Band: The Brew

Venue: The Cluny 2, Newcastle 

Date: 4 May 2014



Where were you on Sunday 4th May? Nowhere special? At the pub, probably like most on this Bank Holiday weekend?? Well, you should have been at the Cluny 2 to witness one of the best gigs that has possibly been on since the place opened, courtesy of one hell of a band named The Brew.  And how disappointed will they have been when only about 30 people bothered to turn up!! But did this put the band off? Erm .. like hell it did! As the echoes of AC/DC's 'Shoot To Thrill' ended, the band stormed the stage and burst straight into 'Repeat', the first track on their brilliant new album (Control), a deafening rocker of immense power for a 3-piece, and, bugger me, ain't it LOUD!!!

After a quick 'Hi Newcastle' from front man guitarist/vocalist Jason Barwick, 'Master' continued on in the same vein, shaking the room for all it is worth, the band obviously not put off by the lack of a crowd in front of them as they slid into a frenzied mini-jam part way through, bassist Tim Smith and Drummer Kurtis Smith showing that it's not all about a front man tonight, 'we can also play like mad men too'!  A nice touch by the band thanking support act Albany Down for a fine set (which we missed most of, sorry chaps!), sees them start to build up the slow-burning 'Muse' before it explodes into an epic groover that blows away the cobwebs, though it doesn't deter the bloke standing right in front of the stage, Dad-dancing for all his worth!

Fortunately the lads wind their necks in a bit to give us a break with the mind-blowing 'Pause', it's spine-tingling reverbed guitar and atmospheric drumming combining majestically to bring a hush to the room, Barwick's voice now well and truly warmed up as he soaks up the chilling mood of this brilliant song, one you just want to hear all over again when it ends.  Now one thing you begin to realise by now, and that is that The Brew are a VERY mobile bunch, because they just can't stay still for very long, can they!  Between them, the guitarist and bassist leap around the small stage as if there's an electric current shooting through them, and that's one of the endearing things about them tonight, they have gone for broke, even under what could have been off-putting circumstances, so hat's off to you for that lads.

Next up is 'Every Gig Has A Neighbour', named because when the band did gigs in the past, there was always someone living nearby who complained about the noise, and no wonder, my ears are still ringing 5 days later! They also like to joke about between each other, claiming to have been together for 110 years, as it felt that long, and the way they played the bluesy rocking 'Little Wings', vocals by bassist Tim Smith for a change, then you could well believe that quip!  Extravagance at it's best!

Bass solo!!  Yes, there's a mini bass solo of a two-stringed affair to open 'Shuffle' (not a G or Banjo!!), while a shredding guitar riff bonanza takes place soon after, and for once only the drummer is as manic as the other two are static!  Yes, we did realise you were still there! With the statement 'now for a bit of Psychedelia', the Doors/early Fleetwood Mac-like 'Kam' begins with an aching guitar solo that has you almost tasting the acid ... ma-a-an!! Just when you think this is an instrumental, the vocals come in and you're completely bowled over.  Peter Green would be proud, dudes.  You took us on a journey and nearly forgot to bring us back!  That bloke at the front was WELL into it, and we were knackered just watching him.  

The pounding intro to 'Skip' has the room shuddering again, making sure that everyone in the place is kept on their toes, (see 'bloke'!!), and they are as when I scanned the room, there wasn't anyone standing still, even the Mrs next  to me, so a definite sign of a good gig.  Harking back to the days of Led Zep next as Barwick begins his party piece by playing his guitar with a violin bow on the old-style rocker 'Bow' (yeah, I get it now!), Smith's rumbling bass adding to the scene before 'the other Smith' lets hell loose on his drumkit!  His solo ends all solos tonight, like Animal on speed to begin with, then he has the audacity to start playing with his hands!  Eat your heart out, Tommy Aldridch! After 'incy-wincy spider(??), the others eventually rejoin the mayhem to finish off in a crescendo of noise to everyone's encores of 'More, More'.

Barwick then states that we should keep supporting live music, keep supporting ROCK MUSIC!, before what became a bit confusing!  Now, does 'Million Dead' begin with a rat-a-tat intro then into a smooth R&B-based thumper or is it a track called 'Chas'??  As the song went along, they began to throw in snatches of 'Baby Please Don't Go' then 'Whole lotta Love' into the mix and it all got a bit... yeah, confusing, especially when the song seemed to drift in another direction and possibly then into 'Million Dead'?  Help me out, guys! 

Anyway, it all ended in a blast of feedback that bought more well deserved appreciation from the small, but over the moon crowd who had thoroughly enjoyed themselves tonight.  And with that, it was all over, but the band stayed back to talk to the people who wanted to meet them, which was just about the whole 'crowd', especially 'the bloke' who had snaffled some drumsticks along the way! What a gig, it was brilliant!!

A band such as The Brew should NOT be playing to such a sparse crowd as they did tonight when they can come up with the goods like this, so somewhere along the line, the promotion needs to be dealt with better, and the Cluny could also do more.  They always play music in the bar for their punters, so maybes when a band is due to play, they could add some of the band's songs to their compilations to hopefully get someone interested in what they're hearing and maybes want to check the band out, or better still have the band's album as a guest soundtrack one day and advertise it as a future gig?  Not only will the band possibly benefit, but the venue would as well (for takings!).  Food for thought, Cluny??

Review by: Robb Baldwin





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