Friday 9th December 2011: Paige , Army of Freshman and Zebrahead


Friday 9th December 2011: Paige , Army of Freshman and Zebrahead Gig Review

Written by Sir D

Its getting to that time of year where the weather is wickedly cold, and your frustrated about wanting to party but you just dont know how. I too know what it feels like to be in that predicament.  So whats the solution – simple the rememedy is to go to an amazing gig which will blow your mind.

I did that very thing when I went along to the Zebrahead gig with my new team Darkus photographer Kate on 9 December 2011 at one of my favourite venues, the O2 Academy Newcastle.

Speaking to Chris from the Army of Freshman before the gig there is always a risk involved with playing the last month of the year. Firstly because of the seriously cold weather, which the lads from Ventura are not use to, and secondly because this time of year people are busy in the hype up to Xmas that they tend not to come to shows.

I was about to see what Chris meant by this when the gig kicked off. Bearing in mind this was the A1 room at the Academy, I was a bit sad to see that it was not as busy as I had anticipated. Furthermore the crowd at first were a little quiet. Nevertheless  this was no obstacle for London based band, Paige.

For any gig, the performance of the first group is always a pivitol one as it can sometimes help you predict how the night is gonna develop. Paige definately gave it there all, and with great success too. Eventhough at first the crowds seem a bit reserved, this was not going to stop Paige from putting on a totally top class set.

This was the first time I had heard Paige’s music first hand, and I was totally mesmorised about there wide variety of unique yet catchy songs. It left me thinking that I need to check out more music by these guys. What I love about them as well is there down to earth attitude with the crowd when interacting, because they make you warm to their music even more.

From the sidelines, it was good to see the rest of the audience warming to them too…..and even better the room starting to fill up more and more. As Paige’s lead vocalist quite rightly said …… “Better late than never!”. Man was he right, as not only would it be a tradgedy to let such amazing music go to waste, but you would be kicking yourself if you knew what a fecking awsome time you were gonna get from the whole gig.

So then after an incredible start by Paige, it was time for Ventura, USA’s Army of Freshman to take to the stage. This is a band who have been around for nearly 14 years, and furthermore have not been back to Newcastle since 2008, but man they showed they are still fighting strong. From start to finish there performance was first class, and all members of the band, including Chris the lead singer were full of life and energy. Again I was a newbie in terms of being familar with there music, but you know what, this did not matter in the slightest. Due to the passion and enthusiasm in Chris’ voice, the Army of Freshman gave me an automatic buzz……a buzz that was lethally intoxicating and blew your mind.

Owen, another member of the band, also helping Chris out with the vocals and playing the keyboard with a broken colar bone, and his right arm in a sling, did not let that deter him. It showed because the sheer determination and commitment of this band and its members ensure that they are able to give 100% if not more. Other bands should be able to learn from the likes of Army of Freshman because they are a brilliant example of regardless of the obstacles which you are faced with, with the right attitude the problems can be overcome.

I think the favourite song of their set was their track, Get Em Up. The crowds were going crazy, hyper and just having a fecking ace time…….and it made me think to myself make sure you dont leave it another 3 years you return to Newcastle. I cannot fault the Army of Freshman whatsoever. I totally respect them for the people they are, the music they create, and the positive mentality which has enabled them to go from strength to strength each year they have been in the music scene. Its quite remarkable knowing that over 14 years these guys met as strangers in a coffee house in the USA – and 14 years later, fuck me, there music has had so much appeal throughout the world.

Two bands down, and Zebrahead left to come. Could this night anymore fecking awsome? Hell Yeah!!!! Paige and The Army of Freshman had already set the standard seriously high, so the adrenaline was flowing as the crowd eagerly awaited the appearance of Zebrahead.

If you look around the room you will see the fanatasic thing about Zebrahead’s music which will make you smile, namley that there is no age limit to their music, as people of all ages from the young to the young at heart are blown away by  Zebrahead. 

Bearing in mind its been a while since I have been in the A1 for a gig, I must say Zebrahead’s awsome performance brought no dissapointments whatsoever. There set was surrounded in a Hawai theme with palm trees, a bar and plenty of drink. It may have been freezing like hell outside, but that did not stop Zebrahead bringing their warm energy to Tyne & Wear.

There were loadsa songs on offer, some classics some new… it would be difficult to say which one was my favourite. However what I will say was that there was 3 which definately stood out for me. Firstly an impressive cocktail cover of tracks which included Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears and The Spice Girls. Not only was it fecking hilarious, but it was masterfully done.

The second and third songs which stood out for me was their classic songs Hello Tomorrow, and Rescue Me. It brought back the memories of my uni days, the days when I was first getting into alternative music……and for that I sincerely thank them.

Like the two other bands, the crowd had gone hyper to their precense and had left those who attended with a sense of pleasure that not only did they have a great night of music delivered to them, but the likes of Zebrahead and The Army of Freshman, age is nothing, because despite all the years both these bands are very much still top of their game.

For an exclusive interview with Owen & Chris from Army of Freshman keep your eyes peeled for further news, as well as photos from the gig, courtesy of my photographer, Kate 🙂



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