Artist: Spillage 

Venue: Buddies, Greenbank, Chester-le-Street

Date:  30 March 2001 

Tonight we have a rare treat at Buddies for local celebrities Spillage have come to play our humble venue. I say they are local celebrities because they are the only North East band to get through to the finals of the national Battle of the Bands competition.

Not only have they come to perform here tonight but they have also brought with them a huge following, one of the best turnouts this venue has seen since it started having bands on. Hailing from Wearside this five piece band take to the stage through the thick fog that has been thrown out by the smoke machine. Whoever was in charge of the machine was a bit on the enthusiastic side but it wasn't long before the airs cleared and we could actually see who it was on stage performing.

Lead singer Alan Greener has the face of an innocent but the voice of a rock legend. It was strange at first to see such a young man open his mouth and sing so deeply and with such a mature voice.

Next to him we had the two guitarists Phil Curry and Martin Crangle, better known as just 'Crangle' to his followers.

On bass guitar we had John Hay and last but certainly not least, the man at the back, we had Dean Pearson on drums.

The set was a mixture of both original material and covers. Before you say it, yes I know anybody can play covers, well that may be true but can they play them as well as these guys? I very much doubt it.

Another astounding thing is that although they may be young in years, their musical ability and their choice of songs is way beyond their years.

A lot of the songs they performed tonight we out long before they were even a twinkle in their fathers eye, and yet they played them so well and with so much passion you would find it hard to believe they weren't reliving some past concert they had been to. They really know how to capture the moment with their delivery of a song.

The cover versions they played in the first set included 'Symptom of the Universe' and 'Sweet Leaf' by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin's 'Whole lotta Love', and also the hit 'Look at me Now' by Pantera.

Amongst their own tracks we heard the wondrous tune 'The Kid' which really got the crowd rocking. Throughout the whole of the first set we didn't have one duff note. Yes we did have a couple of broken guitar strings, but they were promptly sorted out and Dean did an impromptu drum solo to keep us amused.

Obviously this young man has a wicked sense of humour as he started his solo off with that old rock anthem 'Old McDonald had a Farm'! lol. Good to see someone that can not only think on their feet, but can also bring a smile to the face of the baying crowd when a possible disaster occurs.

After a short break which allowed the band a chance to catch their breath and have a drink before heading back onstage they launched straight in with another Led Zeppelin favourite 'Rock n' Roll'. The room was really hot by this time but it didn't stop a swarm of dancers taking to the front of the dance floor to give it all they had. Next we had one of my favourites 'For whom the bell Tolls' by Metallica. This time more dancers took to the floor and there was very little room left for anybody else to get up.

The set continued and we heard 'Heart Breaker' by Led Zeppelin, which pleased the biker crowd.  'Nothing else Matters' by Metallica, which pleased the younger crowd, and then the relatively new and wonderful 'Judith' by A Perfect Circle' . The crowd appreciated the good mix of hits old and new and a great time was had by all. The band continued the mood with another of their own songs 'The Feeling' which was very good and went down well.

Sadly, all good things have to come to an end and the set was finished off with 'Enter Sandman' by Metallica. By this time practically the entire room were trying to squash on the dance floor for one last frantic mosh. A perfect ending to a perfect gig.

Although the set was more covers than original material, the songs that they did perform that were their own were very good. They have a tough decision to make though now, whether to carry on with their sets doing both their own and covers, which will see them do fine as they are so good at the songs they cover, there will always be clubs wanting to book them. Or whether to do less and less covers and move on to do more of their own material and push that forward.

The big boys will come sniffing if they heard their own material, I'm certain of that, but do they want it in the end? You can be a little fish in a big pond and make a small splash with your own material, or you can be a big fish in a small pond and do the club circuit with a half half mix.

In the mean time if you get the chance, go and see these lads. They have a lot of talent and if you like the songs they performed tonight then you will love them live as they cover them all magnificently.


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