SHY BAIRNS GET NOWT: Kites, Sarah Johnsone, Spilt Milk and Vennels

Oooooooh, another live review!

It’s a very warm Thursday evening in August (the 11th to be exact), and I’ve toddled down to The Cluny for Newcastle’s lastest indie night, run by Shy Bairns Get Nowt. There’s already a great atmosphere, as when I arrive, everyone and their gran appears to be out enjoying the weather. I head straight in to grab myself a carbonated beverage from the main bar, and then walk around to the doors for the main venue room (there’s air con in there, what bliss). I position myself at the side (mainly so I have somewhere to pop my drink), and await the first band to kick things off.


First to the stage are Vennels, who 100% start the night off as it means to go on, aka an absolute treat. With a fantastic mix of original material and covers, these lads certainly know how to kick things off. They seem very comfortable on the stage and work really well together, despite the fact that the line-up has been changed very recently. Jude Davidson (former drummer, now lead singer) certainly knows how to get the crowd going, and singing along! They are certainly a fab bunch, and I highly recommend that you check them out!

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Sarah Johnsone

After wandering outside to get some fresh air, I head back to my wee side spot for the second act of the night, Sarah Johnsone, and I am NOT disappointed! It’s loud, it’s funky, and my feet start to tap of their own accord. She certainly has that indie styling, with a bit of jazz and blues thrown in for good measure, and it works so well. One song that really stands out for me is her newest single “Hurricane”. She has an amazing stage presence, and really captivates a crowd.

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Spilt Milk

After another wander outside, a trip to the loo, and a drink refresh, it’s time for the third band of the night – Spilt Milk. The room is filling up more and more now, so my spot has gone, so I place myself on the other side of the room on a step (I’m short so it’s so I can see). They enter the stage (with a glass of milk) and immediately start playing “Hard Days Night”, which really seems to get the crowd amped up. These guys have such a tight sound, and such great band chemistry (probably helps that 3 out of 4 of the band are triplets). People are dancing and having such a great time, and I’m dancing as much as I can on my wee step. It’s only a small stage, but they make it feel so much bigger. The final song that they play (which they say is their favourite to play) is called “Turkey Dinosaurs”, which instantly also becomes my favourite because I love live music, and am partial to the odd Turkey Dinosaur.
You can catch them live at their own headline show on Friday the 9th of September, at The Cluny 2.

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After another wander outside, this time featuring a little sit-down, it’s time to head in for the main act of the night – local Rock and Roll band Kites. By this point, the room is very full, but thankfully my little step is still free, so I position myself, ready to be wowed. I instantly am. They really do know how to grab your attention and play so damn well. I mean they even have their own banner, that’s super cool (right?). One of the songs they played, they had never even played live before, and was quite a new one – you could not tell, it was fantastic. Of course, they played their latest single “Witch”, which was recently featured in the Alternativetracks releases of the week. Midway through the set, they take it down a notch and play a lovely acoustic-y song called “Chilli Road”, which I instantly love because I’m originally from that area. I do have to note that it’s at this point I notice people having full-blown conversations in the crowd, which is frankly just rude. It does not however take away from my experience. Kites are a fantastic band, and I can certainly see them going places.

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As soon as the gig is over, I need to rush off as it’s a Thursday and I have work the next morning. I head outside for the last time, pop my shirt on as it’s a wee bit chilly, and instantly pop on my Spotify to listen to the bands that just played. Shy Bairns Get Nowt certainly know how to put on a fab gig, with great bands, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.