Venue: Think Tank, Newcastle
Date: 9th December 2017
As always the best of intentions will be supremely dismantled by the tiniest amount of temptation. I have survived a heavy week, one which can be summed up by the excuse ‘but it’s nearly Christmas’, as if ‘it’s Thursday’ wouldn’t have been enough. It was in the middle of this madness, starving hungry and battling back the ever creeping tide of hangover, that I found myself back in Think Tank for overpriced beer and heavy rock.
I am a fan of Think Tank, as long as you get the drinks in before hand it is a great venue. However it was for the second time that day that I was having problems getting in and I was starting to lose all self confidence about the situation. The first issue had come earlier in the day when I was off to interview Stand Atlantic and strode happily past the assembled youth who had decided to wait outside in the freezing cold more than two hours early in order to make sure that they didn’t miss a second of the gig. Given that Stand Atlantic were the first of three bands and had come all of the way from Australia it was impressive to see that there were people desperate to get in early. There have been too many gigs where the opening acts are ignored (I have been guilty of this) and people only turn up for the headliners or acts that they know. I was about to have my preconceptions shattered on this one. Anyway as I walked past the surprisingly orderly queue I went to open the door to the venue and found it (in hindsight not surprisingly) locked. A quick call told me that I should go to the back entrance for the interview but by then I just looked like a dickhead so was happy to move on out of sight.
The second time there was simply an issue with my access, but still it meant standing with the door guy for a while as people filed past without issue. I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to be my night.
Given that I arrived at the time I was told doors were opening I was surprised to find the room already packed with the throbbing confused masses of assembled youth. I perched myself on a raised area next to the sound booth and watched the crowd as we waited for the band. During my interview earlier that day Bonnie (singer) had mentioned that she had been surprised by the number of people singing along to their tracks, she wasn’t wrong. Stand Atlantic might have been the first act of three on stage but you would have been forgiven for thinking that they were the headliner.
I had already congratulated them on their EP ‘Sidewinder‘, I am a big fan and recommend it to anyone. But they more than did justice to their debut release with their live performance. This is a tight band that knows what they are doing, from their stage management to their vocal delivery. Given the energy that the guitar player was putting into almost continuous spinning I was concerned for both him and the other members of the band. The bass player was almost comically aware of the low ceiling as he bounced up and down as he played, intermittently looking out at the crowd and up at the roof.
Bonnie’s vocals are stunning. There isn’t as much fun as you would think in writing a really positive review, there is not much room to be creative but I was genuinely blown away by the performance. As I said before I was already a fan of the EP but given the popularity of the band in that room, well deserved from their performance, I get the feeling that we will be seeing and hearing a lot more of Stand Atlantic in the years to come.
If the ability to have a mosh pit spontaneously start, and maintain itself throughout your time on stage isn’t enough to have them invited onto the festival circuit in the summer, then the almost perfectly timed dumping of a crowd surfer onto the stage as the final note of the set was played, certainly was. The band looked completely unphased by any of this, but I was very impressed; there isn’t a great deal of room in Think Tank at the best of times but when it comes to throwing yourself around with careless abandon, this is not in anyway the correct venue.
Stand Atlantic have a few more dates in the UK after this one, before returning to Australia and picking up the tour once again in the new year. I have let them know that the weather does get warmer here, and that the summer has been known to be practically mild, in the hopes that I can lure them back to these shores. It is only a matter of time before they come back, but most likely they will be in much bigger rooms and filling those up as well.