LIVE REVIEW: PICNIC, BADMIND @ Tyne Bank Brewery (01.11.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Playing only their second show as Badmind, singer Dayna Leadbitter and drummer Jamie Johnson formerly made up two thirds of SoShe and there’s no doubting their on-stage chemistry. Backing tracks of sax on the soulfully soaring opener Addicted To You and Sourboy’s vocals on the funky stomp Buss Down help to flesh out the sound, but in truth, Leadbitter’s vocals need no accompaniment. The RnB/pop crossover Heartless is effortlessly radio friendly and when she gets down with the put downs, the local singer sounds for all the world like Rihanna on the likes of the expletive laden disses Work Me and Shit Talk. Two unreleased tracks, Catch You Up and the epic A Hundred Roses, prove that Johnson and Leadbitter have well and truly found their sound and there’ll be no stopping them.

Back in March, Picnic played the Riverside in what was to be one of the very last gigs in the North East pre-pandemic. After a hugely successful run of socially distanced Tyne Bank shows that have proven to be a lifeline for artists and fans alike, it seems like a twisted irony that the Sunderland collective should again be bringing down the curtain as the country and its long-suffering music scene head into another lockdown. But the band that make “happy music for sad people,” are in no mood to go out with a whimper tonight. Opening jazz stomp newbie Don’t Feel Like Falling In Love showcases singer Robyn Walker’s vocals which seem to get stronger as her stage confidence grows, surely only benefited by her moonlighting in the power trio bigfatbig. The anthemic Girls Night keeps up the pace and it’s all the audience can do not to be on their feet and breaking all sorts of rules in one last hurrah before being confined to another month of Zoom socials.

The excellent Charlie From Outer Space from the band’s debut EP has been jazzed up and can expect a future re-release, whilst latest single Baby already sounds familiar in a set full of catchy infectious pop moments like the decadent Wishful Drinking and I Need Everybody, back when infectious was a good thing. There’s a mournful sigh in Robyn’s voice as she introduces I Ain’t Got No Money; at a time when many venues’ financial futures appear bleak, and who knows when we’ll next find ourselves enjoying all that’s good about a scene whose shot in the arm has been cruelly snatched away in an instant. Until the next time then, and at least we’ll always have memories of golden nights like this.

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