Newcastle three-piece band The Pale White execute a thrilling performance to a surprisingly sleepy crowd at The Cambridge Junction tonight. Their upbeat songs will remind you of a mild version of Queens of the Stone Age mixed with Arctic Monkeys. The band’s name alludes to the bright light people claim to see before they die which is a little gloomy when you find their previous name was Sun Dance.
All their songs are catchy but Reaction outdoes the others by far in terms of the lyrics and musical talent; drummer Jack Hope is so animated it’s mesmerising to watch.
Tonight gives us the opportunity to see three bands. Up next, Darlia receives a more excitable welcome from the crowd as the venue starts filling up. Lead singer Nathan Day’s performance is very impressive; he looks alert and at times manically wide-eyed which only enhances the band’s quirkiness. Queen of Hearts creates a good reception as does Dear Dairy and Sanctuary is performed extremely well on stage; the YouTube version did not give it any justice.
But no one gets a crowd going quite like another band from the North. “Come on Cambridge don’t let me down”, shouts Sam McTrusty, lead singer from Twin Atlantic in his thick Glaswegian accent. He must think the crowd is starting to wane, but they show no signs of disinterest towards the 29-year-old as right off the bat, every hand is up in the air and bodies are jumping up and down.
Wasting no time on idle chit chat, they literally spring into one of their more powerful songs of the night Valhalla. With the drums and the base beating in time making the floor vibrate under foot, this is a clear indication of what Twin Atlantic has in store for us tonight.
McTrusty as a performer has a measured aggression and his enthusiasm for his own music is infectious; He had the crowd singing along and his longstanding songs don’t seem to lessen in popularity over time. As a singer, his voice is powerful allowing him to hit those tricky vocals when parts of a song turn heavy, especially with No Sleep. In this instance he tries for a crowd surf but the unwitting audience let him down and he plummets to the floor. This did not faze him in the slightest as he finishes the song thankfully unscathed. “Have you not been to a gig before”, he later jests.
Concluding with Heart and Soul, the opening lyrics “I flick the switch on the generator so I can turn you on” are just heard in the iconic Scottish twang over the chants of the audience.
Words from Catherine Verrechia
Images from Matt Thorpe