With the swell on the River Tyne running high yesterday the city had been braced for flooding. Under the circumstances, a show on the quayside at the adjacent Riverside venue could have been challenging – but thankfully we seemed to escape the forecasted downpour tonight.
With a new studio album under her belt in the shape of Wild White Horses, British singer/songwriter Heather Findlay is currently on an extensive UK tour in support of her latest offering. And tonight’s show in Newcastle allows the former Mostly Autumn vocalist to showcase her latest release.
This evening’s venue is a unique space – its walls emblazoned with pop art, inspiring words and iconic images. Black and white stills from the movie Clockwork Orange peer over the stage on the rear wall, whilst photographs of Joe Strummer, Patti Smith and Kurt Cobain adorn booths at the side.
Hughes Taylor opens the proceedings to great effect. Hailing from Georgia, the group are performing in the UK for the first time on this run and warmed up the crowd on this bitterly cold evening. The US-based power trio showcased a combination of blues orientated original material as well as a medley of Hendrix hits. Guitarist Taylor has flair in spades as he channelled the great man himself whilst simultaneously playing his trusty white Fender Strat behind his head.
There was even room for a brand new tune by way of Trouble, which the band recently laid down at Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia. With its heavy groove, rumbling bassline and blistering fretwork, it is sure to be one to watch out for upon release.
Findlay’s seven-piece band are somewhat cosy onstage, with little room to spare. Heather takes to the stage bedecked in a Choose Love t-shirt, silver sequin skirt and black boots as she introduces the Newcastle audience to back to back numbers from her new album at the top of the set. This includes the likes of the beautiful ballad The Island and Just A Woman.
A mesmerising airing of Face The Sun is an early highlight of the show, and also a song which truly encapsulates many of Findlay’s influences and occupations. These are not only musical but also through Heather’s affinity to India via the Secret Sari Project and her meditation and yoga practices.
Findlay’s influences also shine through during a sublime and somewhat harmonious cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman. Whilst those same influences can also be heard tonight during tracks such as Winner.
A soaring slide fuelled airing of Already Free features in the latter stages of the show. Whilst the thought-provoking climate change inspired number Black Rain and a crowd-pleasing rendition of Unoriginal Sin, highlight Findlay’s time with Mostly Autumn at the end of the set.
Opening act Hughes Taylor returns to the stage for an astounding performance of the dramatic title track from Heather’s latest album. This, in turn, leaves the crowd wanting more. But we aren’t done quite yet. An emotive two-song encore that concludes with Forget The Rain brings the show full circle.
Tonight’s show at the Riverside Newcastle was simply breathtaking. Neither the weather, the January blues or Wild White Horses for that matter could stop the loyal Tyneside crowd from coming out in their droves to witness Findlay’s live return to the North East.