I was lucky enough to get the chance to see the band play a sold out show at Tynemouth & District Social Club. The special one-off performance was to celebrate the release of their single ‘All Hail, All Glory’.
Upon entering the building a man gestures across the room and says frankly “Straight doon the middle. Up the stairs”- he can probably tell I’m not a regular. The function room upstairs is certainly a warm refuge from the bitterly cold November night.
Everyone in the room seems to know each other. While an outsider may feel like they are invading a family or parish do, it’s still possible to feel at ease. There is an undeniable feeling of that North Eastern homeyness that no other region can mimic. Although neither the support act or headliner have performed yet, a sizeable crowd has already gathered.
First act on stage are Blamire. As the set begins the band’s charismatic frontman, Alex Blamire, ushers the initially shy crowd to move in a bit closer.
Blamire wear matching shirts scattered with red and black motifs resembling equals signs with a third horizontal line in the mix. Their commitment to giving a theatrical performance doesn’t stop here. Alex sings and plays synths and performs with such animation that his presence could fill a room three times the size of the actual venue.
After Blamire have thanked the headliners and left the stage a friendly hubbub fills the room. Members of both bands mingle with the audience, mostly made up of their friends and family. It definitely feels like a homecoming of sorts.
The interlude continues until out of nowhere we hear a cry followed by music. Everyone in the room turns to the stage to realise the cry was from Hector Gannet frontman/ lead songwriter Aaron Duff. This opening song, ‘Serpentine’, is a hypnotic guitar lead effort that I hope to hear again at some point.
One seamless transition and another song later Duff says “Can’t believe so many came to watch wor”, in awe of the tightly packed venue.
Each track is consistently high quality, often characterised by warm instrumentals and hypnotic vocals. One track, I don’t catch the name of but is about Northumberland, has a hearty instrumental vaguely reminiscent of ‘Albatross’ by Fleetwood Mac.
Duff eventually says “It’s probably time to play the single I suppose…” and the audience erupt with enthusiasm. The live rendition of ‘All Hail, All Glory’ is a triumph- vivid, celebratory and sounding just as good (if not even slightly better) than the recording. It’s a clear crowd favourite with cheers drowning out the sound of applause.