All too often, the North East circuit has seemed like a guitar-only, no-synths-please-we’re-British affair. Thank Christ then that with young promoters like Eurozone and Sectarian Divide at work, things are finally changing.
This ambitious, continental bill opens with the moody drone of Burning Pyre setting the scene – think Tangerine Dream for goths – before Northumbrian post-punk band New Horror take the stage. Launching their debut tape Fruitless Search, their drum machine rock nods towards Echo & the Bunnymen and The Jesus & Mary Chain, but with a darker, sneering drama.
Transfigure have been making waves with their harder edged, house-inflected take on synth-pop, and tonight’s set makes for another fine showing. Now a trio with live guitars, their live show has only become more forceful, and once again you suspect they’ve made a few new fans tonight.
The work of solo artist Bastian Emil, Grand Prix starts as an initially gimmicky but increasingly nervous and intense experience. Samples of Formula 1 commentary provided the membrane through which Emil’s dark electronic songs ebb and flow, his charismatic and devoted performance bringing out those old rock’n’roll motifs of the fast boy racer, happy to live fast and die young, but planting them in a fresh context.
Denmark’s First Hate have already made an impact around Europe, and on this evidence it’s not hard to see why: arena-sized choruses with an underground heart that gets the crowd almost jumping through the venue ceiling, this is a steely but also deeply human show that leaves a deep impression.