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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Last Metro

I don't normally head in to Newcastle on a Saturday night but I'd been asked to review a gig at The Cluny for Prog magazine: the Mike Keneally Band with Godsticks and Matt Stevens.

As venues go The Cluny is one of my least favourites. It has a great bar and the vibe is good but the space in which the music is held isn't ideal. The room shape makes viewing and listening a variable experience. I've seen a ton of bands here over the years but I always have to gird my loins as it were before going.

The biggest problem however is getting home from The Cluny. Gigs tend to finish a shade too close to buses and Metros going off. Getting a taxi home ends up costing you more than the fee for reviewing the gig. So, for me, Cluny gigs always contain an element of tension: loving the band but wanting them to finish so that I can make it to the last Metro in time and avoid the taxi.

On the up escalator...


 Crossing over the Central motorway...



Looking down at where Manors station was once located...


Here it is taken in the early 1960s but looking pretty much as it did when I was using it on a nightly basis to get home in the 1970s...


Here's everything you ever needed to know about Manors Station including a still of Michael Caine from Get Carter.

And here where it is now...


onto New Bridge Street heading for The Cluny...


Stepney Bank awaits...


I used to drink down here every Saturday night at the Ship Inn getting on for over 30 years ago. Back then, the cobbled lanes that splayed off to the sides still held a charge that enabled the long lost Victorian past to seep and crackle into the 20th Century via the medium of decay, grime and neglect.


Since then the area has been the subject of much improvement and commercial regeneration, with abandoned goods yards and pigeon-infested factory units now housing numerous arts organisations and creative industries.

However, something of that rather bleak and pensive atmosphere persists still. It has also has the air of an exterior shot from an old TV show. Walking along at any moment you expect to see Jack Regan and George Carter or some equally side-burn bearing ghosts of the 1980s to come barreling out yelling "You're nicked, sunshine!"


Dear old Albion has seen better days...






Onto The Cluny...



Tonight I met Matt Stevens. We've been yakking on Facebook and Twitter for a couple of years now, so it was lovely to be able to finally meet in person.

Also present was Roger Palmeri another social media pal I've met in person for the first time...


Matt took to the stage...



Followed by the mighty Godsticks...



 Followed by the Mike Keneally Band...





Wonderfully wacky experimental pop-rock prog rock choons from all concerned.

Afterwards I had a brief word with Mike and we were looking forward to chatting more after he'd finished working the merch stand. Tragically, the late hour meant if I didn't get my lardy but back up Stepney Bank pronto I'd miss the last Metro home. Not wanting to miss the chance to chinwag with Mike I'd decided to hang the expense and get a taxi.

However, after ringing a couple of firms I discovered that the earliest a car could get to me would be well after 1.00 a.m. That would mean me having to hang around in the freezing cold long after the musicians had departed for their hotel.

So I said goodbye to Matt and, somewhat against the odds, I made it back to Manors with three minutes to spare!


Even down here, amidst the glare of modernity, something of the past still echoes loudly...




2 comments:

CBQ said...

Great entry Sid - combining a prog rock gig with a history of Newcastle scenario - v enjoyable!

Sid Smith said...

Cheers, as ever, Mr.CBQ!

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