The White Negroes: Revival @ The Medicine Bar, Middlesbrough 5/11/10


“Pumped up full of vitamins, on account of all the seriousness. You say you’re so happy now, but you can hardly stand. Lean over on the book case. And if you really want to get straight. Read Norman Mailer. Or get a new tailor”. (Are you ready to be heart broken? Lloyd Cole & the Commotions 1984)

Ridley Scott, Wayne Sleep, Peter Mandleson, Jeff Stelling, H’Angus the Monkey, Michael Smith, The Woven Project, Andy Capp, The Tall Ships, John Darwin…………. you can add The White Negroes to that list. Hartlepool is fast becoming a cultural capital. Who’d have thought eh?

Anyway, last night I ventured out at the unholy hour of 11pm to see Poolies finest sons. They were playing at the Revival night hosted by those fabulous people at Ten Feet Tall. (Who have supplied the pictures for this feature, many thanks). Revival is a night in homage to those wonderful Cactus nights at The Arena. I’m sure a number of you remember those great nights in the mid 90s, don’t you? They have moved from the Arena to The Medicine Bar (formerly The Purple Onion) run by John Robinson.

So as I arrive at an almost empty venue I fear for the band and the night itself. I should have had no such worries. By the time the band venture on stage. Nearly 12 O’clock and well past my bed time, the place is bouncing. The indie tunes spun by the DJ have got the crowd in the mood for the boys. Taking their name from an essay by the great Norman Mailer and looking like the Happy Mondays roadies they bounce out and immediately do what they do best; play songs that sound like covers but aren’t. Infectious hooks and wry lyrics which tell tales of their home town; violence, being on the dole and taking drugs. “A knife, a tool, a bottle or a stool. Thats the way you spell Hartlepool”. Charming lyrics from “Don’t fear the Reefer”. But actually its a great tune and the crowd chant out the chorus. Proud of the fact that these boys can mock their home town whilst still instilling people with some pride in the fact that  thats where they’re from. Last time I saw the boys I compared Ian (Lead singer) with Shaun Ryder, Ian Brown, Bez and “famously” Your drunk uncle at an Indie disco!! Well, all those still hold true but you can add early Mick Jagger, Robert Plant and a touch of the Roger Daltrys. In fact they mix all the components of classical rock bands of the past 50 years from The Stone Roses to The Who and back to Oasis. Yes, it’s not too original at times buts its a great night out. “Wired”, “Game over” and numerous more classics are given a rousing outing. And the fact they’re all the wrong side of 40 means they’re not precious poster boys looking to make the cover of the NME. Thank goodness. As it would be a pretty poor bedroom that had these boys blu-tak’d to the walls!! But thats not the point. Primal Scream also spring to mind. In fact Bobby Gillespie springs to mind a few times as Ian bashes his tambourine to bits. All too soon though they are gone. The crowd are left sweaty, drunk and shouting for more. Just what the boys want. I look forward to the next time……….

Thanks to Ian and the boys for their hospitality on the night, Nigel for great taste in footie teams, John Robinson and Sedgy at The Medicine Bar and Phil at Ten Feet Tall for the use of their photos. Thank-you all.





By peter on November 17, 2010

Check out all the pics

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