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westcoastgothicblackpool2021Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool, United Kingdom
22nd May 2021
West Coast Gothic Blackpool with Auger & Support: Novus UK, Still Forever, Stella Wembley

AUGER is a band that is a must see - they have been on the scene for only a relatively short time but have gathered momentum quickly. A great array of talent from the boys has helped achieve this. NOVUS UK have been around for much longer, and it’s good to see them supporting AUGER - there is a family connection Sarahjane Farr is the mother to Kyle J Wilson (lead singer of AUGER). A talented family indeed. STILL FOREVER is a new band to me, or perhaps I should say a new artist as Amelia Griffiths is the sole member. STELLA WEMBLEY is again new to me, and she also plays alone. This was the first gig I had been to after the Covid lockdowns. It was a ticket only, social distanced, completely seated event.

Stella Wembley

With a couple of releases behind her, an EP and a single this rising star of the dark scene seems set for an exciting future. A talented song writer, a great musician with a characterful voice and is a general all-round creative - she has total control of her videos, photography etc.

Music & Performance
After a lengthy spell away from gigs due to Covid it was fantastic to arrive at the venue. It was already quite busy with a crowd of blad clad folk enjoying being back to the gigging way of life. I met Stella before the gig, she is a bundle of energy and immediately gives the impression she is going to be a great performer. When she arrived on stage, I was perfectly correct - a truly outstanding young lady of great talent. Unfortunately, it was quite a short set of only eight songs, but I was hooked - she was truly mesmerising from start to finish. Sole performers must find it difficult to command attention from the audience, not so here. Stella seems to have a unique appeal to the crowd who soon became very enthusiastic. She plays keys and guitar. This is one artist you really must catch, trust me.

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01. Overture
02. All That I Need
03. I’ll Meet You Sometime
04. Images of Death (Remix)
05. Driven Like the Snow (Sisters of Mercy cover)
06. Alone Again
07. Images of Death
08. Stripped (Depeche Mode Acoustic cover)

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 7.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8 / 10

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Still Forever

Another new band to me and again a sole performer. Amelia says her music has elements of eighties post-punk, electro-indie, synthesised soundscape modern gothic - overlaid with atmospheric bipolar vocals. From her performance this evening I think that’s a good description and I will certainly be checking out her two albums and several singles.

Music & Performance
I was nicely warmed up now, it was good to be back! I suspect everyone in the room was much the same - despite the seated nature of the gig we all intended to have a good time! Amelia arriving on the stage was welcomed enthusiastically by the crowd - she seemed very pleased with the warm reception. Her voice is simply stunning, with great range and power - and I love her melodic, soulful tunes. She had a tech issue towards the end of the set which brought everything to a standstill - but quickly recovered. Overall a fantastic performance that I thoroughly enjoyed - gave my Covid starved ears a real treat.

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01. Medicine
02. Bleak
03. Flesh Market
04. Beautiful Impossible
05. I’d Miss the Stars
06. Outside the Timeline
07. Blood and Bone
08. Ephemeral Underground
09. Underdose
10. Witch
11. Awaken

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 7.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8 / 10

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Novus UK

NOVUS UK have been around for several years, and beforehand Sarahjane Farr the lead singer, was in the same role for FAITHFUL DAWN. Here tonight she is joined by Peter Jones on guitar and bassist Blackstone Angie.

Music & Performance
The evening was progressing nicely, and the crowd was noticeably larger and more excited. NOVUS UK have a big following within the crowd. I had spoken to Sarahjane before the gig and she admitted to being a little nervous - but I would imagine the enthusiasm of the crowd would have helped her confidence! They are 100% behind her - great to see. She arrives on stage, looking as stunning she did last time I saw the band play live several years ago. The only difference is that I recall she was blonde then, she is now totally black. Peter is an old hand of the band and is now joined by his girlfriend Blackstone Angie on bass - the three look awesome on stage. As the performance progresses Sarahjane admits that there has been little in the way of rehearsal - especially with the additional new bassist.

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I’m no season musician but it was difficult to spot, considering the gap from live performance and lack of rehearsal the band did an admirable job. Sarahjane’s vocal was fantastic, and she remembered the words perfectly - again another of her confessions she was worried about. Towards the end Sarahjane gives a two-handed thumbs up to the fans, yes, she was as pleased to see them as they were to see her.

01. Now Being Held
02. Justify
03. Closer the Net
04. Neverwhere
05. Space
06. Shapes
07. Redirect

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 7.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8 / 10

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AUGER describe their unique sound as “Dynamic Dark Rock”, being a hyper melodic amalgam of Future Rock, Industrial Pop, Goth, Electro and Metal. Kyle Wilson (vocals, programming and live keyboards) and Kieran Thornton (guitars and backing vocals) burst onto an unsuspecting scene in mid-2017 and sound found themselves creating a following through supports with CRUXSHADOWS, GOTHMINSTER, OST + FRONT, INKUBUS SUKKUBUS, SOLAR FAKE, MASSIVE EGO, SULPHER, YOUNG GODS, COMBICHRIST, CLAN OF XYMOX AND LORD OF THE LOST. They were quickly picked up by Dark Tunes Music Group for a three-album deal. Now with the albums, singles and several appearances at major European festivals they find themselves frequently at the top of DAC charts and booked to play at Stella Nomine Festival and the Out Of Line Weekender. The future is looking very bright for these two brilliant chaps. Incidentally Kyle has recently joined forces with MASSIVE EGO in addition to AUGER. It was announced in May 2021 that he was now a full-time member of the band. AUGER fans do not have to worry, the two projects will both benefit.

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Music & Performance
The last few hours with three fine bands have passed quickly, time flies when you are having fun. But it’s now time for the rather splendid AUGER to arrive on stage. The guys have blacked their hands in true Miner style, the lights dim, it’s showtime! Although I have followed the band for some time, this is my first time seeing them play live. They have a certain reputation for (let’s say) “being energetic” on stage. Boy, now I understand - they take to the stage like Tazmanian Devils, the type seen in the cartoons! Almost a blur, saying these two are on fire is like saying hell might be a tad on the cool side. They command your attention, it’s difficult to take your eyes off them. Their stage presence is more akin to seasoned performers of many years at the height of their game, not of those with only four years behind them. It is truly fantastic to see them work the crowd.

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Their playing and vocal performances are utterly perfect in amongst all the action. Kyles powerful deep voice is in such fine fettle - if a lack of being on stage has been a drain on this deep powerful vocal it certainly doesn’t show. Numerous times during the performance the ground shakes due to the seemingly impossible bass notes this chappie can muster - Satan’s thunder would have difficulty vibrating your chest as much. The guys blast through a great selection of tracks including a couple of my favourites ‘My Death’ and ‘My Guardian’ and even throwing in a couple of great covers in the two encores ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and ‘Are Friends Electric’. The most perfect end to a thoroughly perfect night - for World Goth Day we all partied like we had never partied before. You never know how much you will miss something until you can no longer do it. Thanks guys, and by that, I mean every band that played - you were all amazing!

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01. Intro
02. Substance
03. Tell Me I’m Wrong
04. Nothing Left
05. Find My Own Way Out
06. I Declare
07. Right Here Right Now
08. My Death
09. I Found Room (Waltz)
10. Who Can Help Me Now?
11. Dark Clouds
12. November Engel
13. When We Are Apart
14. Monster
15. Hit The Lights
16. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
17. My Guardian
18. Are Friends Electric?

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Light: 7.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8.5 / 10

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I’d like to make mention of the venue. It is only a small venue, but the enthusiasm, professionalism and sense of fun from all involved was fantastic. None of us will forget the QUEEN ‘I Want to Break Free’ and the Hoover moment in the interval, which brought the crowd to fits of laughter. The timing was perfect - just genius. Combine the fun with a fantastic sound system and great lighting - both well above what can be expected of a small live music venue. I’ve seen worse lights at festivals and big venue gigs. It really just has to be mentioned - Waterloo Music Bar really is the small live music venue with attitude. I wish them well, especially after the Covid lock down pressures, they deserve success.

All pictures by Kevin Stevens

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