I think one of the best parts about Newcastle is the fact that on pretty much any night of the week you can catch some really incredible live music. This is something that I truly believe makes our city so magical. There are times however, as a music writer, that you attend a gig where you are ultimately lost for words. In most cases this would be an utter nightmare and would quickly manifest as writers block, however, in this particular case I couldn’t be more thankful. In the basement of the Grand Hotel, every Tuesday, talented musos, often from all over the world, flock to this tiny stage and produce some of the best live music I have ever seen.
Now let me preface this story by saying up front, that I am not a jazz expert nor have I really taken the time to understand the genre for what it really is so all bias aside. But… Over many weeks of going to “the underground” curling up on a couch with a beverage and good company I have definitely started to appreciate it. Last night, I think, it finally clicked for me as I had the absolute privilege of watching the Adam Miller Trio perform to a packed out and ever grateful audience. Comprised of Adam Miller on guitar, Dom Borzestowski on drums and Mitch Cairns on bass, the trio played a mixture of both old and incredibly new tracks, with Adam quoting at one point “we just finished writing this song last night, so we’ll see how we go”. A humble humble man he is. Far too humble in fact, because when the band began to play, they held the audience in the palm of their hand. Many with eyes closed, sitting cross legged, jaws on the floor, overcome by stunned disbelief at the talent that lay before them. A guest appearance by the ever wonderful local Jason Lowe during the second set was a real crowd favourite and the cohesion never wavered.
There seemed to be this electric transference of energy between the band on stage and the audience as if all of us, packed into this tiny venue were all being, thinking, feeling the same thing all at the same time. The way the band communicated onstage was unlike anything I have ever seen. Every piece, sound and improvisation fit together perfectly.
See usually at a gig, my mind does tend to wander, I’m a writer, it’s what I do. I’m usually thinking of a million things at once. Ideas, plot lines, characters I find in the room, and what the lyrics to the songs really mean and how I could apply them to a story line. But, for the first time, in the longest of times, my mind was completely blank. Because somehow, in some way, I had ceased to think for myself, because the music, the energy, the cohesion and transference of sound were doing all of the thinking for me. I was being told a story, but with no words or explanations only music. If you only see one live band this year, make it the Adam Miller Trio.
The Underground is run by an organisation known as NIMA or the Newcastle Improvised Music Association and held in the basement of the grand hotel every Tuesday night with a really great line up of acts every single week.
I’m Laura, and writing about our wonderful city is something I am oh so passionate about. You can find me tucked away in the corner of your local open mic night, taking in the sights with a local artist flowing through my headphones, or hanging out in the front row of your first gig where you’re debating whether the staff count as crowd members. Built on coffee, live music and punk nostalgia, I write about talented people doing talented things.