LIVE REVIEW: Sam Fender, Gang of Youths @ Utilita Arena, Newcastle (18.11.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Victoria Wai

Tonight is a show almost two years in the making, another casualty of the pandemic. This only appears to have heightened the expectations of this packed crowd. Gang Of Youths have the unenviable task of opening the show. With their distinct brand of Australian indie it’s clear to see why they’re tipped for big things; boisterous, powerful indie rock stirring the crowd up in advance of Sam Fender.

However, the crowd’s reaction pales in comparison as the flags are hoisted and the familiar sounds of Going Home permeate throughout the cavernous arena. The noise from the crowd is almost deafening as they provide Fender with a rapturous welcome to the stage. Overcome with emotion, he is barely able to speak at this monumental welcome, this doesn’t stop him getting stuck into a rousing set though.

He quickly finds his stride with opener Will We Talk? feeding off the crowd’s passion, who sing back every word. Dead Boys and The Borders go down a storm, but it’s tracks from new album Seventeen Going Under that really set the Arena alight. While Get You Down and Seventeen Going Under spark mass singalongs, it’s the incredible Spit of You that shows off Fender’s true talent.

The Arena feels like a tiny club for these few minutes, so intimate despite the thousands of people. Over and above the bombast and excitement, this was the real highlight of the night. A truly triumphant and incredible homecoming from the city’s best!

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