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Monday, April 07, 2014

GIJF – Day Three - Shiver

(Review by Russell).
Sunday afternoon, Hall Two, standing room only three floors up. Clearly some had heard of Polar Bear and some had heard of Shiver. Local heroes Shiver with guest vocalists are Geordie Heroes (drummer Joost Hendrickx awarded Honourary Geordie status). Home grown, the trio – Chris Sharkey (guitar), Andy Champion (electric bass) and Hendrickx – recently took their music on the road and this Gatehsead International Jazz Festival appearance held extra appeal with guest vocalists Zoe Gilby and John Turrell invited to join them on stage.
The trio kicked-off in fine style taking no prisoners with a searing Hammerhead Blues. Chris Sharkey spoke of the tune’s genesis: proud of his Geordie roots, acknowledging the region’s largely lost heavy industrial base – coal, steel, shipbuilding – hence Hammerhead. This was meat and drink to bassist Andy Champion, locking onto steam hammer riffs, the accumulated dust of long gone industries blown away in a sustained attack with Hendrickx. Sharkey, restless on fret board and stage, developed ideas at lightening speed, then a change of direction, then another, pedal board pressed into action. The lean left hander (powder blue Strat) moved this way then that returning to the pedal board to signal ‘diversion ahead’.
Champion had his share of the electronic hardware (Hendrickx’s kit similarly wired) and put the boot in with some staggering bass playing. The Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle fell victim to ‘progress’, demolished some years ago to make way for an all under one roof ‘experience’ of chain restaurants, pubs and multiplex cinema. Sharkey lamented its loss – from the foxtrot dance band era to the days of pretty boy/ugly (delete as appropriate) heavy metal bands. So, we got Quickstep. It was quick alright, Shiver style! What next? Sharkey introduced the afternoon’s guest vocalists. The pre-gig assumption was we would hear two vocalists and indeed we did. Make that four vocalists (more of that later!). The principal guests – Zoe Gilby (her late dad Mike once a formidable member of the trumpet section at the Mayfair back in the old days) and John Turrell – strode out casual, confident. Any sane person would be terrified! How on earth would they be heard on this gig?
Heard they were, sections written to accommodate the voice, other sections full on power trio and vocals! Tyneside has a history of collaborative projects. Many moons ago before Sting became a global megastar he worked on a ‘rock opera’, for want of a better term. Here at Sage Gateshead Chris Sharkey premiered something of a ‘stadium power metal-scored operatic opus’. John Turrell’s soulful voice an inspired choice for this project, Zoe Gilby explored new territory with an astonishing, brave performance, the screaming rock goddess! An intense Gilby – Hendrickx vocal/drums feature heard Gilby utterly uninhibited, urged on by Hendrickx. Quite remarkable. So, it can be said Shiver came up with something different! The four vocalists? Turrell and Gilby and…Sharkey and Champion. Well, well, well! Backing vocals but nevertheless vocals. Whatever next?!
Russell.

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