LIVE REVIEW: ON THE BEACH @ Majuba Beach, Redcar (05.07.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Against the backdrop of a seismic political shift, Redcar’s On The Beach Live turned into an unexpected celebration. In a poetic twist, The Pigeon Detectives, The Zutons and The Libertines – bands that first rose to prominence under a Labour government – found themselves headlining together as Labour returned to power after 14 years of Tory rule. This seaside gig felt like a reunion and a celebration, capturing a moment of change in a small town with big energy. The weather was perfect, a welcome surprise given the unpredictable British summer we’ve had so far.

The evening started with local bands Komparrison, Madison Fallout and We Tibetans, who brought vibrant energy and enthusiasm. Their performances set a lively tone and warmed up the crowd for the main acts.

The Pigeon Detectives were the first in a three-course serving of indie favourites, and they did so with infectious energy. The lead singer’s playful banter with the audience, including those who had gathered behind the venue’s perimeters to watch from the beach with their camping chairs and cans, added a unique touch to their set.

Next up, The Zutons delivered a solid performance that balanced new material with beloved classics. The crowd erupted during Valerie, singing along passionately and dancing to the familiar tune. The band’s tight, professional delivery highlighted their enduring appeal and musical craftsmanship, making their set a highlight of the night, even with Abi Harding’s voice almost going halfway through.

Headlining act The Libertines brought their trademark mix of chaos and charm to the stage. While their performance was characteristically unpolished, it was filled with authenticity that resonated with the audience. They played a mix of old hits and tracks from their new album, All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade, including Merry Old England, Run Run Run and Night of the Hunter. The encore featured another, with Songs They Never Play on The Radio, followed by fan favourites The Good Old Days and aptly finishing with Don’t Look Back into the Sun. Pete Doherty received the biggest cheer of the night with his remark, “I don’t know if it’s the sun setting over Lindisfarne, the Chicken Parma [close enough, he meant Parmo] in my belly, or the fact the Tories are out, but I’ve got a good feeling about tonight.” This sparked a spirited chant of “Fuck the Tories,” reflecting the charged political atmosphere following the Conservatives’ electoral defeat in the early hours of Friday morning. It might possibly be the last time a crowd can gather to sing this rendition of the Seven Nation Army tune for a whole five years.

Overall, this year’s edition of On The Beach Live made for a night that won’t be easily forgotten. Redcar’s seaside proved to be the perfect backdrop for an evening that celebrated not just music, but a moment of change.

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