WASTELAND: Photographer Gordon Armstrong on The Wildhearts


Legendary Newcastle music photographer Gordon Armstrong has photographed hundreds of gigs in his time, yet by his own admission he isn’t a ‘pro’ photographer, he just loves photographing live music. 

The Wildhearts, one of Gordon’s favourite bands to photograph and listen to have just been announced for Newcastle’s first ever Wasteland Festival. It takes place at Spillers Wharf, Newcastle on July 12th-14th. We spoke to Gordon about his love for photography,  The Wildhearts, and what else he’s looking forward to at Wasteland Festival.

How long have you been photographing live music?

“About four maybe five years with the enthusiasm I have for it now – I’ve always taken the odd photo at gigs over the years but as I’ve gained experience and a bit of confidence I’ve taken the hobby a bit further over time.”

What is it about photographing live music that you enjoy? 

“I’m first and foremost a lover of music, I DJ’d for many many years at a lot of North East venues and loved discovering new bands to play to the folks who came to my nights. As I no longer DJ, I now love trying to capture the feel of a live gig to interest people. I find the biggest compliment has been when people have said they’ve checked out a new band because of a photo I’ve taken has caught their eye. Obviously getting to photograph some of the biggest names in music is exciting as well, to be that close even just for a few songs will always be a massive buzz for this music geek!”

You’re a big fan of The Wildhearts, and you’ve recently photographed the band, what are your thoughts on them being announced for Wasteland Festival?

“In my opinion, Ginger Wildheart is one of the best songwriters in the UK. He writes from the heart and while that can sometimes be raw emotion coming through, whether the subject is relationships or mental health, it resonates with fans worldwide. He just can’t help but write a riff and melody that stays with you even before the lyrics sink in. Their latest album ‘Renaissance Men’ sees them not only back with the classic line up of Ginger, CJ, Danny and Ritch, but also a 10 song classic in the making receiving 5 star and 10/10 reviews throughout media outlets.

Live they are on top of their game and the new songs like ‘Let ‘Em Go’, ‘Diagnosis’ (personal favourite from the album ) and ‘Dislocated’ sit easily alongside old favourites such as ‘Everlone’, ‘Caffeine Bomb’, ‘Suckerpunch’ etc. Having had Frank Turner guest with them live previously, this Wasteland Festival bill could well be an incendiary performance that will be talked about for some time to come.”

Is there anyone else apart from The Wildhearts and Frank Turner that you’re looking forward to seeing at Wasteland Festival?

“Really looking forward to Bloc Party and Circa Waves on the Friday as I’ve never photographed them before. Holy Moly & The Crackers on the Saturday as they are visually and musically brilliant. Sunday it’s all about British Sea Power and Peter Hook for me personally, even though I’ve seen them both before I love what they do live and again make for exciting photographs.”

Catch The Wildhearts, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Beans On Toast and more at Wasteland Festival, Newcastle this summer on July 13th. Tickets are on sale now! 

Johnathan Ramsay

Photos by Gordon Armstrong



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