Brilliant Mind

A Grand Day Out – Cottage Industries First Birthday Bash. The Cluny Nov 5th.


Eleven bands for a fiver and free pies in one of our favourite venues. Newcastle second top of the premiership, for a few glorious hours and more cider than you can shake a stick at. There are, worse ways of spending a Saturday afternoon.

Tyneside’s independent record label Cottage Industries, is one year old. Founded by two guys who woke up one day with the realisation that a lot of talented bands were being overlooked by the “record industry” and decided to set up a DIY record label to give them an official release. Commendable stuff!  Arguably the name most associated with the label is Sheilds’ Minotaurs whose debut album “Eat yr Hate” came out a month or so back,  Alas, no Minotaurs on the bill today. What we do have though, is a packed line up of (predominantly) local bands with a few guest surprises thrown in for good measure.

First up..and actually playing as we arrived were Our Imaginary Friends, a suitably downbeat haunting start to the proceedings with a bit of clarinet thrown in for good measure. Not un-pleasant at all actually, but obviously a bitch of a slot at 3.20 in the pm when the day is just finding its feet. You might expect a bit of hussle and bussle with eleven bands sharing the relatively small Cluny stage but not for the next act Fantasy Rainbow aka Oliver Catt. We like this. We like this a lot. One guy with a guitar, a loop pedal and lots of lo-fi twiddling and feedback. We were even persuaded to indulge in the merchandise stall for a cassette. Yes… you read that correctly, a cassette, with a hand drawn cover too. 
Lovely, lovely, tactile, snappy, hissy, plasticy cassettes. We loved cassettes. We taped John Peel on cassettes and made compilation tapes for our girlfriends (girlfriends that never fully appreciated The Three Johns.) Anyway… there’s also a free download with the cassette, just in case, you haven’t actually got a tape deck. One of these days a cassette recorder and a pile of C60’s are gonna turn up on the antiques roadshow and I’m gonna be dribbling and pointing my bony finger through my virtual 3D plasma screen while my great grandchildren roll their eyes, before whizzing off on their hover boards.
Next up Symphonic Pictures… now… as the flight cases came in, we noticed the DSC moniker sprayed on the sides of some. Yep, remember when Detroit Social Club announced that they were “heading off and doing their own thing for a little while, writing, creating, thinking, deciding etc.” Well Symphonic Pictures are one of those things. Bloody good as well! Obviously a bit of a buzz, surrounding them too. So presume these size gigs won’t last forever. A difficult set to follow for the next lot, Cinematic Submarine… I mean Symphonic Pictures could easily of headlined. We even noticed some people leave after their set. (Perhaps just off to get one of the legendary Cluny lamb burgers?) Bags of energy as the CS boys bounced round the stage, in punky abandon. Not a bad set too. Grabbed one of their 2 track CD’s afterwards (hand drawn cover again) and been listening to the very catchy Medieval Song. Old favourites Baskins Wish up next, noticed they’re actually off to Leeds on a, rare as hens teeth venture away from the safety of the North East and good luck to them too. They were great today, probably the best I’ve seen them. Actually looked like they really enjoyed themselves. I’ve said it before, but Bill Murray, is as good a pop song as I’ve ever heard.

Sneaked out to the main bar for a cheeky Cluny burger about now. (God they’re good!) Came back in, to find special guests, Oxfords own Spring Offensive on the stage. Now here’s a band to put a smile on yer face, and it’s not just the casual knitwear and spasticated dancing either. They’re a great live band, with an instantly likeable awkwardness. Upbeat with lots of tightly harmonized, soaring vocals. Desperately trying to engage with a bit of a standoff-ish audience, they jumped into the crowd for an a capela moment, (though there was… an acoustic guitar, so that’s not strictly a capella is it?) Well you know what I mean! The crowd gathered round and it went down a storm. When they returned to the stage, an enthusiastic crowd followed. Hearts and minds had been won. Cracking performance.

2 man band Johnny Phonic, followed. Not really my cup of tea, as a guy with a broken leg, sat in front of an iBook while his mate played guitar. Presume he was doing something unbelievably technical and not just playing pre-recorded samples while waiting for an eBay auction to end… which is what it looked like to me. Nah…that’s a bit unfair. It sounded quite good, just not particularly engaging. Just probably more suited to a late night dance club.

Martin Longstaff, aka The Lake Poets, up next. Always enjoyable. No laptops. Just a guitar and a canny pair of lungs. We like The Lake Poets here at TNL. Either stripped back to basics on his tod or filled out with a band. A true talent… get off yer arse and go see him. City by the sea, is worth the trip out alone. Then The Union Choir, always slightly chaotic, but always a great show too. Next, The Zephyrs …and then the utterly, utterly, brilliant, Brilliant Mind. Really enjoyed Brilliant Mind. There could have easily been several acts that wrapped up today’s party, but I think Brilliant Mind were the right choice for me.

Top day out, love to spend a day like that listening to bands, a mix of familiar sounds and new finds, which is what its all about. A great little showcase, actually for the talent in and around the region. Congratulations to Cottage Industries, definitely looking forward to the next 12 months. Here’s a few links, in no particular order, for you, to check out some of the bands mentioned, and maybe get yourself out to see them play.

Apologies for the shonky photos, it is the result of a new app for iPhone called Magners Cider, and i’m not sure the two are wholly compatible.


By Dave on November 9, 2011

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