Band of Skulls - Northumbria Uni Review

Dimitri Psarianos reviews Band of Skulls at Northumbria Uni

Dimitri Psarianos
5th December 2016

Band of Skulls produced a powerful and memorable performance on their return to Newcastle. They lit up the stage with a number of tracks taken from all of their albums, both impressing with the familiar tracks and forming favourites within their latest album.

"The energy set by these tracks carried on through the rest of the set"

The night started with energetic, and Newcastle-based rock group, The Pale Whites. Their active and catchy songs getting the crowd riled up and raring to go for the headline event. After a seemingly long wait, Band of Skulls took to the stage. The stage itself matched By Default and had church window backdrops that caught the lighting from the venue; and the musical introduction as the band took to the stage also included the sounds of church bells. This blended perfectly into their first track of the night: ‘In Love By Default’. This was just the start of an impressive opening to the gig, as ‘Himalayan’, ‘Light of the Morning’ and ‘Bodies’, all highlights of their respective albums, soon followed.

"you’d be hard pressed to find an audience member who didn’t finish that song with goose-bumps"

The energy set by these tracks carried on through the rest of the set and the crowd reacted in kind. Highlights included the aforementioned ‘In Love By Default’ and ‘Himalayan’, as well as ‘I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying’, ‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Goin’ On’, ‘Sweet Sour’, ‘Patterns’, ‘Honest’ and ‘Cold Fame’. ‘Honest’ and ‘Cold Fame’ constructed a stripped-back, intimate middle to the night. Despite Russell Marsden (vocals/guitar) claiming that it was maybe the first time they’d performed ‘Honest’ live, the calm melancholy associated with Band of Skulls’ slower tracks shone through and retained the power of the recorded version from Baby Darling Doll Face Honey; drummer Matt Hayward even took up the acoustic guitar for ‘Honest’ . ‘Cold Fame’, from the same album, also showcased the intimacy within their song writing, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find an audience member who didn’t finish that song with goose-bumps. The Newcastle crowd helped the atmosphere of these songs, and reacted with even more energy once Band of Skulls returned to the stronger rock tracks.

After an encore, Band of Skulls performed ‘Asleep at The Wheel’ and ‘Death By Diamond And Pearls’ which both raised the energy levels once again, and rounded off the gig with spirited fan favourites.

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