Lately, Newcastle has been at the heart of a punk revival. From pop-punk to old-school punk-rock, the city is hit up by bands as varied as State Champs, Sum 41 and Anti-Flag on tour. The UK is home to a sea of home-grown talent. Bands like Neck Deep, Gnarwolves, and Apologies, I Have None are drumming up a passionate following, both in the UK and abroad. Punk is certainly not dead – it’s alive and kicking.
The local scene is awash with bands that embody the punk ethos, and a community that wholeheartedly supports them. Newcastle’s most intimate venues are hotspots for local bands to showcase their talent – there’s an underground punk scene here in Newcastle and it’s worth being a part of.
Over a year on from the first Stay Gold, the night has become a staple of the alternative clubbing scene in Newcastle
Skull Puppies are self-professed nerdcore punks, whose brand of punk rock revolves around D&D, self-deprecating jokes and a short but sweet residency at Nerd Hutch, a tiny gig venue located under the Newcastle branch of Travelling Man.
Bares are a three-piece grungy rock band making their name with support shows across the city, and their own intimate headline shows at venues like Little Buildings Rehearsal Rooms.
Sabretooth Mountain Sharks are a ballsy trio of punk-rockers based in Bishop Auckland. Their sets are raucous and rowdy, their music tipping the hat to punk rock legends like Anti-Flag and Bad Religion.
Mountains At Sea are an alternative melodic rock band making waves in Newcastle. In the vein of British heavyweights like Funeral For A Friend and Lonely The Brave, the five-piece play songs with huge riffs, bigger choruses, and a DIY punk-as-hell outlook.
Death To Indie are about as a punk-rock a band as it is possible to be. With support slots for bands like Reel Big Fish under their belts, they’re a staple of the local punk scene, and an electrifying live act.
Somewhere at the epicentre of the punk-driven earthquake of musical talent, is a pop-punk club-night that brings together bands, students and local punk fans alike. Stay Gold is a resident club-night at the Head of Steam; on the last Friday of every month, DJs Phill Richardson and Richard Thompson spin the punk tunes their punters want to hear, from The Offspring to Yellowcard to Gwen Stefani (if you ask nicely enough).
The local scene is awash with bands that embody the punk ethos, and a community that wholeheartedly supports them
Sitting down with the DJs for a chat about their venture turned into a hangout, with discussions on and swapping of bands, and plenty of geeking out about punk. Because these guys are fans, first and foremost. “We’d built a crowd after a few months, but the first time we did it on a Friday, we saw so many people that we knew – friends, people we DJ with, people you see at shows, local bands, people we knew from club-nights. And that was great,” related Phill.
In term of supporting the local scene as well, the DJs are keen to get the word out there. “ We try and make as much noise as possible – we give tickets away to gigs at Think Tank and Riverside and the O2, and link bands on the facebook page,” said Richard. What started as an idea born of nostalgic musings after several drinks, turned into something special. Over a year on from the first Stay Gold, the night has become a staple of the alternative clubbing scene in Newcastle and that’s not just because they occasionally give out free pizza.