Stornoway and The Lake Poets

O2 Academy, Newcastle

It looked like a potentially quiet night at the O2 Academy, with the crowd slightly sparing and somewhat lacking enthusiasm, but it was soon turned around with the energy and excitement that both bands brought to the stage.

Supporting Stornoway were The Lake Poets, (or ‘Lake Poet’ as front man Martin Longstaff performed his set without accompaniment) are certainly due significant praise. Despite being on his own, Martin commanded the stage with his guitar and fantastic voice which was made even better on account of his Northern twang. His songs are becoming ever more present on the current acoustic scene, with their simple melodies and traditional folk style chorus’ and they were really moving  if a little on the miserable side.

I was sceptical of the headliners however, the name ‘Stornoway’ provoking  images of Razorlight hairstyles and cringey indie rock, but was actually pleasantly surprised by their set. Their live performances were much better than the recorded singles I had listened to as their musical talent was really showcased. They incorporated an eclectic mix of instruments and vocals with everything from violins and trumpets to a double bass, as well as a novelty appearance from some  torn-up newspaper.

However, I was not blown away with them as their lyrics were seemingly lacking and their songs seemed a bit wishy-washy, sometimes fading into each other with very similar riffs and sounds. They were even occasionally drowned out by whichever band was playing in Hall Two of O2, the singing of the woman behind me, and at a particularly low moment, the crackling of the security guard’s walkie-talkie. I did enjoy their acoustic set as they had some incredible harmonies and their choice of sea shanties was really unusual and all the more enjoyable for that.

Altogether, I felt they were a bit outshone by a more mesmerising support act.

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