It was difficult not to conclude, as regards context and environment for bands to be situated in: London = Bad, Newcastle = Good.
I realize this is a gross over-simplification, a completely unforgivable, borderline-bigoted generalization. I’m brushing over the genuine opportunities a metropolitan centre affords new bands, ignoring the serious shortcomings of a provincial town without any formalised infrastructure to speak of.
But fuck it. After watching Post War Years in a sort of barren corporate Shoreditch-Gomorrah last week (see gig review at http://www.whatisthegrain.com) I saw Findo Gask play to a Newcastle crowd as part of a small, completely free local festival, and it was without a doubt the best gig I’ve been to all year.
This could easily have gone the way of PWY @ Vibe Bar. Here were four young men in multicoloured sweatshirts, with a sound that ticked just about every box imaginable, musical zeitgeist-wise (synths – check, disco-redolent accessibility – check, post-punk edge – check). But instead of coming across as a cynical, shallow, manufactured pop-like gesture, as with PWY, all these elements seemed to click for me as I watched Findo Gask’s set this weekend, to come across as complementary parts of a sincere and harmonious whole.
There were no record company A&Rs present. There was no cocktail-strewn VIP room, and no banner on stage to proclaim the fashion industry-sponsored nature of the whole thing. Instead, there were lots of friends drinking on a Saturday afternoon, un-self-conscious people dancing, members from a wide array of incredibly good north-eastern and Scottish art-rock bands talking to each other in bullshit-free, self-deprecating terms. . . read more . . .