Take This To Heart Records have released their 2023 Fall Sampler that includes tracks by Pony, Orson Wilds, Snarls, Magazine…
Grade 2 Live At The Cluny, Newcastle.
The Cluny Newcastle - Sunday 5th November 2023
Whats the best thing you can do on bonfire night, other than go watch money burn and go bang or sparkle?, go to a Grade 2 gig obviously, it’s a place you know your money is well spent and the fireworks are gonna be so much more rewarding.
So given that choice, I headed on up to Newcastle and to The Cluny to be precise, which is one of many great venues that this eclectic city now has to offer, set in what can only be described as one of the older parts of town and directly beneath a railway viaduct, its a world away from the renowned Big Market or the Quayside, but just as lively in a better way. The night looks like it going to not be the busiest iv’e seen in this venue, but still enough people have given it their presence to make it as good as it deserves to be. Three bands for around £15 is a bargain any day of the week, but on Sunday, for some reason it feels like you have gotten one over one the religious types (just a personal thing).
Its a little later than expected, but first up, and to a filling up venue, Boilermaker who are no strangers to myself, being that they play all my local venue in and around Teesside, take to the intimate stage and kick off with the ‘Boys in Blue’ from their 2022 album Job and Knock, is all guns blazing form here on in, the Streetpunk that this band pride themselves in is pretty much second to none in the North East and the audience definitely agree, pulling out the big guns with songs like ‘County Lines’ and ‘When All’s Said And Done’ the angst in the vocal and power of the of the music just sets us all up for a great night.
After a quick refresher and a look around the room to see that its constantly growing in number, its obvious that not all have made it for all the bands, but maybe they did spend their hard earned money on keeping the kids amused before they came to enjoy themselves.
Slobheads hit the stage running or is that gunning?, a band I and many of my friends here tonight had not seen or heard of before now, so were we prepared, no is the answer, an onslaught of vocal and guitar frenzy backed up by a big hitter on the skins was what we got, first song ‘Andy’s Got A Gun’ which I think (if I got it wrong, tough shit I wrote it already) is about their manager who is also up on stage with them (I think) and might have been compared to Andy from Sleaford Mods, except he actually did sing, shout or something to this effect, and actually with great timing I might say, the set went on pretty much like this throughout, with songs named ‘Rotten Habit’, ‘Muggins’ which kinda was a highlight and ‘Piss Head Ed’, you got the impression that they didn’t take themselves that seriously and who cares, they were great, the whole rhythm of this band was just wonderful and the audience fucking well loved it, so here’s to the next time I’d say.
No we are much fuller in the musical sense, drink sense, and audience sense, the main event can get underway, Grade 2 the three piece from that strange little island off the south coast of England that has a festival every year, yep you got it The Isle Of Wight have hit the stage, having been together now for 10 years and if my memory serves me correctly, realised their first album about 6/7 years ago, and going by what people have told me, because yes I did have to admit to their march guy earlier on, that this was my first time catching them live in all that time, but hey if your gonna wait that long, why not make it to their best ever tour to date right. ‘Pubwatch’ from their second album is the opener, a damn do this band give you the Jam feeling, an energy and stage presence that would make Weller well up with memories, this is much more than mod/punk though, its got a kind of ska without being full on ska, the bass melodies that pour out of a song like ‘Graveyard’ combined with the band constant switching around the stage have you moving without even realising it, then crowd get the hang of it and the mini mosh pits start.
If you’ve never been to a Grade 2 show like myself, then have we been missing out big time, this is a three piece that has every single member giving it their all with every single note, word and beat, the energy is something that yes comes with youth, but also feeds into the crowd, the songs keep on coming like bullets from a machine gun, ‘Brassic’ a personal favourite just oozes angst and genuine feelings, the they hit another personal favourite a the Misfits ‘Where Eagles Dare’, and then what about the song about being young and growing up on an island ‘Midnight Ferry Home’, this is when being at the front and capturing some of the moments to keep with my camera becomes a little dangerous, little nudges in the back become full on shoves, and damn right they should! This is what we come to gigs for, not to stand and say, but to mosh and enjoy, Grade 2 make this a must rather than a maybe.
Joined on stage for the penultimate song by one of I believe the younger members of the crowd was something that seemed fitting and also right, after all this is band the pride themselves in being there because of, not only who they are, but because of who supports them. Finishing with an absolute killer track that speaks of finding family in the people that support you ‘Under The Street Lights’ is just sublime ending to a firecracker of a night night, this might have been the first time I’d seen them play live, but now I know why they have the reputation as the best live band around at the moment, fully deserved.
Thanks to Division Promotions for all their work on this too.