band - Automatic
Local band "Automatic" wowed the crowds with their performance
as support band for New Model Army. The hall was already half full when
they came on stage.
They help fill the gap left behind by the demise of The Wildhearts with
their very similar musical direction. Only disappointment was the lack
of merchandise available from them. Quite a few people could be heard at
the stall asking if they had a CD available.
I did actually spot at least one member of NMA watching them from the
dark corner of the crowd, and he certainly seemed to be enjoying their
performance. Their set seemed to go over too quickly though, not long
enough to get a true picture of their full potential.
NMA came onstage around about 9 pm and continued to play full on for the
next 1 1/2 hours. This was being billed as the warm-up for the big
Nottingham Rock City gig, well if this was a warm-up then they must have
blown Nottingham away.
The hall was packed with fans both old and new, coming in all shapes and
guises. You had the travellers, the Goths, the rockers, and even the
tattooed skin-head brigade, on mass and hungry to see the band back in
action. They opened with 'Fate' and went on to 'Over the Wire' next.
Justin was totally into it and was strumming the hell out of his
acoustic guitar. It may have been 7 years since they last played
Newcastle, but the fans were definitely out in force that night. Many
travelling down from Scotland and even some travelling over from other
parts of Europe just to catch a show with them.
The songs they played covered
the wide spectrum of their back catalogue of hits, with 20 years under
their belts they had plenty to choose from. They also did 'Purity' and
used the keyboard to cover the fiddle parts, although a good version, I
did miss the fiddle.
The fans arms were held high and outreaching to the band as we swayed
along all night. Not many could resist dancing along with the beat they
In between songs Justin made the remarks that when NMA were first
starting out Margaret Thatcher had just become Prime Minister, and
Newcastle football team were just another 2nd division team and nothing
special. He said it felt good to have outseen Maggie!
Always a favourite with the fans was 'Green and Grey' a song which was
dedicated to the North of England. Towards the end of the set they
played 'No rest for the Wicked', probably their most famous song, which
is almost an anthem for their fans after all these years. The crowd went
totally mental and the circles of dancers which had formed broke out
into one big frenzied mass of deranged fans, swarming back and forth in
front of the stage.
The lads came back on stage to do an encore which included 'Liberal
Education' and 'Vengeance' if my mind serves me right. Welcome back NMA,
don't leave it so long next time you visit!
Over The Wire, Stranger, R & R, Aimless Desire, Wonderful Way To Go,
No Greater Love, Orange Tree Roads, You Weren't There, Vanity, 225,
Purity, Flying Through The Smoke, Stupid Questions, No Rest For The
Wicked, War, Green and Grey