From international superstars to local legends, we’ve been treated to an amazing year of live music. So while we’re reminiscing about the year that’s about to end, we thought we’d take a look at the best gigs of the year in Newcastle & the Hunter.
The Rolling Stones – Hope Estate
We couldn’t even think about putting this list together without mentioning the massive & long awaited Rolling Stones show at Hope Estate on November 15. As our review put it “It is hard not to be impressed by this performance, completely regardless of how old some of these guys are. There are those who no doubt scoff at the ‘best rock band in the world’ title but, after 50 years as a band and a show like this, they have very little argument. The sentiment that most audience members tonight will share is that which was screamed by a twenty-something girl from a car exiting the grounds: “THIS IS THE BEST FUCKING NIGHT OF MY LIFE”! Touché.”
Morgan Evans CD Launch – Lizotte’s
Morgan hit the stage with a power house set and a talented and tight band to back him up. With Brother Tom ‘Bass / Mandolin’, Nick Woodford ‘Keys and Acoustic Guitar’, Dan Baldwin ‘Drums’ and Mark Hoppe on Lead Guitar he had a solid backing to launch his baby to a hometown audience. The night was full of highlights with Morgan playing most of the songs from his new self-titled album,as well as ‘Big Skies’ with local legend Mark Wells and one of my favourites ‘While We’re Young’.
Courtney Love – Newcastle Panthers
Regardless of whether you thought the show was crap or brilliant, this gig needed to be on this list. Why? Because despite all the shit that comes her way, Courtney Love is still doing what she does best… being Courtney Love. And that’s what we got on Friday the 22nd August when the queen of grunge rock graced the stage at Newcastle Panthers. We sent Dan from the office to cover the gig for us, and we think this quote from his review sums the whole thing up – “Overall I couldn’t help feeling that if this was a Hole reunion it would have been so much better. That’s probably my problem though and nothing to do with Courtney, because she was everything I expected, and everything she has been and continues to be. Overall I loved that I was able to be there for what is bound to be Courtney Love’s first and only ‘solo’ show in Newcastle”.
Kibbs & Mac Folklaw EP Launch – Lizotte’s
The live launch of Kibbs & Mac Folklaw was a showcase of some of the finest talent Newcastle has to offer. With winner of the 2013 Youth Rockin’ The Black Dog, James Osborn and local legend Greg Bryce on the support bill the night got off to a great start. Then the main event. It has to be said that you could feel Kibbs’ bass right in the guts from the get go. It was that sound that remained as the constant throughout the set, driving and bringing everything together. Darren Gould, Chris English, Lee Rolf and Steve Alchin provided the perfect musical canvas with special guests Dave Carter, Sue Carson and Justin Ngariki adding to the pedigree on stage for a song or two. An amazing showcase of local talent.
NOFX – Panthers Newcastle
Fresh from the head kicking incident, NOFX stormed onto the stage at Panthers to a packed room of punks and weekend warriors. This was a show with no bullshit. 3 minute burst after 3 minute burst, this band still delivers. There’s ‘No Frills’ at a NOFX show, and you don’t need any. The Los Angeles band had everyone in the palm of their sweaty hands and we were loving every moment of it!
Nine Inch Nails & Queens Of The Stone Age – Newcastle Entreatment Centre
The 8th of March was a special day for many Novocastrians. Two of the world’s biggest bands, in our hometown, on the one stage for one night only. It had all the makings of a legendary night and it didn’t let anyone down. “That was wicked sick” was our favourite quote overheard on the walk to Broadmedow station after the gig. From the new tunes like Copy Of A Copy and My God Is the Sun to the sing along moments of Head Like A Hole and No One Knows every moment of the show was something to savour.
Steve Smyth – The Lass O’Gowerie Hotel
What a great performance. Such a commanding stage presence. Steve delivers a drunk-man-ranting style of bluesy growly rock for the most part, screaming into the mic and throwing his whole body into it. Then he’ll come to a quieter number and can just as easily strip it back to a Jeff-Buckley-esque serenade. At one point he led the whole pub in a sing-along, no music just voices – It was pretty mesmerising, one of those moments where you realise this person has “it”.
The Owls, Maids & Treehouse Children – The Cambridge Hotel
The local bill that brought the house down. You would be hard pressed to get more attitude from the local music scene in one room on one night. Each set proved that Newcastle live and original music is in great hands. Sean and Matt from Maids spitting lyrics in to the mic like it was a drug, Josh from The Owls molesting the mic stand, and the boys from The Treehouse Children making musical sandwiches like they were possessed. This gig had it all.