Thursday 23rd February
This was to be the first non-charity gig for Lone Wolf Promotions and judging by the lineup, and the early arrival of a large gathering in Independent's Little Room, promised to be a cracking night.
The first band to take the stage was Spray On Jeans. I had seen these guys twice before, one of those times being (rather unexpectedly) an acoustic set. But not so tonight - this, their first gig with their new frontman, was a truly electric affair. Right from the off, they grabbed my attention - totally different from the (mainly) Arctic Monkeys cover band I had previously witnessed. There was a really good crowd and it was evident that many were followers of this band, singing along throughout - obviously familiar with the songs. The new singer was a breath of fresh air, brushing away his first night nerves with amusing banter between songs.
Next up was the hotly-tipped Spoken Words. When I first saw them supporting Frankie & The Heartstrings, I'd been totally blown away by their sound and look. This four piece post punk/new wave inspired Wearside band had brought everything good from the early 80's bang up to date. The guitarist so reminded me of the 'Sunderland Trendies' (which is a good thing!) who used to frequent Genevieves when I was a teenager, back in the day.
They have a really unique electro-synth sound that isn't reminiscent of any current bands, and it is so refreshing to see something different. During 'Come Alive Inside', I was reminded of Psychedelic Furs, and was really pleased when they announced free CDs, featuring this song and 'Hullabaloo Dream', were available for anyone to take. I was definitely having one of those, thank you very much! These guys have also been voted ones to watch out for in 2012, by NME, so check them out.
The headline act of the night, We Beat the System, are a band I never tire of seeing. Playing to a packed-to-the-rafters venue and, visibly buzzing to the capacity crowd, they opened their set with my favourite song of theirs, the anthemic 'Only If'. I have seen this band play several times over the last year, and I can really see them growing and developing each time. I have always been a fan, but these guys have just got the whole package. They are so in-sync as musicians and Daniel Mason's powerful, soaring vocals are faultless. They went on to play an outstanding set featuring some familiar favourites such as Karma Culprits and some new songs - the fruit of recent recording sessions with Frankie & the Heartstrings' maestro, Mick Ross. I just can't wait for them to release an EP or album. This band are set for big things.
All in all it was an incredible night. If you missed it, you definitely missed a treat. But don't worry, Lone Wolf have a host of exciting gigs lined up, showcasing some of the North East's best musical talent, so be sure to check out the website: http://lonewolfpromo.blogspot.com/