World Atlas, Brilliant Mind And Cattle And Cane At The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle On Thursday 29th July 2010



Thursday 29th July 2010 

Should I start this review with a rhetorical question as is now tradition on the Northern Line? Well, yes, I will. How bad does my head hurt right now? And why? Because having experienced the musical genius of Cattle and Cane one slightly overindulged in the excitement of the experience!

 The Kids Are Solid Gold came up trumps once again with this superb gig held in one of Newcastle’s hidden gems, the Cumberland Arms.  It is a quirky venue, ideal to showcase the talent that was on offer. It sort of reminded me of a pub that you would expect to see in some remote Irish village. We entered, via the lounge, to a group of 20 or so jamming with their range of banjos and acoustic guitars. The bar was full of people reading the evening paper or grabbing some tea. And upstairs where the bands would play was not much bigger than a good sized living room. What would the main act of the night World Atlas think of this place as it must have been so alien to the New Yorkers? Anyway onto the gig.


First of all I was in a state of excitement to be seeing Cattle and Cane. Not just because they are the best thing out of Teesside since the Parmo, but because I had taught a few of the band and was genuinely thrilled that they were making waves on the live circuit. A family affair it certainly is from the four Hammill’s (Helen 16, Joe 19, Francis 29 and James 31) with the excellent Paul Wilson on drums and the maverick Liam Finn on violin making up the rest of the band. I managed to grab a chat with most of them before they went on stage and they are genuinely excited with the buzz they are making, especially with their recent appearance at T in The Park.  They were due to play the Stockton festival too, but due to my holiday I’d miss them. Their performance last night was stunning. They seem nerveless in their approach, with Joe being a natural front man, backed up with the beautiful voice of Helen, which makes hairs on the back of your neck stand up. They played 7 tracks, all top tunes such as “This where we go from”, but finished with their 2 strongest “Poacher” and “Sold My Soul” As with any great band they left you wanting more. Anyone watching them for the first time must have been mightily impressed. Joe is a brilliant front man; his voice is distinctive and perfect for the band’s sound. Francis on bass, along with ‘guest’ member James on electric played excellently on guitars. (Frankie is one of the most competitive pupils I’ve taught in 18 years so it’s strange to see him being so relaxed. In fact only his brother Vinny could claim to be more competitive!! And James was in my first form class which bought me Definitely Maybe in 1994 for Christmas!!). Paul does a fantastic job on drums and Liam on violin emphasises the band’s folkie/indie vibe.  I hope the string quartet went down well at the SIRF.



Brilliant Mind were up next. My first impressions were ‘How young are they?’ They had an excellent sound that was a mix of Smiths/Maximo Park. Lead singer James Martin seemed very nervous in between songs but grew in stature as their performance developed. They had some top tunes and in “Leave Your Friends Behind” and “March” some real belters. New single “Our Osprey” is another that was popular. They are well worth another look and had a good local backing in the crowd. It was a set that developed into a great finale “Blyth”. Check them out on MySpace and they’ve got a few local gigs coming up. Good to see another North East band doing so well.

As for the main band of the night World Atlas. First thing to note was that the draw of the 2 local bands were much greater than the Brooklyn band.  It was a shame to see a good 50% of the crowd leave after Brilliant Mind, which must have been slightly deflating. In the build up to the gig Andy Carr of The Kids are Solid Gold had described the band as similar to Belle and Sebastian! Quite how similar to the Scottish crooners was not established at the time, but it almost felt like we were at a B&S tribute band gig. They quote their influences as Donovan, The Smiths and Velvet Underground, but miss out B&S probably so as not to draw a law suit. And yes I love Belle and Sebastian so why did I not quite like World Atlas? Probably as I had Pete Martin in my ear heckling, but perhaps the 2 previous performances were just more impressive. The mellow set of songs never really grabbed your attention and whilst you would tap along and nod appreciatively I never fully embraced the songs such as ‘Winter Stories’ and ‘Girl on a Boys Bike’.  Lead singer Brian Goux and Jessica Healy on vocals had a decent sound and may grab a few fans on their visit to Europe. Good luck to them on the rest of their UK tour and I will definitely give them another try soon to see if they can prove me wrong.



 Well done to Andy and Phil for another superb gig. As I finalise this review I am now delayed at Manchester Airport. Despair in the Departure Lounge?

A big thank-you to Simon Carey for the review and the photos from the gig. Andy and Phil at The Kids are Solid Gold for continuing to entertain and surprise us with the superb talent they keep unearthing. Also thanks to The Cumberland Arms. A superb pub and venue that The Northern Line will be returning to in the near future. Of that I am sure. Links to all bands/venues below;




The Cumberland Arms

Cattle & Cane

Brilliant Mind

World Atlas

The Kids are Solid Gold

By peter on August 2, 2010

Check out all the pics

3 Comments » RSS Comment Feed

  1. excellent review,

    Comment by phil carey — August 2, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

  2. NME lookout!

    Comment by Carl Percival — August 3, 2010 @ 9:31 am

  3. top review rabbit. hopefully i will here a bit about these folks down under. also love the cumberland arms and the clooney which is just down the hill as its also a good venue for music

    Comment by Kevan — August 3, 2010 @ 10:17 am

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