nxb3 on tour – Witch Hunt at The Castle, Manchester

I’d missed Witch Hunt twice this leave already so I wasn’t going to miss them again this time especially as it looked like this would be the last chance I got before going back to work again. So I set off on the long drive to Manchester and parked up at about 7pm on one of the side streets off Oldham Road. The Castle Hotel was a Robinsons house with 5 of their own cask beers as well as 5 guests on the bar, a really good selection and I was cursing the fact that I was driving so couldn’t sample a few of the more interesting brews.

Doors were supposed to be open at 7:30 but it was after 8:00 when they started letting people in and it took a while before the first band, Factory Acts headed to the stage. They consisted of a guy on Bass and a girl on keyboards and vocals, they were Ok with some good bass playing but I thought the vocals and keyboards were rather ordinary. A decent enough first support band but no better than that, although there was one guy who would definitely disagree with me as he was dancing by himself for the whole set.

The first of the two co-headliners were Witch Hunt, one of my favourite new bands from Leeds. After they got themselves ready they started with a track that is usually played towards the end of their set, ‘Can You Believe It’ which had Louisa’s vocals gradually building in intensity to a screeching crescendo as the track came to a close. The second track was a new song which I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard before and the third was the first outing of a brand new track neither of the two having a title as yet. Back to more familiar territory now with their first single ‘Chairman’ followed by ‘Wide And Laughing’ from their current EP “Little Book Of Hate” and the superb ‘Army Man’ to finish off with. Another excellent set from a band that consistently deliver the goods every single time that I see them, Louisa with her stunning vocals and Chris with his excellent guitar playing. Their sound has recently got a bit more depth to it with the addition of Ste Anderson on drums although I think I still prefer them as a two piece, Louisa hammering away at the single drum during their set at Live at Leeds 2013 was a sight to behold.

Plan A was to leave straight after the Witch Hunt set and travel back across the M62 to The Brudenell in Leeds to try and catch Post War Glamour Girls, I had about an hour after Witch Hunt were scheduled to finish but the 40 minute late running of the gig killed that idea dead, so I decided to stay for the other co-headliner DeLooze, a band I’d never heard of before.

It’s rare that a band impresses me big time the first time I see them but DeLooze managed it, they were excellent playing a blinder of a set of goth influenced pop. I’ve no idea of the track listing on the night but I presume it was the entire track listing of the “Glass Army” CD which was released on 14 April. It made such an impression on me that when I got back home I pledged on the Glass Army CD which I’m expecting to drop through the letterbox any day now. I’ll definitely be going to see them again.

Another excellent gig which was well worth the 250 mile round trip to see.



nxb3 on tour – Penetration at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

After what must be a serious contender for gig of the year by Goy Boy McIlroy at Frankie and the Heartstrings record shop Pop Recs Ltd there was no time to hang around, the gig had gone on way longer than I had anticipated so it was a dash back to the car and a fast drive down to Stockton to The Georgian Theatre. I had really wanted to see the first support band, Newcastle Indie poppers Rexine who had impressed me the first time I saw them supporting Shonen Knife at The Cluny a year or so ago but their set had finished way before I arrived in Stockton. Main support Cyanide Pills were already half way through their set when I walked through the door of the venue so after grabbing a drink at the bar I made my way to the front to watch the last third of their set. They were pretty good and I’ll try and catch them next time they are up Newcastle way but over the last week with gigs 6 out of 7 nights, two gigs on both Friday and Saturday nights and at least a half dozen other gigs I wanted to be at this last weekend sometimes it’s not so easy to see a band that you like.

This would be the second and last gig from the Penetration tour, I’d also seen them play a very good gig the previous night in Derby at the excellent venue The Hairy Dog so I was expecting another good one. The band came on stage a little after 10:00, they had been waiting for Pauline who came into the venue just a couple of minutes before hand. They started the set with ‘Future Daze’ and ‘Life’s A Gamble’ to lots of cheering and clapping, there were also people singing along for entire songs but sadly no mosh pit. Pauline greeted the audience with “Well hello everyone, thanks for coming out tonight” then went on to thank both support bands before continuing with ‘Lovers Of Outrage’. Pauline asked who had been at the Georgian Theatre for their last gig there and a few people cheered, she went on to say it was loud, very loud, eyeball shaking and ear hurting loud and a mate later told me that he had been and the sound was so bad that he had walked out. I’m pleased to say there were no such problems this time, the sound was excellent, nicely balanced and clear vocals where I was standing which was at the front, just to the right of Pauline.
“I hope nobody gets seasick” was the introduction to the first of two fairly recent songs ‘Sea Song’ and ‘The Feeling’ then it was back to the old stuff with ‘She Is The Slave’. “Fancy doing this stuff at our age eh?” got a few chuckles from the audience before Rob played the bass intro to ‘Movement’ as a teaser and then for real. The excellent Patti Smith cover ‘Freemoney’ was next which ran into ‘Silent Community’ and ‘Don’t Dictate’ which finally got the mosh pit moving. ‘Reunion’ was introduced as “A song about reflection”, band introductions were made as Reunion faded out and a blistering version of ‘Nostalgia’ followed. The main set finished with ‘Come Into The Open’ and the regular closing track ‘Shout Above The Noise’
The band left the stage to loads of clapping and cheering for more and the band duly obliged with the same encore as at Derby, ‘Firing Squad’, ‘Danger Signs’ and finally ‘Stone Heroes’.

Another excellent gig from the band and I’m disappointed I won’t make any more of their gigs from this tour as they are really good at the moment.
If you get the chance then don’t hesitate, just go.
It will be a good one.

Upcoming shows are:
10th April Institute, Birmingham
11th April Garage, London
12th April Academy 3, Manchester
18th April The Fleece, Bristol
19th April The Globe, Cardiff
26th April ABC, Glasgow
4th May Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne
15th May Voodoo, Belfast
16th May Fibber Magees, Dublin
9th August Rebellion, Blackpool (TBC)
20th September Undercover Festival, Woking