nxb3 on tour – Rexine at The Head of Steam, Newcastle

I was going to write a review of this gig just after it happened but I ran out of time before going back to work in Africa so decided to wait for their next gig. This plan was shot down in flames on the 16th of May when Shona (guitar) announced on facebook that both Stacey (vocals) and Cathy (bass) had left the band due to separate individual circumstances so I decided to review their last gig I was at which turned out to be their very last gig with this lineup.

The band took to the stage just before 10pm launching straight into a storming version of their previous single ‘New Sparkle’. A brand new song called ‘Patterns’ was introduced by Stacey saying she might or might not remember the words, which was followed by an old song from 2010, ‘Long White Cloud’ although you wouldn’t know it was an old one as there were 2 false starts before finally getting the intro right and carrying on into the main body of the song. It was another old track next with set regular and opener ‘The Shell’ followed by another new to me song ‘A Foreign Country’ and a song that they rarely play ‘Snowblind’. Both sides of their latest single were next, ‘Trail of Sequins’ and another old set opener, ‘Paper Dolls’ followed by another new one ‘Crowd You Out’ and the last song was the regular set closer ‘Black Boots, White Lines’. A few people were shouting for Leipzig and I was also hoping they’d play it as an encore but it wasn’t to be and it was the end of another pretty good gig which the band clearly enjoyed. Stacey’s vocals were quiet for the first couple of songs, especially for the new Patterns but became clearer and more pronounced as she got into her stride and her confidence increased.

Rexine never really got past the stage of playing to a couple of dozen mates and the odd straggler but ever since seeing them for the first time supporting Shonen Knife at the Cluny I’ve been keeping an eye on their gig schedule and going to see them whenever it fitted into my plans. I got to see them 5 times in the end and was looking forward to seeing them again over the summer until the announcement of the band split. I wasn’t the only one to see potential in this band as they were recording at Polestar studios in Byker which is run by Pauline Murray, vocalist for local punk band Penetration. They even managed a couple of support slots to Penetration, supporting them at the Georgian Theatre in Stockton back in March and scheduled to support them again in Gateshead for their Rebellion warm up show which is probably going to be at The Three Tuns in very early August which they have had to pull out of because of the split.

Rexine were never a great band but I definitely had a soft spot for their particular brand of pop punk which had just enough of a hard edge to it to make it stand out from most of the other small bands in the north east. Stacey’s vocals were usually too low in the mix and she didn’t move around the stage much at all at any of their gigs I was at, apart from this one when she had a wander through the audience to a couple of her mates during Black Boots, White Lines. Despite this I liked them a lot and was really disappointed when I read the announcement of their split. Shona and Graeme asked for replacements for both Stacey and Cathy in the post announcing the split so hopefully Rexine will rise again and go on to bigger and better things now that Pauline Murray has taken them under her wing and is hopefully steering them in the right direction.