For the second year Running Hit The North has graced every pub and music venue in Newcastle over the bank holiday weekend. Getting bigger and better with opening parties featuring Drenge and Circa Waves (review to follow) and a massive welcoming to local bands with Meet the North, the festival was not to be missed. On the off chance you missed it anyway, here’s the best bits.
Sam Fender: Newcastle’s finest made waves during his homecoming show at Think Tank. The tiny, packed out room made the atmosphere electric and with the crowd on his side from the get go it was incredible.
Fender gave his all though it couldn’t be seen through the crowds of lads in the room. Each song got a better reaction than the last, from ‘Millennial’, to ‘Play God’ even newest track ‘Friday Fighting’ slotted in nicely with the well worn favourites.
The empathetic war cry of ‘Greasy Spoon’ was a real highlight of the set. Fender may go far and wide playing international festivals over the summer but there’s no place like home.
The Pale White: Current Northern favourites and rising stars, The Pale White drew in quite the crowd at Boilershop. Going from strength to strength the trio played through new tracks ‘Loveless and ‘Peace of Mind’ much to the crowd’s delight.
Frontman Adam Hope seems to be getting more and more comfortable in his role, leading the band and the whole trio are becoming more than just musicians but entertainers too.
Much like good cheese, The Pale White are only getting better with time, and this is an apt metaphor twiceover as I also feared they may melt in a gooey pile on the floor in the soaring heat of the venue. Ending on fan favourite ‘That Dress’ couldn’t have went better, reminding the crowd of The Pale White’s humble beginnings.
Blaenavon: Indie heavy weights Blaenavon graced the North for the first time in 2018 at Boilershop. They ran through a selection of their best tracks before launching into two new tunes for their second album. Both were well received by the eager, responsive fans that lapped up Ben Greggory’s every move as they belted out the lyrics to ‘Lonely Side and ‘Orthodox Man’.
Airways: Southern quartet Airways graced the Think Tank Underground stage in the late afternoon. Playing an unapologetically rock and roll set to a small crowd. Frontman, Jake Daniels, showed a great amount of stage presence with a cheeky smile to go with it, the whole
‘White Noise Boys’ sounds exceptional live and an ode to the Airways boys visas being declined both made welcome additions to the set. The boys gave a high octane performance that won’t be forgotten.
Tom Grennan: Always the entertainer, Tom Grennan put on a stellar show. The cheeky lad gave his all as he strutted and swaggered his way around the stage. Wearing his signature chains, an undershirt and smart pants he emanated a young Robbie Williams.
From the first to the last song the fans on the floor were, singing, dancing and up on each other’s shoulders, which is testament to Grennan’s ability as an entertainer. Grennan’s infectious attitude and undeniable bops for songs it won’t be long before he’s headlining the likes of Hit the North.
John Joseph Brill: As a self-proclaimed lover of ‘drinking and fucking’ John Joseph Brill stuck to his guns and delivered a poignant set about the two subjects. Newcastle’s wonderfully kitsch Mining Institute proved the perfect venue for Brill’s deep, melancholic voice.
Brill showed a refreshing knowledge of his songs, switching from the much loved ‘Muscle and Bone’ to ‘Golden Kids’ at the request of an audience member despite having only toyed with playing the song without a full band.
This stripped back version of the song was breath taking, and somehow even more heart breaking than the original. They don’t make them like John Joseph Brill anymore; he’s funny, he’s unapologetically himself and he’s the same person in his writing as he is in real life.
If for any reason John Joseph Brill should be reading this, please put that stripped back version of ‘Golden Kids’ on Spotify or YouTube, I’ll be your best mate if you do it.