Seminal rock and rollers Echo and the Bunnymen are currently out on tour across the UK whilst road testing material from their forthcoming album The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon.

Tonight the Liverpool based outfit arrives in the North East of England where a packed out crowd at the Sage Gateshead awaits them.

Having been influenced by tonight’s headliners, US trio ENATION opens the proceedings and they do not disappoint. The group are presently on their first UK tour and have been making waves in the process. The announcement of ENATION’s debut London show at the Omeara resulted in an almost immediate sell-out, with a second date in the capital being added due to unprecedented demand.

ENATION’s frontman Jonathan Jackson will be familiar to many through his role as Avery Barkley in hit TV show Nashville. Subsequently, Jackson is no stranger to the UK having recently concluded a sold-out arena tour with the stars of Nashville alongside his esteemed colleagues Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen.

Unlike the music portrayed in Jackson’s critically acclaimed TV series, this isn’t a country band by any stretch of the imagination. The US-based indie rockers deliver a set that brings together a wide range of sounds and styles that encapsulates alternative, post-punk and early new wave music.

ENATION released their latest studio album Anthems For The Apocalypse last year and subsequently, roughly half of the band’s 45-minute set is taken from it. With the trio dressed in matching burgundy suits, they take to the stage and showcase tracks from their latest offering.

Firstly, “A Shock To The System” with its catchy hooks, driving rhythm and huge sounding atmospheric guitar licks is reminiscent in places of early U2. Likewise, “Ascending” with its heavy groove and blistering fretwork certainly hits the same spot. ENATION grabs the Tyneside audience’s attention from the off. Each song is warmly greeted with rapturous applause.

As ENATION’s set ebbs and flows, the band slows down the proceedings with tracks like “Thousand Mile Stare” and their own distinctive take on Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt”.

Both a soulful rendition of “I See God In You” and the title track of the record “Anthems For The Apocalypse” feature in the set and highlight the lyrical prowess and passionate poetic delivery of frontman Jonathan Jackson. The latter of which also closes out the group’s short but sweet 45-minute set.

On the strength of tonight’s performance alone it’s fair to say we expect to see a lot more of ENATION in the not too distant future. This incredibly talented trio are not to be missed; let’s just hope a full headline UK tour comes sooner rather than later.

Echo and the Bunnymen are getting ready to release their new album The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon in October. The group’s latest creative venture includes thirteen handpicked songs from their impressive body of work. These tracks have been fearlessly reworked with the addition of strings, giving these timeless classics a new lease of life. Subsequently, throughout tonight’s career-spanning show at the Sage Gateshead, the Bunnymen are accompanied by a mesmerising string quartet.

Dressed in a black leather jacket and shades, Ian McCulloch leads the band through a set that perfectly represents Echo and the Bunnymen’s vast back catalogue. Of course, the group seamlessly blend together the old with the new. The inclusion of both “The Somnabulist” and “How Far?” give the band’s fans a taste of what is to come from their forthcoming release later in the year.

Just like magic, Echo and the Bunnymen’s classic cuts transport the band’s loyal fan base back to the 1980’s. The band walk their fans down memory lane with many of their Top 40 singles featuring in the set. This includes a captivating airing of “Seven Seas”, the incredibly infectious “Lips Like Sugar” and the anthemic “Bring On The Dancing Horses”. Each of these fan favourites has the crowd up on their feet, of course, dancing in the aisles ensues.

Echo and the Bunnymen close out their main set with a gargantuan airing of “The Cutter”, which leaves the crowd wanting more. A duly deserved double encore that includes a beautifully intricate performance of “The Killing Moon” concludes an incredibly enjoyable and nostalgic evening of music at the Sage Gateshead.

With the band currently celebrating their landmark 40th anniversary, Echo and the Bunnymen are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

Echo And The Bunnymen
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Event Date: 30-May-2018

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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