LIVE REVIEW: All Out Attack + Hot Rockets + Slalom D, Trillians, Newcastle, Wednesday 20 November 2019
Grassroots gig promoters must kick themselves on nights like this. Three bands on the bill, just £3 to get in – less than the price of a pint – and then you find New Model Army are on elsewhere in town on the same night.
That’s a good chunk of your potential audience gone, I’d say, but the show must go on, and that’s what it did, in front of maybe a couple of dozen punters on this cold November night.
Trillians is a Newcastle institution, with live music on offer most nights of the week since it came back from the dead a couple of years ago. Sometimes it’s rammed, sometimes – like tonight – there’s plenty of room for amateur photographers like me to roam with their camera.
The attraction tonight was that I’d never seen two of the three bands, starting with Sunderland’s Slalom D, who were first on. I’d seen a growing number of people wearing their T-shirts, so I figured it was time I made the effort to see them.
Formed a couple of years ago, they are a punk rock band very much of the old school variety, with loud guitars, bass and drums and politically-fuelled lyrics.
They have overcome a major setback, namely the sudden death of their singer Craig Macbeth earlier this year, and continue to deliver with new vocalist Fiona Duncan really stepping up to the mark.
They kicked off with anti-fascist anthem No Pasaran, which is one of the three tracks on their latest CD, and their 10-song set was over way too quickly.
Jerusalem, their first single, was one of the highlights, but they saved the best ‘til last with Chelsea Bonfire, about the Grenfell Tower disaster, with Fi remarking that the recent Bolton university blaze shows how lessons have clearly not been learnt.
Second up were Hot Rockets, a three-piece from Whitby, who I saw a few months ago, and enjoyed immensely. Their dirty rock ‘n’ roll is delivered with plenty of punk spirit, and is enormously enjoyable.
Frontman Steve said this was a special night for a couple of reasons ; it was their 50th gig, and it was his daughter Emily’s’s birthday, and he and bandmates Heath (bass) and Paul (drums) showed they know how to party.
They’re a tight outfit, and have improved since I saw them. They’ve acquired a backdrop, and developed their stagecraft, playing to the cameras, with Heath going walkabout into the bemused audience more than once.
Songs from their six-track EP We Have Ignition, on Nunny Dave Records, slip down nicely, with Breakdown and Lizard Queen the standouts tonight, and they tried out a new song, Masterplan, which fitted into their established set nicely. Good band, catch ‘em if you can.
Onto the headliners then, and All Out Attack are a band I’m ashamed to say I’d never seen, even though they’ve doing the rounds in the North East for at least a decade now.
They’ve released an EP and an album, Dystopia, in that time, and picked up some prestigious support slots with the likes of The Vibrators and Uproar.
Adz on vocals, Daz on guitar, Dan on drums and new bass player Kev reminded me a lot of the Angelic Upstarts and Crashed Out, and not just because of the accents!
Like those bands, they play politically-charged punk, and although I confess to not knowing a lot of their set, the standout songs for me were Three Rivers, Holiday in Beijing and Never Grow Old.
They’re certainly a band I’ll make a point of catching again, as their set was delivered with plenty of pride and passion. And the fact gigs like this can still pull a crowd – albeit a small one – on a Wednesday night shows the North East punk scene is alive and kicking.