LIVE REVIEW: Hit the North @ Various Venues (04.05.18-06.05.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sunset Sons force the jam-packed O2 Academy to rise; track She Wants has the room singing and swaying along to the memorable, playful melody and unembellished, snappy vocals. Liverpool bred indie rockers Circa Waves saunter onto the stage to the already bustling vibe and perform effortlessly; Wake Up erupts the already animated Academy as the fiery lighting matches hurried drum beats and scorching chords. Flowing between their first, jovial album Young Chasers and new, ardent and darker release Different Creatures, the band prove that it’s possible to mature without changing entirely.


As surprise guests, Scotland’s Glasvegas become a highlight. Bringing genuine depth to their sound, the band impress the small, tightly packed Riverside. Memorable track Lots Sometimes is requested by someone in the crowd and the band deliver; lead singer James Allan’s raw vocals silence the room until drum and bass ease in to accompany until the space is filled with idyllically heavy melody.

Peace hit the stage to turn the evening into a party, bopping around to sanguine melodies. Bloodshake compels the packed crowd to dance along to the light-hearted Britpop-esque melody, leaving the night contented.


Matt Dunbar charms Box Social with soothing melodies and astounding vocals. His song Home captivates the locals, and we’re left entranced by the possibilities of Dunbar’s husky voice and uniquely witty lyrics. The charismatic vocals of singer-songwriter Holly Rees compliments Dunbar’s set, as the two bounce off one another with lighthearted banter between their tracks in this intimately comfortable setting. Rees attracts us with her soft and adept vocals accompanied by lively and entrancing melodies.

Jake Houlsby finds his idyllic vocals in the perfect setting of St Nicholas Cathedral; the acoustics of the church absorb each note effortlessly. The soothing chords of track Bloom are echoed by the church walls, while Houlsby’s euphonious vocals seduce the entire hall.

Manchester-raised Tom Walker leaves the weekend on a sensational high, delivering gritty vocals to St Nicholas Cathedral. Through tracks new and known, Walker staggers the audience; his sound blends rock, blues, pop and soul, together with graveled vocals, giving Walker a uniquely distinctive and memorable sound. Official debut single Fly Away With Me has fans singing along, and uplifts the “sit and watch” church setting, where an acoustic Blessings makes you grateful you can quite literally take a pew, as Walker drops his quitar and lets us focus on his stunning vocals. Final track Leave A Light On is delivered with zest – the chorus is repeatedly sung by the audience as we depart to the darkened streets of Newcastle.


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