While it’s questionable booking that Celtic punk legends Dropkick Murphys are playing downstairs in the main Academy tonight, it still doesn’t stop The King Blues from practically selling out their first ever Newcastle headline show.
With mostly kids and parents still flooding in – it honestly looks like a You Me At Six gig, ska ‘n’ roll outfit The Meow Meows from Brighton cram their 10 members on stage, with those in attendance murmuring “Woah, there’s a trumpet…” – clearly an alien object to the mostly mainstream and Kerrangcore contingent tonight. Overall, it’s a fun and enjoyable performance, leaving smiles all-round, if not a little cheesy at times.
Newcastle doesn’t know what’s hit it when London’s Moral Dilemma begin to belt out their ballsy punk rock and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude – with people genuinely looking bemused and fearful for their lives when three crust punks decide to own the floor. Although, their brash sound does get a little samey after a while, there’s no doubt about it that this band is one of the fullest sounding three pieces around.
Rebel Alliance’s Mouthwash follow things up with their banging concoction of grimey ska/reggae jams, as they begin with favourite That Girl. Certainly no stranger to Newcastle, there’s a few good few singing along with them tonight, and their vibe is utterly contagious with the whole room clapping and dancing along for the duration of their set, while playing the likes of No Fear and That Sound.
The King Blues‘ recent troubles have been no secret, with the departure of several members, but tonight they’re here with almost a completely new line-up and you wouldn’t be none the wiser, as their sound is as tight as ever, beginning with their long-winded Intro and leading into oldie Blood on My Hands.
With their third record Punk and Poetry due to be released soon, there’s a smattering of new material, which somewhat disrupts the momentum and flow of the set – especially when there’s a new tune played after every other song. Although, the Jamie T-esque Headbutt and the super poppy Holiday do allow for easy crowd anticipation, somewhat suspiciously so… Shameless radio-friendly anthems.
It’s evident that Newcastle has been been gagging for this for a long time, as the crowd is on fire throughout, with massive sing-a-longs during favourites Underneath This Lamppost Light, I Got Love, and Save The World, Get The Girl.
Of course, this gig wouldn’t be a King Blues gig without an obligatory anti-BNP rant, and rightfully so, before rallying into the frenzied The Streets Are Ours, complete with cowbells and whistles; a definite highlight.
The encore sees frontman Itch return to perform his powerful Five Bottles of Shampoo poem, before delivering another awe-inspiring and hair-raising, solo performance of the six-minute epic What If Punk Never Happened – as a special treat to Newcastle. The rest of the band then return to the stage, ending the evening on Taking Over, and you can pretty much guarantee that they won’t take as long to play here again after this special night.
– Faye Turnbull.