Tag Archives: O2 Academy

Influences of a Velvet Undergound

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ released by US rock group, The Velvet Underground, in the summer of 1967.

Stepping forward, led by Lindisfarne’s keyboard player, Steve Daggett (lead vocals, guitar, piano and drums) alongside partner Ema Lea Daggett (Lead vocals, drums, organ and guitar), ‘The Velvets’ are marking the occasion with a five-date tour, beginning in Newcastle on September 9 at the city centre’s O2 Academy.

Daggett, who has been with the north’s famed, folk rockers, Lindisfarne, since the mid-eighties, helped form The Velvets late last year with gigs in Newcastle (The Cluny) and Liverpool (The Arts Club).

Ten months on and the five-piece are ready to test the waters with an anniversary tour celebrating the release of that iconic album, which will see The Daggetts accompanied by Bad Bob Bates (guitars), Willie Angus (bass) and guest musician Chris Maynard (viola), follow up their Newcastle opener with dates in Bristol, London Islington, Wigan and Glasgow.

 

“The idea that we are a ‘tribute’ act is a little misinformed and presumptuous,” stated Steve with the band being labelled in some quarters of social media as sacrilege, blasphemous and uncool since they started last October.

“There are no wigs, plastic surgery or mannerism cloning going on around here.

“We see it more as a celebration of music that doesn’t get the airing it should, considering the impact and influence the original outfit had on popular music.

“At the Liverpool Academy show, which co-incidentally was the day after John Cales’ Liverpool performance, a large number of the audience went to both gigs.

“There were no doubts at the end of the evening and nothing but great feedback from the crowd. Some fans saying they enjoyed our gig just as much.”

Originally managed and produced by the influential artist Andy Warhol, the experimental rock band rose up in New York in 1965 and consisted of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker and Hungarian model and vocalist, Nico.

Although The Velvet Underground and their four albums garnered little success during the initial run, they’ve since been recognised as having had an influential presence on numerous musical genres. The groups’ songwriter Lou Reed achieved international rock star status with his solo work.

“I was looking for a project to run alongside my acoustic solo work and my live performances with the band Lindisfarne” explained Daggett of his decision to take the ball and run with The Velvets.

“The Velvet Underground & Nico debut album was released in 1967 and was a huge influence on my early teenage years and I thought it would be a challenge to recreate their great songs on stage.

“I’d only ever performed one or two of their tracks live before and so I set about getting deeper into the catalogue.

“The band was put together with other established musicians who were also big fans of the group.

“As rehearsals commenced we soon found ourselves in a predicament of which tracks to perform and which to omit, as a consequence we’ve ended up leaving very little out and having a two-hour show.”

With that musical marathon set to be unleashed The Velvets will cover tracks from the original album in the first half of their show followed by a selection of tracks from the bands’ subsequent catalogue of ‘White Light, White Heat,’ ‘Velvet Underground’ and ‘Loaded’.

Beginning on September 9 at Newcastle’s O2 Academy, The Velvets will then head to Bristol’s O2 on September 15 (POSTPONED), London Islington’s O2 on September 30 before trips to Wigan Old Courts Theatre on October 6 and Glasgow’s O2 on November 11; Daggett adding: “Initially we envisaged just playing small intimate clubs with a kind of 100 capacity, however it has grown into something a little bigger.”

Tickets for The Velvets – UK Tour 2017 can be purchased from individual venues, or via the websites www.ticketweb.co.uk and www.thevelvetslive.co.uk/

 

Look Hughes Living the Dream Stateside

A few weeks back Newcastle’s now famous session drummer, Kyle Hughes, headed Stateside for the second time this year.

At the turn of the year, along with Micky McCrystal (Tygers of Pan Tan Tang) Hughes attended the NAMM Show in California as the pair began to live the dream.

In Kyle, his began a few before when, as drummer for Twister, they supported Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal at the O2 Academy, Newcastle in 2015 then again at Trillians the following year.

From that day forth he has continued to push himself more than most teens of his tender age would dare dream.

November last year, and with Ron on a UK mini-tour, Kyle would join up with the Art of Anarchy star, along with some old friends – McCrystal, Ed Bell, and Coyote, to push out a couple of cheeky dates.

Kyle would continue working apace with Aurora Dawn and the Screamin’ Skulls which would see him perform at this years Glastonbury. A moment to cherish for the youngster who said: “Playing at Glastonbury is a pretty amazing thing.

“I’m honoured to have played at such an iconic festival at such a young age, and it’s my first time there but I’m just doing what I do best and that’s making music.”

(Above, Hughes and the legendary Jeff Scott Soto)

America though is just, different, and having been to NAMM, Hughes was invited back, to both LA and, once he’d heard of the impending brother of the little drummer boy, Bumblefoot wasted no time in adding him to his NYC/NJ gigs.

The legendary guitarist said of Hughes’ visiting: “KYLE-MANIA coming to the US shores!!

“America finally gets to enjoy what the UK has already witnessed

“I’ll be doing my Bumblefoot shows around NYC in August – wouldn’t want to do them with anyone else on drums.

“Kyle Hughes is a name the music world will be hearing more and more.

(Above – Hughes left, Bumblefoot centre, McCrystal right; Below – Hughes left, Bumblefoot centre, Peter Mann right both in November 2016)

“We met in Newcastle in 2015, his band took on the task of being my band as well, they were a great bunch and put on a great show, and nailed the music!

“Kyle and I have stayed in touch, and I’ve been happy to see continuing  opportunities coming his way, gear endorsements and gigs and recordings…  really, the guy can play anything, and groove with the best of ’em…!  And always with a smile…!

“We played an acoustic show earlier last year, and in November when we did a run of UK shows; and I’m sure there’ll be more to come.

“I just hope he’ll still have time for me when he’s on the cover of every drum mag and every band is knockin’ down his door.”

(Above, Hughes left at Epitaph Records)

Not much can contain the excitement of Hughes, who can already count on endorsements from Regal Tip and Natal moving forward and, with his name very much in the public eye, Bumblefoot’s awareness is with well-tuned nous for the industry.

“I was going out there (to America) anyway,” explained Kyle.

“It’s my first time not only being there but also to be able to perform and experience different types of audiences, as Bumblefoot’s drummer, In New York and New Jersey, is insane.

“Although there are potentially more shows to announce we’ll be doing these shows to promote Ron’s solo music.

“It’s certainly some five week trip!”

Anybody in the New York or New Jersey areas can see Bumblefoot, Kyle and company perform at Iridium (New York) on August 23, and at Mexicali Live (New Jersey) on August 25.

Any media requests for Kyle Hughes should be directed to his PR Management via petermann78@hotmail.com

Glastonbury-bound for Tyneside drummer

Local session drummer, Kyle Hughes, 19, is Glastonbury-bound this summer when he joins up with Aurora Dawn & The Screamin’ Skulls.

The young drummer, who late last year performed on a mini-tour with former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and Tygers of Pan Tang hot shot, Micky McCrystal, is readying himself for what could be a massive few months ahead.

With two dates on The Spike Stage (22 and 24 June) Kyle, who has been with the Skulls for nearly two years, will warm-up for the big one with a gig at London’s Off The Cuff (OTC) Bar on Herne Hill just for good measure (support from Carpet Face and Rachel Darcy).

In an exclusive, and rare interview, Kyle, who has also recently been endorsed by Natal, said: “This really is all pretty amazing right now and I’m honoured to be playing at Glastonbury, more so at my age.

“It’s rather surreal so I’m just looking forward to it more than anything as I’m going to be playing at what is such a prestigious event.; I think I’ll just go and do what I do best and that’s make some noise.”

Kyle first across Ms. Dawn back in early-2015 when his previous band, Twister, were supporting Bumblefoot at Newcastle’s O2 Academy, Aurora being there as a special guest performer of the Art of Anarchy star. The drummer however, well it was the beginning of a rollercoaster ride that, right now, has no end in sight.

“When I first met Aurora I was sat in the hotel lobby in Newcastle waiting for Ron,” explained Kyle.

“Aurora approached me and asked if I’d be interested in working together on a few projects and the next thing you know I’m rehearsing with the Skulls. You could well say that that gig with Ron was my audition.

“Now it’s Glastonbury here we come, first stop the OTC, and I’m buzzing as it’s my first experience of it, in any capacity.

“As for Aurora, she’s amazing, a real talent in her own right and it’s great seeing the support she gets; for me she’s pretty much the real deal and that’s why people turn up and pay to see her.”

Kyle Hughes will be performing with Aurora Dawn & The Screamin’ Skulls at the OTC Bar in London on June 20, then they will rock up to Glastonbury for two dates, June 22 and 24, on The Spike Stage.

Welcome To The State Of Mind

(Images with permission of Keith Fusco Photography)

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

Rockers Twister went above and beyond at the O2 Academy on Sunday night when releasing their ‘Combined State of Mind’ album collection.

The lads, who had three supersized screens on stage, fireworks, plenty of tickertape and strobe lighting in effect certainly played to their adoring fans, Team Twister turning out en-mass – even the four support acts played a massive part.

Sam Gibson put on as an exhilarating opening as you could want; OffPeak performed magnificently; capital rockers, Judas, were as powerful as they were passionate; as for A New Nowhere, as chief support, they justified that role when setting up Twister as only a band can do, in style.

That main event though!

A combination of nearly a year’s work as Stevie Stoker, ever the perfectionist frontman, Matt, Jake, Joe, and additional members Paul and Michael, putting together two EP’s into one super album with Designed and Refined State of Mind’s completing the collection.

It’s hard to say which of the twenty plus tracks from their current, and back catalogue of music, received the better reception as the band reeled off some ninety minutes of pure, Twister, rock gold.

Even the new tracks, a few even unheard in a live setting until the night itself, were met with vigour and dance as the bar was well and truly risen.

As for what’s next from the lads, you’ll have to wait and see but for Twister, on Sunday night, and that incredible support they possess, they did it – O2 Academy main stage, done, and in some style that’s for sure.

Twister Ready For Major Headline On Tyneside

Rockers Twister are to headline the O2 Academy main stage in Newcastle this Sunday evening as Stevie Stoker and the lads take the next step on the rocky road to rock stardom.

The band, formed by Stoker near fourteen years ago, has come on leaps-and-bounds in the past few years, playing some high profile supports and selling out places like The Cavern Club in Liverpool and the O2 Academy (Stage 2).

In fact it was their last headline at Academy two, late last year, which saw the lads afforded the opportunity of the big one as Stoker, alongside bandmates Matt Whitaker, Jake Grimes and Joe Major, deciding to use the opportunity to capitalise and make it ‘The State of Mind Collection,’ full album launch.

Last time out they released the first half of the album, ‘Designed State of Mind’ in a packed out Academy when ably supported by Craig Roddam, Catalyse and Singapore Safehouse. Fast forward some seven months or so and they’re prepared to release not only the second half of the EP, ‘Refined State of Mind,’ but the complete collection, ‘Combined State of Mind.’

“We were absolutely over the moon to be able to sell-out Academy Two,” began Stevie.

“The response to the atmosphere and music on the night was great and then, to get the call from the Academy the following day asking if we’d fancy headlining the main hall, words can’t describe that.

“We’re aware as to how big a step up this is and the challenge that it presents but it’s a dream stage to play on and we’ve only been there once and that was a few years ago now (as support to Alarm).

“This is us, it’s something really, really special and we’ll certainly throw everything at it.”


“Playing the O2 is just surreal anyway and was packed out from start to finish, staying like that until the last song,” added Jake.

“So, already being on cloud nine with that, we get this as well. It brings back great memories for me going to gigs there as kids and the Ubeat Awards (last December when the lads collected a couple) was the perfect warm-up.

“Knowing it was Academy One from the off, we hope to sell it out, and although it could be seen as a bit of a risk, it’s now or never really. It’s the first step in the next big thing for us.”

In addition to their usual back catalogue of tracks, and the album being blasted out, Twister will also play two new tracks, opening with ‘Welcome to the State of Mind’ as well as ‘Mystery’ – which says it all really!

Supported by Sam Gibson, Offpeak, Judas, and A New Nowhere, tickets will be available for entry only, £8, on the night with VIP doors at 545pm and normal entry at 630pm.

 

Twister Welcome OffPeak!

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

Twister, headline the main stage at the O2 Academy in Newcastle for the first time and alongside them will be some special friends with the third announcement being the addition of another Durham band, OffPeak.

Consisting of brothers Jamie and Robbie Pick (vocals & guitar respectively), Kier Hutchinson (bass), Kurtis Sumpton (rhythm guitar), and Jackson Raw (drums), the lads from Esh Winning releasing their EP, Told You So, their second, at the turn of the year with a sold out gig at Durham University’s SU.

“We started just over three years ago and weren’t even a band” began Jamie.

“It was more a few lads having fun until we realised we actually sounded good, then it just went from there.

“The first video, for Stay the Same, was released in early 2015 then we had an EP launch shortly after at the O2 Academy, which we sold out. After that we went touring a little and we’re just doing things off our own back and enjoying it, that’s why we do it.”

Robbie added: “We’ve had a base in Durham though since we started out and we religiously continue to use that.

“We’ve tried really hard to chase the dream but not to forget as to what we’re doing it for so just have to go for it and see what happens.

“The EP was recorded last year with Ben Jones at Wood Cottage Studios (Hartlepool), they’re amazing and would recommend to anyone.

“After that we’ll be taking stock and doing some more writing building towards launching something in November/December; we have the material to do so and we’ll look at keeping the gigs more northerly to increase our fan base.”

Now, with the support of Twister just around the corner for the Valley lads it’s certainly a case of onwards and upwards.

The EP launch was the perfect platform into 2017 and, whilst looking to do similar this time around as the momentum grows, in and out of the studio.

“The launch was really good and it got the year off to the perfect start,” continued Jamie.

“We have maintained the momentum we began with and the rest of the year will see us recording an EP in September and having a single launch night at Think Tank on Saturday 25 November.

“That will then be follows by releasing the EP in early 2018.

“First though we have Sunday at the Academy which we are absolutely buzzing about; to be given this opportunity by Twister we’d like to thank them, we really appreciate it.”

Tickets for the Academy show, priced at £7 entry (£8 on the door) and £11 VIP are available direct from OffPeak, or from www.officialtwister.co.uk.

You can follow OffPeak’s progress on social media via Facebook or Twitter and they’ll see you all front and centre, on Tyneside, on May 21.

Twister Welcome A New Nowhere

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

Twister, headline the main stage at the O2 Academy in Newcastle for the first time and alongside them will be some special friends with the second announcement being the addition of A New Nowhere.

The quartet, a melodic, atmospheric rock band from Tyneside consists of Mark Gregg (vocals & guitar), Kev Gregg (guitar), Martin Hudson (bass) and Jack Wilson (drums) have recently released their debut single ‘You and Me’ amidst some acclaim.

With a little over twelve months together on the rock circuit the lads are doing alright with the video for their single, we all know what happened there, putting them in the spotlight on a grander scale than maybe even they could have imagined.

“There was certainly method in madness doing the video for ‘You and Me,’” began guitarist Kev.

“Granted it was more attention seeking than anything but it worked and that was the aim really.

“It’s more of a debut with the record label so it made sense for people to come and see it more. The previous release (Dark Place) was more about finding out where we were at.

“Mark and I have always been into music and have been with bands, wrote songs etc., but when we were doing a cover of a Tom Petty track I realised that he, Mark, had the better voice.

“Then, when were at a Foo Fighters gig, we started talking about doing something and with every song being different then it’s a good variety so we got our acts together.

“We went through a few different bass players before Martin came on board and, no disrespect to them as they’ve been great, but he (Martin) has brought that grungy style and we get along really well, on the same wavelength.”

 

This weekend their year continues, taking things up another level as A New Nowhere support Twister on the O2 Academy main stage, the start of an incredible summer of fun for the lads which will also see several festivals, and more, before heading into the studio to lay down the tracks for their debut album.

“We’ve always been aware of the Twister lads for a good few years now,” continued Kev.

“When I saw his post on social media I messaged Stevie a couple of times about it, you have to be relentless if you want something and it just went from there.

“We genuinely though that it was going to be a low key affair but we’d have said yes anyway and we now can’t wait to get on with what will be a great gig.

“We’ve never played the main stage before so supporting Twister is just brilliant.

“After this weekend we’ve got a few festivals lined up, interviews on some local radio stations then, in September, we head into the studio to start recording our debut album for early next year.

“We pretty much have what we need for it but anything can still happen between now and then.”

Tickets for the Academy show, priced at £7 entry (£8 on the door) and £11 VIP are available direct from A New Nowhere, or from www.officialtwister.co.uk.

You can follow A New Nowhere’s progress on social media via Facebook or Twitter and they’ll see you all front and centre, on Tyneside, on May 21.

Twister Welcome Sam Gibson

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

Next month pop rockers, Twister, headline the main stage at the O2 Academy in Newcastle for the first time and alongside them will be some special friends with the first announcement being that of soloist, Sam Gibson.

Having released the EP, Before All Else, in 2012, Gibson, who is an international acoustic rock artist in his own right, with endorsements from both Candlewood and more recently Optima Strings, followed up with the debut album, Plastic Universe, in 2015, which all but solidified his name in rock.

“This is my fourth year performing on a full-time basis and have been gigging for around six,” began Sam.

“Although the good definitely outweighs the bad I just need to keep plugging away and doing what I do. I performed over 180 gigs last year which included an amazing tour of Switzerland where I’m looking at going back to later this year taking in France, Germany and Italy along the way.

“Last year was just amazing and it just added to all those big gigs I’ve done over the years and this (supporting Twister) will be another of those gigs.”

May 21 will see Sam open for Twister’s ‘The State of Mind Collection’ launch party and the two main parts of the wheel go back a number of years, Stevie Stoker (lead vocalist of Twister) calling on the friendship to get that wheel in motion.

“We’ve done a few things together over the last few years so I had to say yes straight away,” continued Sam.

“I like their (Twister’s) music anyway and he likes mine which is an obvious, added bonus so know we can work together.

“I’ve played upstairs (Academy Two) before but this is an amazing opportunity, for all of us, and I can’t wait to get out there and not only perform but also see the others do their thing as well.”

Constantly tour the UK and abroad, with festival appearances for added measure, Sam will follow up that May gig on Tyneside with hitting the studio and the recording of a new album of his own.

Tickets for the Academy show, priced at £7 entry and £11 VIP are available direct from Sam himself, or from www.officialtwister.co.uk.

You can follow Sam’s progress on social media via Facebook or Twitter  or visit www.samgibsonmusic.co.uk and he’ll see you all front and centre, on Tyneside, on May 21.

Around the Region’s Music I

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

County Durham rockers, Twister, recently announced an O2 Academy headline gig set to rock the ages in Newcastle on May 21 for their ‘Combined State of Mind: The Collection.’ The quartet fronted by founder, Stevie Stoker, released the first part, ‘Designed State of Mind,’ late last year at Academy Two and will add ‘Refined State of Mind’ for the combined collection.

Four days later, at Wylam Breweries, indie stars, The Longsands, play their final gig as Trevor Cox, Ian Barnes, David Stanyer, Paul Stephenson and Callum Thompson roll back the years one last time with tracks from both ‘Meet Me In Spanish City’ and ‘Us & Them,’ which was released last year, are set to bring down the house; meanwhile Sunderland’s indie newcomers, Social Room, will support From the Jam on the Academy main stage in mid-September as they look to take this year by storm.

Regional rock legends, the Tygers of Pan Tang, will see their latest offering and self-titled album, released in North America as they themselves embark on their ‘Only the Brave’ European tour throughout March, April and May along with a new single (look out for an upcoming feature next month).

Teesside powerhouses, Cattle & Cane, fronted by siblings Helen and Joe Hammill, performed four incredible dates at the start of the year whilst supporting The Head and The Heart’s Signs of Light tour. Now, starting at Stockton Calling in mid-April, the siblings will embark on a twelve-date spring tour which will also see the launch of their new album, ‘Mirrors,’ along with a date at The Sage, Gateshead on May 4. Another Teesside native, singer-songwriter Samantha Durnan, will be supported by James Gray Robson & the Lonely Burn at Stainton Hall on June 24 as she releases her album ‘want to Wander.’

Gigs to look out for include both Geoff Mull & Friends, and One Man Revival with Black Nevada, Saints of Arcadia, and The Firelight Opera are playing at the O2 Academy; Fatherson, can be seen on both Teesside and Tyneside; Jarrod Dickenson and Nine Below Zero have outings at the The Cluny; and internationally-acclaimed artist, Caro Emerald, plays at The Sage for a date long since sold out.

Worthy of a special mention is the upcoming event at Preston Hall Museum on the evening of March 31 for the inaugural Watermill Sessions Live. Acoustic-based performers from alternative country, Americana, and folk music sees Elaine Palmer, James Gray Robson & The Lonely Burn, Tom Joshua, George Boomsma and People Poems all make an appearance. Palmer brings with her some fantastic stock to the Watermill stage with a just as equally impressive roll-call having shared with the likes of KT Tunstall, David Gray, Emmylou Harris, King Creosote and more.

Social Room set to support From the Jam

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Featuring original Jam member Bruce Foxton, From The Jam rose like a phoenix in late 2006, touring in 2007 as the Jam legend added Townshend, Brzezicki and Watson at the same Rick Buckler and Russell Hastings were touring as The Gift, Hastings being the only frontman to work with both Foxton and Buckler.

Fast forward to 2017 and the lads are still doing what the do best with this year, this year is the same as they perform hits from their 1982 classic, The Gift (the sixth, and final LP release for The Jam). The album includes the classics’Town Called Malice’ and ‘Just Who Is the 5 O’Clock Hero?’

This September, at Newcastle’s O2 Academy, From the Jam will be ably supported by Sunderland’s up-and-coming indie band, Social Room.

The sextet from the banks of the Wear, fronted by Matty Smith, released their latest hit single, ‘Be Forever Mine,’ late last year. Smith is ably supported by Alex Gunn, Adam Potts, Adam Jefferson, Chris Leonard, and Simon Bewick, will bring their usual gusto and musical nous to the event.

A band spokesperson said: “The Jam are legends and we are over the moon to be supporting such icons of British music.”

Promoted by Steve Wraith and Danny Cox tickets for the event (on September 23) are available priced at £20 Entry and £50 VIP (includes meet & greet with From the Jam) from the Academy WEBSITE – Social Room will  have tickets shortly…..