Who said that rock and roll is dead? With such a strong and vibrant new music scene right now, the naysayers get served another slice of humble pie (no not Steve Marriott’s band the other one) as the Roadstars tour delivers a spectacular triple bill on Tyneside.

In this day and age, bands make their name out on the road. And Planet Rock is once again at the forefront of taking the scene’s latest sensations across the UK as part of their annual Roadstars tour. With the price on the door being a mere £16 those in attendance get a lot of bang for their buck tonight.

Having been soaring over our airwaves over the last six to twelve months, the rapidly rising reputation of each of these bands proceeds them. And as a result, The Cluny in Newcastle is packed with punters wanting an intimate audience with Planet Rock’s hand-picked three of the best from the international scene.

When you give a band a name like Piston, it’s no surprise that these guys hit the stage firing on all cylinders. The band quite literally kick off their set with a bang to the sounds of Dynamite.

And to continue with the automotive references we can’t go without mentioning drummer Brad Newlands who keeps the rhythms pumping in the engine room at the back. Taking a solo early in the set, and frequently towering over the stage stood aloft his drum stool, he proves that no matter which badly illuminated corner of the room you put him he is going to make his prescence known one way or another. It’s no wonder they call him The Captain.

With the early inclusion of radio playlisted singles such as the anthemic Rainmaker and a thunderous airing of One More Day the band make a lot of new friends in the North East tonight.

Piston slows things down momentarily with ballad Carry Us Home. And with the audience now transfixed a song titled Leave If You Dare is a sentiment, everyone in attendance can relate with. And just before the band takes off Into The Night, they close out their set by putting their distinctive stamp on the rock and soul classic Proud Mary.

Hailing all the way from South Carolina, Hannah Wicklund has certainly travelled the furthest to be here this evening as she makes her Newcastle debut.

Now Wicklund may only be in her twenties but her playing and maturity as a singer, songwriter and performer illustrate that as a musician she is wise beyond her years. And the inclusion of a stunning cover of the CSN&Y classic Ohio is a testament to this.

The set draws largely from her latest studio album with the inclusion of hit single Bomb Through The Breeze, a soulful airing of Ghost and a stunning solo performance of the social-media inspired number Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces. During the latter of which, Hannah’s voice is so beautiful that she even manages to make the line ‘So Fucked Up’ sound angelic.

Hannah previews her majestic new song Can’t Get Enough which she delivers with raw passion and emotion and truly sinks her heart and soul into the performance. And if this isn’t enough the cherry on top is Mama Said, which comes complete with some voice infused guitar trickery for added value.

Slotted in between Brit rockers Piston and Gorilla Riot, Hannah Wicklund adds a nice change of pace to the proceedings. With her gifted fretwork and soaring vocals, Hannah proves that she is the complete package and raises the bar very high whilst also proving to be a hard act to follow.

The night is rounded out by UK rockers Gorilla Riot. The band has played in the region on previous occasions and as a result, their fans are out in force tonight. The five-piece are also enthusiastically cheered on by touring counterparts Piston, as they quite literally read The Cluny their very own version of the riot act. Gorilla Riot covers all the bases in their set and proves to be the perfect conclusion to this evening’s triple bill.

The beauty of this tour is that each band on the bill bring something a bit different to the proceedings. For each of the band’s featured. this tour will inevitably be a Steppin Stone to bigger things to come.

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Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones
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Event Date: 08-Oct-2019

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.