A ‘supersonic’ set from Noel Gallagher and a two hour greatest hits show from The Stereophonics were just some of the highlights of This Is Tomorrow Festival in Newcastle.

Having firmly established itself as one of the region’s premier music festivals, this year’s line-up brought together a rich blend of established artists from across the full spectrum of the music world, as well as many bands, tipped to be the next big thing.

Second Year and Twice The Charm

Now in its second year, This Is Tomorrow Festival returned bigger and better than before. Bolstering a new site, a multi-stage line-up and a long three-day duration the event certainly put the North East of England on the map this weekend.

And whilst our neighbours in the south of the region in Teesside may have been graced with the presence of Radio 1’s Big Weekend, it didn’t stop tens of thousands of music lovers descending upon Tyneside to see out their long weekend in the presence of headliners Foals, Noel Gallagher and The Stereophonics along with mainstage acts such as The Vaccines, The Editors, You Me At Six, Embrace, Glasvegas, Yonaka, The Pale White, Cattle and Cane and much more.

Now located in the heart of Newcastle, a mere stone’s through from the bustling city centre, the region’s premier open-air festival found its new home inside the leafy surroundings of Exhibition Park. And with the exception of a few light showers on Saturday afternoon, the festival punters were largely treated to a sunny musical filled weekend.

Sex, Drugs and …. Sausage Rolls?

Whilst it’s often thought that it’s all sex, drugs and rock and roll backstage, we found out this weekend that the true root to a musician’s heart is sausage rolls (vegan sausage rolls that is). Yes, the only kind of overindulgence taking place this weekend was courtesy of Greggs The Bakers, who kept both the bands and the crew supplied with a variety of tasty baked goods.

Nothing But Thieves frontman Conor Mason was so impressed by the Geordie hospitality that he took a ‘When In Rome’ approach to the North East’s favourite delicacies after informing the crowd that a tray of 50 sausage rolls had arrived at their dressing room on Friday afternoon.

On the other hand, down to earth Scotsman Lewis Capaldi even went to the lengths of appearing in an online video this weekend unexpectedly serving behind the counter of a Greggs store, much to the delight of his fans.

You can forget Cristal champagne, Dom Perignon and top-shelf vodka being on the backstage riders of your favourite rock stars this weekend – Greggs was where it was at in Newcastle.

Flying High With Noel Gallagher

Saturday night’s headliner required no introduction. Many of the crowd had been lined in front of the stage for as long as twelve hours to secure their spot at the front. Accompanied onstage by two of his former bandmates including guitarist Gem Archer and drummer Chris Sharrock, the High Flying Birds delivered a set that was the perfect representation of Gallagher’s long and successful career. Subsequently, the Oasis connections ran strong on Saturday as the band’s former bass player Andy Bell had also appeared earlier in the day with seminal indie band Ride.

Noel’s well balanced eighteen song setlist covered all the bases. Highlights included the incredibly infectious “It’s A Beautiful Life”, the beautiful solo acoustic number “Dead In The Water” which each, in turn, sat perfectly alongside his tried and tested Oasis classics such as “Wonderwall”, “Talk Tonight” and the unmistakable “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. Gallagher closed out his career spanning set with his take on The Beatles “All You Need Is Love”, which was the perfect conclusion to Saturday’s proceedings.

Noel was so impressed by the festival that he even went on to declare “We’ll definitely come back to this festival, this is fucking amazing”. This being a sentiment everyone in attendance on Saturday could certainly relate to.

Pop Art Meets Pop/Rock In Newcastle

What can we say, the future of indie/pop rock in the UK is certainly bright. Throughout the course of an action-packed weekend, we caught some of the rising stars of Europe’s thriving emerging music scene on the Richard Hamilton stage. Widely regarded as ‘The Father of Pop Art’, both the stage and the festival were inspired by the works of the latter.

The likes of Anteros fronted by the captivating Laura Hayden, Irish outfits Inhaler and When Young, along with Scottish rap/rockers The LaFontaines were just some of the highlights on the Richard Hamilton stage this weekend. The latter of which had the difficult task of going head to head with Lewis Capaldi in what frontman Kerr Okan described as ‘The Scottish Hour’ of the event. However, the clash with the chart-topping superstar didn’t stop the band from going to task, and as a result, the dynamic trio won over a lot of new fans in the process.

Newcastle’s Favourite ‘Charming Man’

Hot off the back of an appearance at All Points East Festival and armed with an arsenal of Indie/Rock classics, Sunday’s late afternoon slot was quite literally a walk in the park for Johnny Marr – Exhibition Park that is. Giving rare airings to many timeless Smiths classics including “How Soon Is Now”, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Big Mouth Strikes Again” the Mancunian guitar god certainly put a smile on the faces of those present in Exhibition Park.

Scotland’s Answer To Tom Jones?

It goes without saying that Lewis Capaldi has witnessed a meteoric rise inside of the last twelve months. With his latest arena tour selling out in record time, and a string of top 10 hits under his belt the future is certainly looking bright for the Bathgate native.

Before the Scotsman even took to the stage, chants of ‘Oh Lewis Capaldi’ to the tune of The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” resonated around the huge crowd present inside of Exhibition Park. Of course, Capaldi had his Tyneside audience in the palm of his hand from the off.

The humble Scot is the complete package – he can make you laugh and break your heart in the space of minutes. His witty stage banter and beautiful ballads were the perfect soundtrack to a lazy and somewhat sun-kissed Sunday afternoon in Exhibition Park.

There is somewhat of a renaissance in talented British singer/songwriters at the moment, with the likes of Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, James Bay and Tom Walker leading the field in a very competitive market. During his set, members of the audience through various items of clothing and undergarments at Capaldi, including a ladies bra. On the strength of this response, could Lewis Capaldi be following in the footsteps of Welsh heartthrob Tom Jones – who knows? One thing is for sure, Capaldi’s next festival appearance in Newcastle will be as the headliner.

The Stereophonics Fans “Have A Nice Day” at This Is Tomorrow

With now ten studio albums behind them, it goes without saying that The Stereophonics have a hit rich songbook to choose from for their live shows. Subsequently, their Sunday night headline slot at This Is Tomorrow is somewhat of a two-hour musical marathon that gives the band the chance to fully represent their huge discography.

With an elongated stage set that spans out into the crowd frontman Kelly Jones immediately appears at the end of the walkway to greet the fans, as they kick off their monumental live set. The inclusions of tracks such as “Traffic”, “A Thousand Trees” and “Local Boy In The Photograph” certainly please the band’s old school fans.

Likewise, The Stereophonics are presently celebrating the landmark 20 year anniversary of their critically acclaimed sophomore album Performance and Cocktails, and as such they acknowledge that milestone with crowd-pleasers such as the beautiful “Hurry Up And Wait”, along with the anthemic “Just Looking” and their hard rocking main set closer “The Bartender And The Thief”. The Welsh rockers left no stone unturned in Newcastle.

Until Next Time

Next year’s This Is Tomorrow Festival can’t come soon enough. To keep up to date with all of the festival’s announcements please like, follow and visit the event’s website and social media pages (links below).

This Is Tomorrow
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Event Date: 24-26-May-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.

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