the emotion pouring out of him and really appreciated the sincerity of his candid yet ambiguous lyrics. There was a certain turbulent pensiveness throughout each song, an ardent attitude, and a lingering effect.
Whether you like Wood or not, he sure leaves a lasting impression.
‘Are you sure’ was condensed emotional chaos. You applauded Wood for his innovativeness and bravery.
Wood’s closing song was phenomenal. ‘Fires’ was true to the title and burned within us, leaving a lasting scar.
Wood received an extremely positive response and was hugely humbled.
Wild Thörn is the brainchild of Ash Robertson and formed in 2012. The band have played countless venues, such as the 02 Academy, the Manchester Witchwood, and The Cluny, supporting Reckless Love from Finland, German metal band Frei Wild, among others. The band are back with a new line up in Kane Armstrong and Jay Taylor, who are legends on guitar, Ell Robertson causes destruction on drums, and Jack Ridley is bad ass on bass.
Wild Thörn looked like they’d just stepped out of a Motley Crue video, I was half expecting them to ride in on Harleys, draped in scantily clad models. Their image is a crucial element to the whole Thörn experience and they really
made an effort.
Thörn were extremely technically able, each instrument played to perfection, their performance was difficult to fault and they were clearly experienced.
Vocals were visibly influenced by the likes of Axl Rose.
Robertson screeched like a back alley cat, hitting the highest notes without breaking a sweat.
‘Stand up and Shout’ was my favourite track of theirs, I found it criminally contagious. It’s still stuck in my head! The song had such savage spirit, an old school feel, and indelible lyrics.
‘Lonely Again’ showcased the bands softer side and was a real ‘lighters up in the air’ power ballad.
Robertson interacted with the crowd continually, ricocheting off stage, emitting enormous energy. The band played up to the cameras and seemed to lap up the attention, really reinforcing their rock star reputation.
The boys were cocksure, which was all part of their incalculable charisma and countless charm.
I felt like I had a front row seat at a colossal concert. The crowd were definitely drinking up every drop of the performance. Their stage presence was astounding.
‘Full Throttle’, the title track of Wild Thörn’s EP and name of their current North East tour, ended the set and night with an epic guitar solo. A majorly memorable finish.
The response was stupendous.
With the array of talent presented, it was a hard call guessing who’d make it through to the finals.
We all cast our votes and eagerly awaited the verdict.
The acts took to the stage and the winner was announced.
Raising Ghosts had made it through to the finals!
The crowd had spoken and the Ghosts had really put up a credible fight.
A huge congratulations to Raising Ghosts and hats off to all the bands who performed tonight. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of them in the near future!
Battle of the Bands in Newcastle’s legendary Trillians Rock Bar
returns in November 2014!