fables-new2-resize@ The Cluny, Newcastle, April 22 2009

Throw together two of Tyneside’s fastest-rising rock bands and one of the hottest prospects on the London scene, cram them into the The Cluny, add liberal helpings of chilled Guinness and what do you get? The perfect way to spend a balmy Wednesday night in Newcastle.

Or at least that should be the answer. But for some reason what might have been one of the live music events of the year – watched by expectant fans, critical media and label bosses alike – never quite reached the anticipated crescendo of creativity. It was good but never great, enjoyable but hardly heart-stopping. Perhaps those of us present were simply expecting too much.

Remedy did their level best to set the competitive tone with a typically high octane set in front of a handful of brooding early birds. Singer Jenn sounded so much better than when rushonrock last caught her live and, boosted by a slew of positive reviews for the Strange Fast Now EP in the national rock press, it seems there is a new-found confidence coursing through the veins of this incredibly talented frontwoman. New tune Am I Designed was the pick of a pretty punchy bunch with a Hendrix-inspired guitar solo to die for.

And so to Fables. Fresh from rocking out to around 3,000 fans at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena last week the lads were back to what they traditionally do best – whipping up sweaty club crowds into an adrenaline fuelled frenzy. Japanese Rain did just that and it’s difficult to name a better Fables tune. Bite The Hook might be it but on this occasion neither Roachie nor Twiggy took their trademark anthem by the scruff of its neck and an opportunity was clearly missed. Not that the best band on the night missed many more.

Headliners Cape Fear continue to suffer from a lack of familiarity outside the Big Smoke but a trip up north proves the fourpiece are trying to rectify that situation asap. Refusing to adhere to the conventions of classic rock – there’s no big hair, big choruses or big egos here – they tread an intensely powerful and individual path.

With their debut album due for an imminent release and the focus firmly on securing a high profile support slot on a major UK tour, these are heady times for the Capers. Where they fit into the rock scene is still a mystery. But it’s one we’re looking forward to solving very soon.