Gringo Star and Dome Hall - Think Tank Underground Review

Calum Trenaman reviews Gringo Star and their support band Dome Hall at Think Tank Underground

Calum Trenaman
2nd March 2017

Think Tank? Underground is everything you want in an intimate music venue: you’re right next to the musicians as they play, the bar is just behind you so you can continue to watch and listen as you make your order, and it’s underground which means no phone signal. This is an annoyance to some but to me it brings an element of freedom away from social media addiction where you can just focus on the artists, the event and having a good time.

Each of the acts seemed to complement each other and build to the crescendo of headliners Gringo Star. Michael Gallagher opened, with his soft tones and acoustic guitar he charmed. The crowd at this point was still sparse but everyone present was captivated by this solo artist. For me, you’ve got to have guts to get up and perform in front of a crowd, so for him to do it with the gravitas and ability of a seasoned veteran, I salute him.

"I heartily recommend getting down to a Dome Hall gig"

It is rare that the support act has a bigger crowd than the headliners but such is the level of fame Dome Hall have reached within the Newcastle music scene this doesn’t surprise me. The last review I did about them they were playing a makeshift gig in the rehearsal space at Little Buildings. I waxed lyrical back then and since they have continued to grow and grow, playing the Alphabetti Theatre, opening for Bruising at Think Tank?, and playing the Night and Day Café in Manchester. They seem to get better and better every time I see them. With the addition of new track 'Marske Woods', an ode to a copse near bassist Matty Floyd and vocalist Danny Lynd’s hometown of Redcar, they serenaded the crowd. The chemistry and banter was flowing as they gain more and more confidence in their style and the vulnerability that comes with performing. I heartily recommend getting down to a Dome Hall gig while you still have an opportunity with them based in Newcastle.

While some of the crowd departed after Dome Hall’s set was concluded, none of the atmosphere was lost as Atlanta rockers Gringo Star took to the stage. They either weren’t fazed by the Atlanta Falcons shock loss to a New England Patriots comeback in the Superbowl the night before, or they were taking their anger and passion out through their performance. Having listened to them a little on Spotify before the gig, their sound was much less clean and formulaic than I anticipated. There was a real authenticity in their music.

"While their name is inspired by a Beatles member, their sound is far from it"

When I found out after the gig that the drummer wasn’t even regular drummer Jonathan Bragg, but instead a friend who was filling in for only the fourth time, the energy and synchronicity of this quartet seemed all the more impressive. While their name is inspired by a Beatles member, their sound is far from it. Their tracks varied widely from ‘Get Closer’ which seemed in the tone of a Strokes track, to ‘Knee Deep’ which opens like an old blues track but has the vocals of Kasabian’s Tom Meighan if he were a washed-up alcoholic. It’s not a flattering description but trust me, it sounds good. Give them a listen if you think this seems like your sort of thing.

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