It was my New Year resolution to go to see more live music in 2019. All too often in the past, I’d ducked out of attending things I wanted to see because I was too tired after a day at work.
This year I had no such excuse. I took redundancy from my job midway through the year, set up this website to keep my hand in at writing and develop my interest in photography (no pun intended, honest!), and tried to go to as many gigs as possible.
I didn’t set myself any targets. After all, going to a gig is often a spur of the moment thing, particularly if it’s a grassroots, DIY-type which doesn’t require tickets to be bought in advance.
My tally for the year is a respectable 46 gigs. That includes four days at a festival and a couple of all-dayers with multiple bands on the line-up, which I’ve only counted as one gig each. “I’d be happy with that at your age,” pointed out my son. Thanks, son – I think…
If my maths is correct I’ve seen 188 artists (mostly bands, plus the odd solo artist, and one DJ…), including 92 for the first time, at 17 different venues. I probably missed half as many gigs again, for various reasons (usually family or football commitments).
My most-seen band was Gimp Fist (five times), followed by Kickback Generation (four times), which seems appropriate, as a gig featuring them both at Hunwick WMC in January was my first of the year.
Highlights? There were many. I’d seen The Old Firm Casuals before, but they were on fire at the Riverside in Newcastle in February, as were Ruts DC later the same month as they celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Crack, the only ‘proper’ album by their forebears The Ruts.
I saw my favourite band ever, Stiff Little Fingers, for the umpteenth time the following month, with Eddie and the Hot Rods supporting. I’d never seen them before, and it was a gig which was to take on added poignancy later in the year with the sad death of Hot Rods frontman Barrie Masters.
April saw my get round to finally seeing Holy Moly & The Crackers, who were recommended to me a couple of years ago, and a bonus was ‘finding’ Snakerattlers, who supported them.
Britpop icons Suede were another first for me, and April became an excellent month with further gigs by Martha, Half Man Half Biscuit and The Blue Carpet Band.
May saw three gigs in six days, with the pick of them probably The Undertones and Neville Staple at the Boiler Shop, while I celebrated my redundancy by going to see Skids the next night.
The Soapgirls and Maid Of Ace showed that sisters are doing it for themselves with excellent gigs at Trillians in July, and August of course means Rebellion Festival and four days of beer and punk rock in Blackpool.
The highlights there really were too many to mention. It’s a festival which seems to get better every year, just when you think it can’t possibly top the previous one.
Mid-August saw a trip to Glasgow to see The Cure – a real bucket-list band for my other half, who has loved them for 40 years but never seen them. They were excellent, despite the mud.
The Bar Stool Preachers played a superb set at a happily-revitalised Trillians, before Pixies turned in a mammoth 39-song set at the O2 Academy, and September was rounded off with the punk all-dayer North East Calling, where The Adicts stole the show from the headlining Cockney Rejects.
I surpassed my gig-a-week target in both October and November, and although December’s gig-going was truncated by a family illness, it was great to round off the year at an absolutely packed Trillians with a show by Crashed Out and Rigid Digits.
2020 already looks like another great year of live music. I’ve already got my eye on gigs featuring Giuda, The Interrupters, the Menzingers, the Subways, Ash, Rezillos, The Toy Dolls, and many more.
THE FULL LIST OF GIGS I ATTENDED IN 2019
5 Jan, Gimp Fist + Kickback Generation @ Hunwick WMC, County durham
12 Jan, Boilermaker + Kickback Generation @ Black Bull, Gateshead
1 Feb, Fun Lovin’ Criminals + DJ ? @ Northumbria University, Newcastle
4 Feb, White Lies + Boniface @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle
7 Feb, The Old Firm Casuals + Crashed Out + Boilermaker @ Riverside, Newcastle
21 Feb, Ruts DC + The Professionals @ Riverside
15 March, Stiff Little Fingers + Eddie and The Hot Rods @ O2 Academy, Newcastle
22 March, Knock Off + Liarbilities + Filthy Filthy @ Black Bull
4 April, Skinny Lister + The Wood Burning Savages + Trapper Schoepp @ Riverside
5 April, Holy Moly and the Crackers + Snakerattlers @ The Cluny, Newcastle
12 April, Dirtbox Disco + Logoz @ O2 Academy 2
15 April, Suede + A Festival A Parade @ O2 Academy
17 April, Martha + Moronphonics + Fast Blood @ Star and Shadow, Newcastle
26 April, Half Man Half Biscuit + Sonnenburg @ Boiler Shop
27 April, The Blue Carpet Band + We Aren’t The League @ Black Bull
4 May, Gimp Fist + Red London, @ Independent, Sunderland
6 May, Cocaine Piss + Blom + Mouses, Sage Gateshead
9 May, Undertones + Neville Staple @ Boiler Shop
8 June, Skids + Crashed Out + Zeitgeist 77 @ O2 Academy
26 June, Reno Divorce + Hot Rockets @ Trillians, Newcastle
3 July, The Soapgirls + Pussy Willow Venus Furs + Dirty Rock ‘N’ Roll @ Trillians
8 July, Nadine Shah + Annabelle Allum + The Dawdler @ Playhouse, Whitley Bay
18 July, Maid Of Ace + Rats Nest @ Trillians
26 July, Gimp Fist + Anger Flares + One Man Stand @ The Globe, Newcastle
1 August, Rebellion @ Winter Gardens, Blackpool: Lead Shot Hazard + Kickback Generation + Terminal Heads + The Babes + Incisions + Vibrate Two Fingers + The Cundeez + The Baby Seals + Millie Manders And The Shut Up + Diablo Furs + Wolf Bites Boy + The Bar Stool Preachers + In Evil Hour + Pears + Geoffrey Oicott + Abraskadabra + No Thrills + Queen Zee + Anger Flares + D. I. + Flipper + Poison Idea + Goldblade + Descendents + Fear + The Drowns (26 bands in total)
2 August, Rebellion @ Winter Gardens, Blackpool: Dream Nails + The Fuckin’ Glorious + The Dopamines + Knock Off + Karl Phillips And The Rejects + Gimp Fist + Rust + Argy Bargy + The Avengers + Booze & Glory + Ruts DC + The Membranes + The Bois + UK Subs + Guitar Gangsters + The Stranglers + The Members (17 bands in total)
3 August, Rebellion @ Winter Gardens, Blackpool: Rats From A Sinking Ship + Kearney’s Jig + Punko! UK + Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs + Lions Law + Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants + Giuda + Spoilers + Ruts DC + The Bar Stool Preachers + Hard Skin + H.R. from Bad Brains + The Business Event + Maid Of Ace + Cockney Rejects + Cock Sparrer (16 in total)
4 August, Rebellion @ Winter Gardens, Blackpool: Hands Off Gretel + Snakerattlers + Fat Albert + Habits + Nosebleed + Suede Razors + Culture Shock + Rotten Foxes + Svetlanas + Alternative Carpettes + Liarbilitys + Dirt Box Disco + The Casualties + Desensitized + Kid Klumsy + Skids + The Damned + The Dwarves + Frenzy (19 bands in all = 78 in total)
16 August, The Cure + Mogwai + The Twilight Sad + The Joy Formidable @ Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
23 August, The Warriors + Small Seeds @ Black Bull
17 Sept, The Bar Stool Preachers + The Almighty Uprisers @ Trillians
21 Sept, Pixies + The Big Moon, O2 Academy
28 Sept, North East Calling @Northumbria University: Cockney Rejects + The Adicts + Anti Nowhere League + GBH + Argy Bargy + Gimp Fist + Dirt Box Disco + Zounds + The DeRellas + Kid Klumsy + Cyanide Pills + Uproar
4 Oct, Holy Moly and the Crackers + GG Allan Partridge @ Sage
12 Oct, Kickback Generation + Boilermaker @ Black Bull
14 Oct, Richard Hawley + Get Cape Wear Cape Fly @ Northumbria University
17 Oct, Loaded 44 + Force Fed Lies + The Continental Quilts @ Trillians
18 Oct, Thee Acid Tongue + Liarbilitys @ Black Bull
1 Nov, Snakerattlers + Ugly Fly Guys + The Exes @ Black Bull
12 Nov, The Take + Force Fed Lies + Mind Crisis @ Black Bull
20 Nov, All Out Attack + Hot Rockets + Slalom D @ Trillians
27 Nov, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls + Emily Barker @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle
28 Nov, The Men They Couldn’t Hang + Candi’s Dog @ Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle
7 Dec, Zero Tolerance + Force Fed Lies @ Black Bull
13 Dec, The Futureheads + Indoor Pets + Roxy Girls @ Northumbria University
28 Dec, Crashed Out + Rigid Digits @ Trillians
MY GIG YEAR IN NUMBERS
46 gigs (counting a day at a festival as 1 gig)
188 bands seen/92 for the first time
17 different venues: Black Bull 9, Trillians 7, O2 Academy 5, Northumbria University 4, Blackpool Winter Gardens 4, Riverside 3, Boiler Shop 3, Sage 2, Tyne Bank Brewery 1, The Cluny 1, The Globe 1, Star & Shadow 1, Hunwick WMC 1, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow 1, Independent 1, Whitley Bay Playhouse 1, Tyne Bank Brewery 1
Most-seen bands: Gimp Fist 5, Kickback Generation 4, Boilermaker 3, Dirt Box Disco 3, Force Fed Lies 3, Snakerattlers 3, Liarbilitys 3, Crashed Out 3, Ruts DC 3, The Bar Stool Preachers 3