LIVE REVIEW: BC Camplight, Wesley Gonzalez @ The Cluny, Newcastle (23.03.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Tracy Hyman

BC Camplight loves this city he tells us, so much so that is he is missing his grandfather’s funeral to play before a packed Cluny. It is this kind of light and shades that so straddle the life, music and indeed this show from the American multi-instrumentalist.

The big man in the large hat has a personality that projects itself through the music and wraps its way right around the hot and sweaty throng, absolutely charming everyone. It is music that manages to combine elements of everything from rock ‘n’ roll ballads to Brian Wilson, through Bowie-esque and then 80s synth excess, but always with a good tune.

BC is a showman, and the same can be said of support Wesley Gonzalez, formerly lead focus of quirky indie act Let’s Wrestle and now stepping out with the dance moves and staring, glaring eyes through the centre stage of his solo project. The sounds are now less indie and more in tune with synthy disco pop, but eccentricity is at the core, visually as well as sonically. “I will die someday,” a now stripped to the waist Wesley intones, before walking off the stage and through the audience, clearly never fading away.

BC Camplight has been through the mill, suffering the severe traumas of addiction, mental illness and then deportation from the UK. He is back and on form, but don’t shout out for the wrong song, his confidence is low, he jokes. There is also wicked, dark humour amongst his dark material. “I’m in a weird place now,” he sings. Yet there is also great joy expressed through an often exuberant sound performed by an extremely able band including multi-instrumentalist Francesca Pidgeon, aka Dilettante, often seen performing locally.

The core of the set is drawn from the most recent and rightly much acclaimed 2020 album Shortly After Takeoff, recorded with BC Camplight thankfully ensconced back in the UK again. It is pop genius on the dark side. Wonderful that we finally have a lull in Covid allowing us to hear it live.

Centre stage, all eyes and ears are tuned in to the man standing or sitting at the keyboard. BC Camplight takes us on a journey; music, emotions, lyrical twists all mashed together in ridiculous juxtapositions, but it all works so brilliantly.

BC Camplight doesn’t do encores but instead leaves us with his dystopian classic, I’m Desperate. The whirling, siren synth a shrill warning. Ominous, but like the man and his music, absolutely compelling.

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