The Fireball Fuelling The Fire Tour rolls into the O2 Academy Newcastle bringing with it in tow a high octane four-band bill.

The beauty of tonight’s show on Tyneside is that each band featured brings something a bit different to the equation. With so many bands on the bill, there is no time to waste as British pop-punk outfit Lost In Stereo get things underway at the top of the night. Of course, it’s never an easy task to take to the stage so early in the proceedings, but the quartet does a great job of getting the crowd warmed up as the crowd file into the room.

So Cal punks Face To Face make a rare appearance in Newcastle for their first show in the region in almost 8 years. The last time the band played in the North East they were touring with The Dropkick Murphys. The band who has been together for 27 years, by their own admittance are no spring chickens but they still certainly know how to rock out. The US-based quartet blasted their way through a relentless short but sweet set. The band may not necessarily understand the local’s strong Geordie accent and vice versa, however, one thing is for sure everyone in attendance most certainly speaks the universal language of music.

The intensity inside of the room gets amped up even further as The Bronx explode onto the O2 Academy Newcastle stage and quite literally grab the bull by the horns. Their energy is contagious and a sea of crowd surfers make their way to the front the moment the band arrives on stage. Lead singer Matt Caughthran delivers a passionate performance, barely standing still for a moment as he prowls the edge of the stage whilst simultaneously rallying the crowd into action.

The Bronx delivers a career spanning set that covers all of the bases. Tracks like the frantic “Heart Attack American”, the hard-hitting “Under The Rabbit” and a monolithic rendition of “Knifeman” really stand out in the set. During the latter of which Caughthran makes his way into the crowd whilst orchestrating the madness in the middle of a circle pit and subsequently, doesn’t return to the stage for almost two whole songs. That’s dedication indeed.

The Bronx comes together seamlessly like a huge wall of sound. The band don’t slow down for one second giving 110% throughout.

By the time headliners Flogging Molly hit the stage the atmosphere inside of the room is at a fever pitch. The Irish- American seven-piece band kicks of the proceedings with a triple whammy of “(No More) Paddy’s Lament”, “The Hand of John L. Sullivan” and “Drunken Lullabies”, which forms somewhat of an impressive opening to their set.

Frontman Dave King declares that tonight’s show will be made up of old songs, new songs along with songs they’ve never played before. And the O2 Academy Newcastle crowd can’t ask for more than that.

However, the mood shifts mid-set as King informs the crowd of the tragic passing of Buzzcocks legend Pete Shelley. The room unites and raises a glass to their fallen punk rock comrade; before the band dedicated “The Likes of You Again” to the late great man himself – a touching moment indeed.

Flogging Molly’s sound is fundamentally based on the use of traditional Celtic instruments such as the banjo, accordion, fiddle and whistle which fit seamlessly alongside the more standard pieces you would expect to find in a group such as a guitar, bass and drums. Throughout the course of the evening, each of these instruments and the artists who play them are showcased in their own right.

The group give a first airing to their new song “The Days We’ve Yet To Meet” during which bass player Nathen Maxwell takes over on lead vocals duty. Classics such as “Life In A Tenement Square” and “Devil’s Dance Floor” have the crowd singing wholeheartedly in unison with the band. Tonight the Geordie choir, much like the band themselves, are in fine voice.

As Flogging Molly race to the finishing line they end their main set with the banjo fuelled “Seven Deadly Sins” before returning to the stage for a one-song encore of “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, which in turn brings an incredible night of music to a close.

On the strength of tonight’s performance, it’s fair to say that it may well have taken a long while for Flogging Molly to return to the North East of England, but it was certainly worth the wait.

Flogging Molly
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Event Date: 06-Dec-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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