On a balmy Friday evening in Newcastle, Plugged-In staged 16 acts across five venues in the city. Unfortunately, there were also 40th birthday parties, festivals and, frankly, the option to stay in and watch the Raoul Moat/ Gazza action unfold. What to do?
For me and about 40 others, the buzz surrounding the Glitterati made the choice easy. I had never seen them live and, as they were playing a charity gig as part of Plugged-In, we headed down to see just what they were made of.
The Northumberland Arms is an unlikely choice for live music. The “stage” was created at the back of the pub where a few tables had been cleared away. It made for awkward viewing for anyone wanting to see the bands and although this does make for a very intimate gig, it was never going to be one of those shows that made the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. The layout just doesn’t work.
First up were We Are Knuckledragger, who gave it their all despite the heat that was building in the underground pub. Much heavier than anyone could have expected for a band opening for the Glitterati they did, nevertheless. provide welcome musical diversity on the night.
Next up were Remedy, and singer Jenn warmed up on stage with vocals that were typically strong and sultry. Her voice echoes what Ofra Haza would sound like if she had taken to singing Blondie tracks. When Remedy started their set they mixed funk and grunge seamlessly and effectively – again the band pushed themselves in what was now overwhelming heat.
Finally the band we’d all come to see – the Glitterati. They took the stage – well, walked to the end of the pub – and the crowd swarmed forward. Their set was full of everything you’d expect – a bit of glam, a touch of sleaze and lots of attitude.
But if you’re new to the band the songs do morph into one. While they were a great listen they weren’t quite as together live as a band of their calibre should be. And when you don’t come away humming at least one new tune then questions must be asked.
Losing a fair proportion of the audience before the end of their set didn’t help but the heat and the view were restrictive. Even in the face of those obstacles The Glitterati put on a credible performance. But the band of the night were Remedy.