LIVE REVIEW: The Ninth Wave, Walt Disco, Novyi Lef @ Think Tank? Underground, Newcastle (09.11.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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What goes around comes around, and at the moment 80s culture is definitely in the middle of its resurgence. With Stranger Things on everyone’s TV and double denim appearing on shop shelves, I think it’s fair to say that some things are working out better in their comeback than others. One area that has benefited from the re-appreciation of the decade is music: there’s an absolute plethora of musicians taking bits ’n’ bobs from the 1980s to reinvent their own music.  If you need proof, look no further than The Ninth Wave, and their ongoing UK headline tour.

First on stage was Newcastle duo Novyi Lef, who were still unfortunately soundchecking at the time of doors. Backing tracks do help enrich the sound of any duo, but it was still clear to see both musicians were quite adept at what they were doing. Electronic dance spliced together with political speech extracts is a bold choice of music genre, but quite admirable given current circumstances. I think they still have some work to do to polish up their live act, but as it stands, I’m glad I made it down early enough to catch their set.

It’s nice to see Glaswegians supporting their fellow Glaswegians, with Walt Disco single-handedly bringing back New Romanticism from the sidelines. Their look – all frilly shirts and sharp contours – was as vibrant as their sound (a relief personally, as so often I fear bands who walk the walk but don’t talk the talk.) Walt Disco’s edgy synth pop really wouldn’t be out of place on BBC 4’s TOTP2 reruns, so anyone nostalgic for Adam and his Ants and the like should be delighted to hear of this new strain. 

All was perfectly set up for The Ninth Wave to take to the stage. These dark wave/post punks have their hotly anticipated debut album released in full this week, so I was glad to see Think Tank? Underground packed with fans awaiting some new(ish) tracks. The first half of this record being released a few months earlier at least meant the crowd could join in with those already familiar tracks. A Wave Goodbye To The People Who Said I’d Win’s melancholy rhythm takes on a brighter feel live. Meanwhile, their performance of Sometimes The Silence Is Sweeter – lower energy but somehow heavier in tone – made me want to preorder Infancy Part 2 there and then. It was delightful to see that OG tracks New Kind Of Ego and Swallow Me opened and closed their set respectively. Both these tracks carried that 80s grimy underground music scene energy which garnered them so much attention. Such a grimy underground venue suits them perfectly at present, but as their sound develops to become bigger and better, I can see them outgrowing these places at an alarming rate.


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