Live: Black Water County Banish The Winter Blues In Newcastle
Back in November Black Water County hit up some of the finest small venues in the UK in support of their superb third album, The Only Life Worth Living. The album is a folk-punk riot of noise and heart, so we had high hopes for the performance in one of Newcastle’s finest taprooms. We were not disappointed.
We might be in the depths of winter, but it’s Friday night in Newcastle and the ale is flowing across the bar that runs most of the length of the taproom. Opening act True Strays get us started in a fine manner. The Bristolian duo have been ploughing their own particularly bluesy furrow for a good while now, and it’s encouraging to see them hopefully starting to make the step up. They suit tonight’s headliners perfectly, and surely gain a few new fans in the process.
By the time Black Water County step onto the low stage, the audience are well lubricated and clearly anticipating a great show. You get the sense that BWC are a band that feed off the atmosphere in a room, and it seems that as the crowd warm up, so do the band. There’s a real energy and spark to the band onstage which is all too rare at the moment. Black Water County feel less like a band, and more like a gang who just happen to be able to crank out shit-hot folk-punk bangers like they’re going out of fashion.
Vocal duties in the band are shared between Shannon Byrom and Tim Harris, and it is an approach that works beautifully. This is no more apparent than during Here We Are Again, where the two vocal lines interweave, creating an intriguing and occasionally disorientating effect which suits the nature of this wonderfully cynical break-up ballad perfectly.
Fans of Skinner Lister, Frank Turner and the like will find a lot to love in Black Water County, but there are touches of old-school Green Day in there, as well as more than a hint of The Pogues and Flogging Molly at times, so as a soundtrack to a night in a brewery, they couldn’t really be more perfect. It’s not hard to imagine Black Water County making a step-up to larger venues for their next tour. Maybe as main support to one of the aforementioned bands. It’s certainly a show I’ll be looking our for.
Words and photos: Thomas Jackson