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The Crack Magazine

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Ghost Signals at The Common Room

Ghost Signals + William Denton Wilde + Labyrinthine Oceans + The Golden Age of Nothing at The Common Room, Newcastle

The Common Room (formerly The Mining Institute) was the perfect setting for Ghost Signals' sold out show, with its Victorian high-gothic ceiling and huge stained glass window backdrop. William Denton Wilde opened the night with his distinctive post punk/doom laden electro. A striking figure in his 1930s style tailored suit, hat and vertiginous heels, he looked for all the world as if he was on his way to a party with Fritz Lang in some underground Berlin/Weimar bar. Between songs, this natural raconteur entertained us with his very funny banter/asides. Four piece Labyrinthine Oceans then upped the tempo with their brand of 90s grunge influenced experimental rock. Guitarist and talented vocalist/songwriter Julia O'Neill oozed laid back confidence and grunge-style stage presence, and the band sounded great together, ending with an excellent spin on a Soundgarden song. The Golden Age of Nothing are an alt/goth three-piece with Graeme Wilkinson on vocals. They brought us nihilistic musings about what’s left when things have gone (or turned to shit). But there’s an 80s tinge to their melodies: not too dark and quite dreamy. Headliners, Ghost Signals' goth-flecked, power-pop/noir has earned them an ever increasing fan-base. As the large white sculpture of the Mining Institute's first president Nicholas Wood looked down on proceedings (his monocle probably dropping into his tea) singer Rick Lanning, clad all in black, emerged on the balcony and descended the wrought iron stairs to the stage. The band opened with ‘English Fiction’, charismatic Rick’s emotive vocals and dark intense lyrics dovetailing nicely with the band’s driving riffs. Highlights were ‘Kill The North’ and ‘Start Families Avoid Shit Parties’. The guitar driven ‘Trauma, Trauma, Trauma’ seemed an unlikely title for a dance floor filler, but the crowd soon started throwing shapes. It’s a song to exorcise demons; to cast off the darkness. They then hit us up with the more contemplative ‘Lives Defined By Winter Skies’, from their debut album of the same name, and finished with the more upbeat ‘Love What You Like’. Passionate dark songs, then, but songs with a light that shines on through.

Deb Snell