LIVE REVIEW: Martha @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle (31.10.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Martha have always been vocal advocates for inclusivity, but on Halloween evening, nestled in to the crypt-like confines of The Cluny 2, they take that mantra to a whole new level.

Their audience tonight is made up of zombies, witches, and ghouls galore, plus one lad who appears to be dressed as Donkey from Shrek, and it makes for a surreal and spooky party atmosphere.

The band, for their part, are looking decidedly skeletal, but what they lack in flesh and sinew they make up for in rampant sing-alongs and infectious ardour.

From the first notes of Heart Is Healing they attack their set with a pleasant ferociousness, all luscious harmonies and whip-smart melodies. Guitarist Daniel Ellis’ voice in particular is something to behold, soaring and impactful like a condor wearing bovver boots. Old favourite Chekhov’s Hangnail slingshots things up a notch early on, while new songs Mini Was a Preteen Arsonist and Orange Juice are standout moments.

But Martha’s real talent is crafting music as eloquent, witty, and downright lovely as the people playing it, and that charisma shines throughout a blistering set. From the sprawling malaise of Do Nothing, to a raucous encore, complete with heartfelt tribute to WWF legend Rowdy Roddy Piper during the superb Wrestlemania VIII, the Durham darlings pack in plenty of delights on a night of frights.

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