It’s been over two years since The Butcher Babies last played in the North East of England on a tour which saw them opening for British outfit, The Defiled.

Last year, the Butcher Babies released their sophomore album, Take It Like A Man. One of the hardest working bands in the business, the Butcher Babies’ packed tour schedule most recently took them across the US with Cradle of Filth.

Tonight the band makes their way to Think Tank in Newcastle for their first headline show in the city. Today is also Heidi Shepherd’s birthday; watch out this could get messy.

Opening the show are local boys Arcite, who pick up another high profile support slot following their recent show in the city with Mushroomhead. A full house is in attendance to see the Newcastle-based five-piece and their fierce brand of metalcore. Their fans mosh tirelessly at the front of the stage, and it looks like they picked up some new supporters in the process.

Sumo Cyco caught our attention at the end of last year whilst on tour with Fozzy and it’s great to see them back so soon. Since the band’s last show, here they’ve had a change of personnel with drummer Andy Joseph leaving the band.

Sumo Cyco includes several tracks from their debut album, Lost In Cyco City, including “Crowd Control” for which the band recently premiered a new video, “Fighter,” and a superb cover of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s classic, “Give It Away,” which they make their own.

The Canadian quartet currently has a Pledge campaign underway to raise funds for their new album, which is due for release later this year. Tonight we get a taste of what is to come from their new album with the live debut of their ferocious new track, “Move Mountains,” which the band recorded with Benji Webbe from Skinned.

Sumo Cyco delivers a high energy set which doesn’t subside. Lead vocalist Skye Sweetnam is a real dynamo. Heidi Shepherd states later in the evening that you’ve got to work out just to watch Sumo Cyco perform, and we would agree.

During “Like A Killer,” Skye makes her way through the crowd to the back of the room, and sings from atop of the bar. She crowd-surfs back to the stage. 

The band closes their set with their ode to metal and punk rock music, “My Name Is Rock and Roll,” leaving the room stunned. Bright future beckons for Sumo Cyco, we eagerly await their new album.

As the Butcher Babies take the stage, it doesn’t take long for things to get hot and sweaty. Opening the show with “National Bloody Anthem,” they whip the crowd into a frenzy. Heidi and Carla orchestrate the eager crowd and they obey their every command.

As the band launches into old school numbers like “Jesus Needs More Babies for His War Machine,” circle pits form and crowd surfing follows but you can’t leave the stage without a high-five from the band first. The Butcher Babies bring the Geordie crowd together like one big metal family.

Of course, you can’t have a birthday without cake and a Happy Birthday singalong for Shepherd. Heidi gains acceptance from the Geordie faithful after she chugs a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale on stage.

Guitarist Henry Flury delivers some fierce and crunchy riffs wielding his eight-string guitar during the likes of “Monsters Ball” and the melodic “Dead Man Walking,” which is a rare inclusion in the set tonight.

The band changes up the pace with “Thrown Away,” which highlights the delicate side of Heidi and Carla’s vocals. The band closes out their main set with “Take Me Away,” which lights the blue touch paper in the room, but they aren’t done yet as they return to the stage with the classic “Magnolia Blvd” from their debut album, Goliath.

The Butcher Babies save the best for last with “Axe Wound” as they sink every last ounce of energy into their performance. Heidi Shepherd descends from the stage and gets up close and personal with the crowd in the mosh pit as the band and the fans join in unison. This is a night that the Newcastle metal fraternity will not forget in a hurry; the Butcher Babies came, they saw, and they conquered.

Butcher Babies

Sumo Cyco
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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