LIVE REVIEW: Liam Fender, Bugman @ Salt Market Social, North Shields (15.09.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Any concert that features Bugman as the opening act has to be regarded as a double-header; the frighteningly prolific North Shields post-pop-punk alchemist may be a permanent fixture on the local gig circuit, but the momentum behind ingenious songwriter Ryan Siddall seems to build with every new show he plays. Now performing as a duo with drummer Steve Allen, the ebullient Siddall provided a masterclass in punk rock rhythm guitar, while Allen gleefully knocked seven shades out of his drum kit. Mixing old songs and new, this was a sensational set.

Siddall has often shared a stage with Liam Fender, and many in tonight’s intriguingly mixed audience were present at Fender’s early performances around North Shields’ Fish Quay; Fender himself referenced those early days as he expressed his delight at performing his songs to a sold-out Salt Market Social. Back on home turf, Fender was relaxed and confident as he led his extraordinarily skillful band through a well-paced set that moved from lush Americana to festival-ready anthems, with Time Comes Around an early highlight. Sublime covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart and David Bowie’s Heroes showcased Fender’s skill with arrangements, but it was the frontman’s own composition Love Will Conquer that raised the roof and sent the audience home, happy and elated.


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