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Review: The Strands – 26/07/19 – Riverside 2, Newcastle

29/07/2019

Newcastle has a thriving music scene and a myriad of talented bands on offer. On Friday, 26th July, one of the most promising local upstarts, The Strands, played Riverside 2. A class gig that once again proved why North East bands are a force to be reckoned with…

Every class gig starts with class support acts. When the first riff of the first song makes you write down – and I quote: ‘FUCK YES’ you know you’re not far off landing a strike. Great Waves kicked off the night in style with pure energy. Lovelytheband but make it indie rock. Infectious from the very first second, this band is definitely one to look out for.

Next up were BALTIC, a band that I had tried to catch live a couple of times but never quite managed to, so I was stoked to finally get a chance to see what they were all about. Long story short: I was blown away by their energy and stage presence. Without exception, they delivered catchy and energetic Rock ’n’ Roll. No wonder they had the first people dancing at 8:15pm on a Saturday.

Then it was finally time for The Strands to take the stage. A large part of the audience was made up of family and friends of the band, all wearing The Strands merch to show their support. It really defined the overall atmosphere; you could pretty much feel the pride radiating from them. 

The band started their set with their most recent single ‘Don’t Go Away’, a clever move as it had the crowd singing along from the get-go. The perfect ice-breaker. If you listen to the song it gives you a pretty good idea of what The Strands are about: guitar heavy tunes with strong danceable beats and most of all killer vocals. 

From the very first song, it was clear to see that the band had a great time on stage. They were buzzing to be playing in front of their loved ones and frequent hoots from the audience proved that the feeling was mutual. The boys put their all into their performance and the audience rewarded them by being positively animated, clapping along and singing the words wherever they knew them. It may have been a small crowd, but it was a great one prepared to have a good time! 

The highlight of the night was when they brought out an acoustic guitar to ‘slow things down for a bit’. A stripped-down version of ‘Crystal Clear’ perfectly showed off Dean’s vocal skills. What a range. It proved that this band has more to offer than up-beat bangers, they can be quiet and introspective, too. One can only imagine how incredible and varied their set is going to be once they have a full-fledged album to show for themselves.

The Strands really have a knack for crafting melodies. Every song draws you in from the very first second and keeps your attention until the very last note. A very impressive skill for such a young band. By the end of their set, me and the man next to me, who made several failed attempts at hand whistling, were united in a rather uncommon form of misery. We were inadequately equipped to express our enthusiasm. Some things just can’t be put into words. So you have to resort to other methods like buying a T-Shirt or vowing to get all of your friends hooked on their music and most of all absolutely definitely coming back to watch them play the bigger stages that The Strands without a doubt are destined for!

PHOTOS: ELLISHA IDDON 

WORDS: LAURA FREYALDENHOVEN

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