Shadows Chasing Ghosts are set to play upstairs in Newcastle’s o2 Academy for the third time this year. Each time, more and more kids have been turning up, and tonight is no exception, people turning up early in their droves. With the band’s van sidelined round the back of the venue, hopefully it’ll be a show to take their mind off travelling blues, and leave a lasting impression; only time will tell.
There’s three of them, they name their songs in a daft manner full of meaningless long words plucked from the dictionary, and they sound like Muse. Trouble is, they’re not Muse, and openers Starblind slightly dampen the evening’s proceedings, if anything. With the crowd still filing in staying static, it’s almost not fair on the band, who in all honesty, can play their instruments really well. Their song structure is impressive for a bunch of locals, but it’s the cringe-worthy singing that knocks it all out-of-touch. There’s only one Matthew Bellamy, and, unfortunately, anyone trying to match up doesn’t even come close.
Newcastle kids 3 Ways Of Thinking sound oddly heavy tonight. Starting things off with a rapturous collection of riffs and bass pedals, it seems they might of found their sound. Kicking off with some energetic bursts of popcore, the room finally begins to move, if only somewhat. Some would say chucking a breakdown into a Cascada track (single Evacuate The Dancefloor) is genius, some would say utterly embarrassing, but pint-sized vocalista Rachel Clamp manages to pull it off very well, certainly suited to the poppier side of the spectrum, even if there’s some slight warbling at times. Massive kudos goes to guitarist Sam Coates who pulls out a fantastic solo from nowhere, making the cover the pick of the set. While it’s an odd combination, female vocals intertwined with a Me Vs Hero-esque landscape, it seems the band may be onto something fun and quirky, and with none of it’s members even nearly out of their teens, it’s something 3 Ways… have a lot of time to experiment with.
In Oceans is a name barely heard around the local scene in the North-East it seems, but where this gem’s been hiding is anyone’s guess. Giving the same oozing and quite frankly strange sounds comparable to the likes of Blakfish, whilst dishing out chunk after chunk of an underOATH-ish quality, they grind out their noise and finally get the crowds opened and moving. Their music seems strangely melodic at times, despite the growling, grunting vocals of frontman Stefano, and the crowd certainly seem to warm to it. Maybe it’s because it’s the first sign of any aggression, but either way, In Oceans make an impact, and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from this pretty solid performance.
Local lads Aviary played with Shadows last time they were in Newcastle, in this very room. They were great then, and tonight they’re even better. Their music seems to have developed a great structure, and brilliant melodic guitar work bodes well with their punishing screams and bass pedal combos. The band’s songs sound a hell of a lot stronger live than on record, We The Omega sounds massive whereas it sounds tinny and demo-ey recorded, and it pays off; it’s obviously impressing a lot of people. By this time, the room has pretty much warmed to whatever slightly moveable music gets thrust at it, and the crowd get right into this. Catch them while you can – it sounds like they’re onto something big.
Despite only having an EP to their name, Shadows Chasing Ghosts have managed to pack tonight out; not a single ticket left. So when they take to the stage just before ten, it’s no surprise to see almost 400 kids bursting into applause. Kicking off with Thumbelina’s Story, the floor opens (and rather unfortunately, gets swarmed with hardcore dancers), and the 5-piece unleash fury upon the room. The band always seem to make an impression live, but tonight it’s just that much sweeter, being their own show. Frontman Trey Tremain‘s constant switching between ruthless harsh tones and emotional melodics work wonders for the songs, and unlike a lot of other bands, his voice can be heard perfectly.
Jumping to the barrier (and staying there for at least three-quarters of the set) he leads all manner of chants and singalongs, including relentless EP track Girl In Sheeps Clothing, and a couple of new tracks in the form of SOS and You Ain’t Got The Minerals thrown in for good measure and some variation; the latter two tracks give off the same particular sound the band show on the EP songs, but the structure sounds tighter; the poppier parts sound poppier whilst the heavier parts sound beefy and destructive, which reflects upon the room which by now is in full swing, bodies bouncing from all corners.
A brilliant twist sees Needle end the set by starting acoustically, before the whole band join in and kick it off which makes for a superb closer. More songs wouldn’t of gone a miss, but a band can only play what they know; it does no harm to a great performance. With more people seeming to know the words to songs growing by the gig, and the gigs themselves packing more and more kids, Shadows are well on their way uphill – just try and stop them.
– George Cannings.
Keep an eye out for our interview with Shadows Chasing Ghosts to be posted soon!