LIVE REVIEW: Bad Guys @ Northumberland Arms, Newcastle (1.4.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Even if I’d started on the Kraken three days earlier, I probably couldn’t have been drunk enough to fully understand what happened in the first couple of hours of this gig. At some point beforehand, intrepid promoter Jonas admitted that since he couldn’t find a really good support band for Bad Guys, he booked several really stupid ones instead (plus, he pointed out, it was April 1st). Anyway, there was a band playing hardcore with a donk on it, a band playing particularly abrasive grindcore and another band I can’t even really remember. Many of these maniacs were in costume – as “dinosaurs,” or “charvers,” or “crust punks” – and I suspect they were probably the same two or three blokes in different hats. There were Roy Cropper masks, 15 second songs, a lot of in jokes and a lot of very, very drunk people, some of whom had very shiny hair. This was my first visit to the legendary Northumberland Arms, so all of this could be just a regular weekday night underneath Eldon Square. Bad Guys, clearly soft southern types, were cowering behind their merch table, equal parts terrified, confused and in need of booze.

But when they took the “stage,” they became the well-oiled, whip-smart rock machine we all love so much. Ish. From the Children Of The Grave chug of World Murderer to a triumphant closer of Motorhome, this was simultaneously one of the stupidest sets I’ve ever seen, and one of the best. Bad Guys aren’t a comedy band but they are very funny; they’re not a metal band (despite the two double necked guitars) but they do rock hard.

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“this was simultaneously one of the stupidest sets I’ve ever seen, and one of the best”

Every song seemed like an opportunity to throw shapes, strike poses or play guitar with a bottle of Buckfast. Prostitutes is clearly the feel good hit of the summer in any sensible universe, Crime might be my favourite single of the year, provided they release it as a single, and by No Tomorrow there were guitarists lying on the floor, bodies flailing, Buckfast flying and an attempted stage dive by two lads with their trousers round their ankles who may well have been members of all the support acts. Fuck knows – by this point, I WAS drunk enough.

This may not have been the most edifying gig of the year, but I suspect it was probably the most gloriously stoopid and sometimes that’s all you want from a night out.

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