LIVE REVIEW: The Devil’s Advocate All-Dayer @ The Cluny, Newcastle (21.08.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Jango Flash by Adam Thirtle

Promoting a day full of local talent spanning rock, punk and alternative sounds, the festival invited music lovers from across the North East together to see what devilish behaviour they could stumble upon.

The day opened for me with Smuj on The Cluny’s main stage. A very entertaining opening act who set the precedent for the day’s extravaganza. With a range of instruments, one member was playing the piano, synth and the trumpet on rotation. Incredibly curious, the soundscape was composed with noise rock and a chaos that was reminiscent of Black Midi.

Komparrison, who have been on my to-see list for ages, were raw and honest, and particularly humble about their performance, joking with the audience about mess-ups and profuse sweating. With an inherent confidence and likeability, their set was summed up in the band’s final song when the singer essentially became a part of the audience, performing from the floor. Their double vocal set-up works tremendously, with Kaitlyn Kempen and Elise Harrison producing pitch-perfect harmonies. The basslines and drum kicks elevate the quintet to a darker side, with their sound reminiscent of a riot grrrl aesthetic lyrically.

After a conveniently timed break for the Newcastle United match, I returned to The Cluny to catch Swine Tax, who ended up being my highlight of the day. Their well-produced post-punk also had elements of acid synth and noise rock which cumulated into a mix of that underground London sound found in the likes of Shame and Squid. One of the most captivating things about Swine Tax was their euphoric energy. Jumping around on stage to a passion of their own creation created a high-intensity set that never slowed down. The compatible energy between the two guitarists saw them engaging in the movement of the crowd, resulting in a raw and passionate performance of experimental alternative rock.

The final act I caught was Jango Flash. Taken aback by the unexpected heaviness of their opening track, which was reminiscent of a slightly 80’s gothic feel akin to Echo and The Bunnymen’s Killing Time, especially in the live performance of the heavier punk track. This, to my surprise, immediately went into a more upbeat track, which showcased an enviable versatility alongside some superb vocals.

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