It’s pissing down with rain, blowing a gale and pretty damn cold and I’m going to spend my Friday night in a warehouse on an industrial estate in deepest Byker. There are two reasons for this apparent madness – one; the warehouse has been converted into a gig venue called Think Tank? and two; This Ground Moves are playing there.
This Ground Moves (TGM) are a Newcastle band and have been going for a while now under various names with various band members, but they are now really starting to kick on and there is a definite buzz about them. Recently they have headlined a festival in Italy, toured with the Pigeon Detectives around northern England and their new single, Shoulders of Fortune, has been played on CSI: New York! It’s this single the band are launching tonight.
Hoults Yard used to be a complex of industrial warehouses but now it’s home to loads of creative enterprises and plays hosts to all kinds of gigs, parties and festivals. Think Tank? is a relatively new venue but already it is attracting some top quality artists and building a reputation as an ‘underground’ location in a city which lacks anything of the sort. Being out of the way, there’s no chance of anyone passing by, so bands need to get their fans along and happily a decent sized crowd of ‘Ground Movers’ have made their way to Hoults Yard for an eagerly awaited show.
TGM arrive on stage for the first of their two sets of the evening, entering from the back door which leads to the back alley which acts as backstage. Wrapped up warm in coats and scarves, the band launch into their first single, The Waitress, which is a few years old but remains a cracking indie rock song and is one of my favourites. Next is the shout-along Feed Me To The Dogs and dancey, funky, Car Crash, which really start to warm the crowd up. The band then strip back to rhythm guitarist Stephen with an acoustic guitar, and bring on a live violinist, Patrick Lawrence, to play the next tune with vocalist Micky. The violin sounds brilliant and to me it sounds really mournful and melancholy in this old warehouse. It is without a doubt the highlight of the set, but I’m afraid I don’t recall what it’s called and this won’t be the last time I’m cursing forgetting my notebook! The next song is a surprise too, as the band invite a female vocalist onstage to accompany them, and anyone watching the band for the first time would surely struggle to compare them to any other band because all their songs so far have been quite different from each other and for me it is this diversity which really stands the band apart from your average alternative band.
The band’s second appearance of the night sees them blasting through a more dance oriented set, showing their varied influences and ability to work a crowd. Heart has the crowd dancing and there are a lot of smiling faces. There is a really positive atmosphere and it’s confident stuff from the band. For me, the best song of the second half is Become The Sunshine which is a seriously banging tune, and reminds me a bit of a classic Charlatans or Primal Scream track?
The set closes with the the defiant and anthemic End of The World and singer Micky jokes that he may as well have a break because everyone know the words and sings along. The band says their thanks and goodbyes and the crowd roar for an encore. Of course we all know there is an encore coming because Shoulders of Fortune hasn’t been played yet and sure enough TGM deliver. It’s a real rumbling burning track and goes down a storm.
This time it really is the end and I reckon it’s been a great night. Yeah the sound was a little bit dodgy, the beer was a little bit too expensive, and it was a little bit chilly, but This Ground Moves more than made up for it. The crowd are chanting “This Ground Moves, This Ground Moves…” hoping that this is just the beginning for this up and coming band. In the new year, the album “You Are Not The End Of The World” is released which will be launched with a full UK tour. Go see them. 8.8/10
Words & Photos by Neil Johnson
This Ground Moves: