LIVE REVIEW: The Cravats @ Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough (02.12.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Westgarth on Southfield Road is turning into Middlesbrough’s home of punk and DIY. Tonight’s line up brought The Cravats and friends alongside two homegrown beauties.

First up, Middlesbrough’s Year of Birds have an underlying sound reminiscent of The Fall, they storm through a set with the vigour of post punk fuzziness. Power guitars are relentlessly loud; basslines thump atop garagey drums. Spitting vocals and some odd spacey effects engulf the room – Electrons is a highlight.

Teesside veterans Pellethead play next; a big punky hug that you’re not sure you want but are totally glad of. Dressed in woolly jumpers, coats and hats, you’d be forgiven for thinking they didn’t care, but that’s the beauty of them. Around for 25 years, they don’t even need a set list. They’re fun, gleefully leaping and yelping, and wiggling all the way through crowd pleasing yell-along Bully Boy Bailiffs.

Turning Black Like Lizards offer a bite of rock to the proceedings. Falling somewhere odd between JAMC and Metallica, the sound is bellowing and broody with a nod to psychedelia. Melodic and sweeping guitars almost carry you away amidst gangling snarly vocals.

The Cravats were worth waiting for;  their oddball sound of squelchy punk didn’t disappoint. With members of the original 1978 line up and fresher faces from their reform, they treat us to bangers from both studio albums albeit with a less scratchier sound than the first one. The five-piece band create a sax-drenched punk wall of noise. Frontman The Shend is as charismatic as he is eccentric, commanding the dancing crowd to hear his near sarcastic tones bellow out. They respond with their own yells and cheers.

All the bands tonight seemed to enjoy themselves and each other and the atmosphere was great, grins all round, due in no small part to the effort and hospitality promoter Steve Harland and his partner Wendy put into feeding and watering (and boozing) the bands. We pinch a few leftover baby quiches on our way out past The Shend gladly having his photo taken with chuffed and sweaty punters. Lovely. 

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