LIVE REVIEW: This Is Tomorrow: Friday @ Exhibition Park, Newcastle (24.05.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Nothing but Thieves by Jason Hayles

This Is Tomorrow aims to fill a considerable festival-shaped hole in Newcastle’s musical landscape. Having spent last year on the banks of the River Tyne, there was an awful lot of positives from Exhibition Park’s maiden edition. The organisers did a fantastic job with all of the smaller details: bars, toilets, prices and queues won’t individually make or break your day, but when taken as a collective they will affect your enjoyment enormously. It was the most stress-free large scale music event I’ve attended, in one of the more picturesque locations. Exhibition Park is close enough to the city to be easily accessed from the adjacent pubs and clubs, without ever losing the escapism that only a festival field can really offer. Unfortunately, there was still time for things to turn slightly sour towards the end.

The first band we managed to catch were Southend’s own Nothing But Thieves. They shot to prominence with hit single Amsterdam; a track which they opened to the delight of their considerable crowd. You Me At Six revelled in their sub-headline slot just as the sun was beginning to set. It seemed like an unusual bit of programming to have them perform immediately before Foals, and there was evidently much more crossover between fans of theirs and Nothing But Thieves, but this wasn’t a particular problem. Everyone was in good spirits and the day had so far gone off without a hitch. It may be a bit of a stretch to say disaster struck during Foals set, but it certainly felt like that at the time.

The barrier which separated an enthusiastic yet modest crowd from the stage gave way roughly nine songs into Foals’ performance. That this should happen after withstanding fairly minimal pressure was catastrophic. The upside of this is that there was little chance of anybody getting hurt, but the considerable downside was Yanis explaining to a fairly bemused crowd that they couldn’t continue playing. It took me a while to get my head around exactly what he was saying; which was partly due to the bizarre circumstances and partly due to the amount of dark fruits cider I’d taken on board. Whatever the rationale, it was time to go home.

What they did manage to play sounded fantastic. Whereas the shows subsequent to the release of All That Is Not Saved Will Be Lost part 1 leaned heavily on that specific album, their festival sets cut across their entire back catalogue. They opened with On The Luna before racing into Mountain At My Gates, an absolute belter of a track enjoyed by fans of Foals and Fifa alike. Snake Oil received an airing, as one of the finer tracks from What Went Down. And My Number was as bouncy as ever. It’s a shame that things came to a head during Spanish Sahara, with Foals in one of their quieter and more affecting moments.

Foals are probably the biggest British band on the circuit right now. They don’t rely on excessive stage production or gimmicks. A decent soundsystem, engaged crowd and adequate stage are all they need to turn things up to eleven.

Other performers our reviewer didn’t get a chance to catch included A Festival. A Parade, Avalanche Party, No Teeth, Cold Years, Callum Pitt, Bare Roots, Wild Front, The Old Pink House, Kawala, The Pale White, Bad Sounds and Anteros. Check out some of Jason Hayles’ photos here: 

Ground Culture

A Festival. A Parade

Avalanche Party

The Pale White


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