LIVE REVIEW: Slalom D + All Out Attack + Symbient + James Harrison, Trillians, Newcastle, Sunday 5 January 2020
North East Cosmonaut Circus is four local lads who all have experience at putting on DIY punk gigs, who have decided to work together and try to put on even better shows.
The idea is to provide a series of grassroots touring gigs for new bands, old bands, bands playing their first gigs or last gigs, or even bands who reform specifically to play an NECC event.
These gigs are for everyone, so long as they are in some shape or form a punk band or solo artist, they don’t espouse unpleasant views, and they are looking to build on the local and UK punk scenes. Bands are paid on a door-split basis, so there’s no room for egos.
This was NECC’s launch event, and it was originally billed as five bands for a fiver, but sadly sleaze-rockers Hot Rockets, from Whitby, had to pull out on the morning of the gig through illness.
Still, none of those in attendance could have complained at paying £5 to see four bands. That’s cheaper than a pint in some Toon bars (not Trillians, I hasten to add).
Opening proceedings was James Harrison, who usually fronts Teesside melodic skatepunk band Alien8. Sadly, he finds himself without a drummer and bassist right now, so here he was performing his songs solo, playing acoustic guitar.
It was the first time I’d seen him, and didn’t know any of the songs, but as the appetiser for more lively things to come it slipped down nicely, and I’ll certainly be looking out for the name in future.
Next up were Symbient, a four-piece from Sunderland who have been gigging for three years now, but are all still in their teens.
Daniel Collings, (lead vocals, & rhythm guitar) Cameron Pugh, (lead guitar), Khynan Hanson, (bass) and Conor Hanson, (drums & backing vocals) are certainly a tight unit, and very proficient for their young age.
Their 11-song set was mostly original material, plus a couple of covers, including The Only Ones’ classic Another Girl Another Planet, which they made a very decent job of indeed.
It’s young bands like them who will keep the punk flag flying when the old ‘uns are gone, so please go out and support them if you see a show advertised. You won’t regret it.
Next up were Newcastle’s All Out Attack, a DIY punk band I only saw for the first time a couple of months ago, but they’re already growing on me.
Adz (vocals), Daz (guitar), Kev (bass) and Dan (drums) released their debut album Dystopia in 2014, and it’s on to its second pressing, but I was surprised to see none of the tracks made their 45-minute set here. It’s all new stuff, and it sounds great.
Holidays In Beijing, with its Dead Kennedys-like guitar riffs, was a standout track, as were A Tale Of Three Rivers, False Flag, and the closing Step Up!, which you can check out on Soundcloud HERE.
Hopefully there’ll be some new music available to buy soon, as these tunes are indeed a step up from what the band has done before. Speaking of which, you can get your hands on some exclusive downloads by signing up to their ReverbNation mailing list HERE.
On then to the headliners, Slalom D, who again I’d only seen once before, and the four-piece from Sunderland are another band who I like more every time I hear them.
They opened with their anti-fascist anthem No Pasaran, and their performance showed why their T-shirts are becoming such a common sight at gigs around the North East.
They have a couple of releasesto their name so far, the Jerusalem/Dead River single featuring original vocalist Craig Macbeth, who sadly died in March last year, and the Pressure CD EP, which came out in June 2019. You can check them out on their Bandcamp page HERE.
I never saw Slalom D with Craig, but have read that Gary Roberts (guitar) Tony Lindstedt (bass) and Iain Murray (drums) thought Fiona Duncan was a perfect replacement, even though she’d never sang before.
She certainly has stage presence, and despite suffering the after-effects of the dreaded lurgy, powered through their 10-song set. I can’t wait for them to release more music, as the unreleased songs in their set (such as Step Out Of Line and Go Look At Me) are great.
They are very much an old-school punk band, with lots to say about the state of the world today. Go Look At Me is about women’s rights, and Dead River about the decline of our traditional industries.
It’s important stuff, delivered with a real punch, and the closing Chelsea Bonfire, which rails against social cleansing, left me wanting to hear more from this excellent band, whose political punk is addictive stuff.
Despite a slightly disappointing turnout crowd-wise, I’d judge the first North East Cosmonaut Circus event to be a success, and I’d urge punk lovers to support their shows, as it’s all DIY, and aimed at spreading the word of the region’s underground scene.
- The next NECC event is A Vaudeville Night with Cherry & Peesh & Friends at the Ship Isis in Sunderland on Saturday, January 25. Joining them are comedian Rosie Cole, musician/spoken word performer Ben Dawson-Punshon, and poets John Turner and Juli Watson. It’s £5 on the door.