Newcastle’s Echolines are no shrinking violets, with their well-honed sound paying nods to the best of hard-driven 90s indie. Tracks like ‘MakeUMine’ are all big riffs and belted out vocals and are enough to grab you by the balls whilst refusing to let go. With their own visuals, they make the most of a prestigious support slot. And as the bottles of Brown are knocked down, the lush melody of best track ‘RatherHaveU’ caps off a fine set.
It’s 22 years since China Drum first unleashed their debut long-player, ‘Goosefair’, on the world and, although vocalist Adam Lee now takes his seat at the front of the stage rather than at the drum kit – and the band are a fully formed five-piece as opposed to a power trio – little else has changed, as the familiar intro to the Husker Du-esque ‘Can’t Stop These Things’ gets the mosh-pit jumping and the memories flooding back.
Playing the full record in order means the adoring fan-base knows what to expect from their local heroes. The punk-pop ‘Fall Into Place’ is as good as anything that Green Day released when the Ovingham lads supported them on the Dookie tour, whilst the confessional ‘Biscuit Barrel’ is as intense as ever. Sadly, there’s no Bill McQueen on guitar these days but brother Dave is evergreen on bass and Adam retains his cheeky-chappy grin of youth and must be the only person in the room sporting more hair than he did in the mid-90s!
The poppy, politically-charged ‘Last Chance’ is another highlight and an encore sees the band catering for the hardcore fans, with cuts released prior to the album like label debut single ‘Great Fire’ and the excellent, ‘Barrier’. And a China Drum gig just wouldn’t be the same without a raucous cover of Kate Bush’s classic, ‘Wuthering Heights’.
It feels great to have them back as I’m sure even the stage-diver who landed on his face would agree!