Male Bonding, The History Of Apple Pie, Young Liar, Cult Image, The Other Rooms, Newcastle, 30th September 2011

In what, for me, was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, the setting couldn’t have been better. It started out as one of the hottest days Newcastle had seen all summer and Male Bonding were coming to town. Arriving at the Other Rooms to find post rockers Young Liar finishing their sound check, the venue seemed empty and unprepared for the ensuing show. However, the venue soon started to fill up, drinks started flowing and music started playing.

First up are Cult Image, Newcastle’s finest post punk outfit. With clear late 80’s influences ranging from the dark styles of Joy Division to the more melody based songs of the Cure. Cult Image have well written, catchy songs which are driven by the lead singer vocal melodies, accompanied by jangly and uplifting guitar lines. These are held together by the tight sounds of the rhythm section, giving an overall aesthetic that the crowd clearly admire due to the amount of heads I see bouncing and feet tapping. However, their set did not full go as planned due to the bassist snapping a string. But this was quickly overcome and the band managed to finish their set without any further mishaps.

Next up, Young Liar. Speaking frankly, I think these are my favourite band in the north east and quite possibly my favourite ‘new’ band at the minute. Essentially a Newcastle supergroup formed from ex members of bands such as Kubichek and Ever Since The Lake Caught Fire. Young Liar are the sort of band that have to be seen live to be appreciated to their full extent. If you haven’t seen them before, trust me, they are LOUD!! The lack of vocals here only adds to the complexity and intensity of the instrumentation used. Playing a solid and tight set that Mogwai would envy, Young Liar have completely won over the whole crowds hearts and my own. The force and brutality of this band shocks me every time I see them. Ranging from delicate, repetitive guitar lines to all out noise, the musicianship here is something to respect. Alternating from the stand post rock dynamic of slowing building up guitar and bass lines to a wall of sound, Young Liar opt for the noisy and heavy end of the spectrum, emphasising on volume and all out fun. Definitely a band I regard highly and see good things coming for their future.

After I let my ears recover from the sound barrage

that they have just endured, The History of Apple Pie take to the stage. A new discovery for me, as I had not heard any of their material previously and was eager to hear them. I now wish that I had, as it may have given me a better understanding and appreciation of their performance. In all honestly, it didn’t really grab me and keep me interested. Yes, they were talented and wore the 90’s alternative moniker extremely well but I think there was something fundamental lacking in their performance. Maybe it’s just me though as I spoke to a few people who thoroughly enjoyed it and told me that it was “right up their street”.

Now to the finale, the headliners of the show, Male Bonding. Fresh from the in store gig at RPM records I had seen them play only hours earlier, the 4 members took to the stage ready to unleash their short and infectious punk songs on the city of Newcastle. Fast, sharp and infectious are just a few of the adjectives that can describe Male Bondings performance on this night. With my place firmly held at the very front of the room, I can see every note and every beat played with such passion and style. Male Bondings songs are short but effective, saying everything they need to in the shortest time possible. Somehow even louder than Young Liars set, I’m blown away by Male Bonding! Their set covers both their debut LP Nothing Hurts and new release Endless now. Personally, on record, Endless Now doesn’t have the same urgency as the aforementioned debut. One that I have repeatedly listened to but hasn’t had the same visceral effect as the lo fi debut. However, to my surprise, the energy and passion that I feel has been left out of the LP is present with this performance. Stand out song such as Bones and Tame the Sun sound so much more real than their recorded counterparts. With a set covering the majority of their recorded output, the crowd are left satisfied with the show they have just witnessed and also partly deafened. For me, Male Bonding show that its not necessary to use overly complex instrumentation to write songs. They keep things simple and straight to the point, which for me is one of the reasons they are so impressive live. If you get a chance, catch their live show…you won’t be disappointed.


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