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



nxb3 on tour – Goy Boy McIlroy at Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland

The first of two gigs tonight was this absolute cracker in Frankie & The Heartstrings record shop in Fawcett Street, Sunderland. Not a massive turnout in the shop when the band took to the stage at about 8pm after the set by support “Simpsons Abattoir band” fronted by Frog from the now defunct Kubichek; but the people that were there got a real visual and audio treat from a band that deserve to be much much bigger in their native north east.

They took to the stage and David introduced the band with “Hello we’re Goy Boy McIlroy, in a small intimate setting you might think the pressure is on us to perform well but the pressure is really on you to enjoy yourselves, so just relax, we’ll take all the pressure off, We’ll play the music and you can just enjoy it. That’s it simple relationship and they immediately kicked off their set with the killer ‘Social Mobility Blues’ an excellent track they’ve only started playing recently. David was behaving himself until they started ‘Agoraphobia’ then he was off on one of his many wanders through the audience, climbing up on the sofas, wrapping himself up in a blanket then wandering back to the stage where he curled up into a ball under the blanket as the song played out. Another old one in the form of Psychological Plaything was followed by a new slower track that I don’t know the name of but which sounded really good. The upcoming new single ‘Redemption Caramel’ came next followed by ‘another new one ‘Midnight Crisis’ which saw David dash off towards the back of the shop with the mic in hand. Frankie was behind the crowd pulling slack in the lead but the junction box the lead was plugged into went flying across the floor and straight into someone’s foot and the mic lead went flying with the vocals coming to a dead stop. Frankie was straight on the case though tracing the lead back and putting it back in place. David meanwhile was in the road outside the shop chasing three passers by.
By the end of the track David was back at the stage, seriously out of breath but after a bit of banter to help him recover it was straight into a string of old tracks starting with ‘Ro-Langs’, ‘The Pilgrim’ and ‘Black Glove’ with David here there and everywhere, even hiding away in the bands back stage chill out room for a while during one of the songs. They had planned to do God’s Calling but in the end it was dropped from the set and they finished off the gig with ‘Writhing’ their previous single. David was at it again, rearranging the sofas behind the crowd then grabbing half a dozen people and pulling them one by one into the space between them. I was number 6 and he got his bottle of water and poured it into my mouth then did the same to the others, as the song picked up the pace he grabbed a few of the six and they all collapsed into a heap onto the sofa on the right hand side while singing the lyric “you’re going down” then he grabbed onto me and he pulled me over onto the other sofa while hanging onto my lower legs. The song faded out, everyone got back up and David thanked everyone for coming out and plugged their appearance at Stockton Calling on 19 April.
Are we officially friends David asked Dave Harper as he was sorting the leads out at the end of the gig. Dave shook his head but that didn’t put David off, we’ll just give it a couple of weeks then, and that was it. The end of an absolutely brilliant gig that really was the dogs bollocks. Best I’ve seen at pop Recs Ltd by a long way and if you don’t want to get caught up in David’s antics then don’t stand at the front in the middle of the stage. Me, I never learn I’ll be at the front next chance I get.


nxb3 on tour – Chapman Family at Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland

Pop Recs Ltd is the new record shop from Frankie and the Heartstrings which opened on 1st June at 50 Fawcett Street bang in the middle of Sunderland city centre. Ever since opening there has been a steady stream of bands playing evening shows in the shop, doors opening at 6pm and the bands playing at 7:30pm. The shop is quite big with racks of vinyl and CDs along the left wall and a stage at the far right corner with not a lot else so there is plenty of floor space to get the punters in to watch the bands. At the till there were also drinks being sold as well as a fairly brisk trade in The Chapman Family’s new single, This one’s for Love which was in a limited edition purple vinyl.

The band were ready to start about 7:20 and they kicked off with a long intro into ‘Summer Song’ followed by ‘Anxiety’ from their first CD which looked a little out of place as its more usual to see it as the set closer. A brand new song ‘We Stick Together’ was followed by ‘No More Tears’ and ‘This Is England’ A bit of chat before Adult then it was time to thank Frankie & The Heartstrings for having them to play in their brand new shiny shop and their new single ‘This Ones For Love’ A bit of taking the piss out of Kevin over his birthday then another new song ‘Side by Side’ followed by another track off their first CD ‘Sound Of The Radio’ and the set closer was a riotous version of ‘This English Life’ which was the highlight of the set for me.
The low point was the omission of Into the Breach which is one of the best songs I’ve heard in absolutely ages but it probably wasn’t appropriate as there were a few very young kids dancing at the front all through the gig. The version of This English Life more than made up for the omission though.
The row of 5 glitter balls along the front of the stage was a bit surreal, Goy Boy McIlroy would have had a field day with them.

Another really excellent Chapman Family gig with a good mix of old, recent and new songs scattered through the set. The record shop was impressive too, not a massive selection of stuff to browse through yet, but there was plenty of vinyl, a good selection of stuff from local bands as well as stuff that was left over from previous instores. The huge selection of bands that have played there in the month since it opened is very impressive and as long as the gigs continue there I’ll keep going back. After the gig finished it was over to Empire Spice for a tasty Chicken Madras. Great night!!