LIVE REVIEW: Alright The Captain, Steve Strong, A Werewolf @ Northumberland Arms, Newcastle (24.02.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Steve Strong by David Smith

Promoters Canteen Concert Club had once again booked an impressive and eclectic line-up for the Northumberland Arms. The audience, consisting mainly of faithful DIY gig regulars and audacious genre expeditionaries, were there in a healthy number to support the underground scene and to share with the visiting triple-band bill some warm Northern hospitality on a freezing Wednesday night.

Cheltenham instrumental duo A Werewolf started explosively with the guitarist jumping around both the stage and floor. The drums and guitar entwined huge math rock riffs with straight edged grooves. Between songs, samples of spoken word audio added to the light-heartedness and comical aspect of some of their tracks, with an onstage presence and humour befitting their Hawaiian shirts perfectly.

Steve Strong followed, immediately grabbing everyone’s attention as a one-man band. Far removed from the stereotypical one-man busker band, Plymouth’s Steve Strong is unique in his performance and caliber. Sitting behind the drum kit, guitar across the knee and a number of effect and loop pedals to his side, Steve created melodic dreamscapes with the layering of looped guitar riffs which consisted of string tapping, harmonics and tastefully accurate bends. Once the loops were set in motion he suddenly downed tools and set to work on jamming live rhythmic hip-hop-driven drum beats over the top, elevating the tracks beyond anything of this ilk.

The Nottingham instrumental trio Alright The Captain brought the evening to a close with their brand of post-math rock. With elements of jazz and quirky effects to boot, the grooves are still easily grasped and soon have the audience engrossed. Between the bassist (with added synth playing) and the guitarist (with some tasteful effect selections), both juggled great ideas, the totality of which produced a sound of great interest and intrigue.

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