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The Evening Chronicle: Young Reviewers

The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle runs a competition and writing opportunity every year, which I would highly recommend. It’s called the ‘Young Reviewers’ scheme, and it allows for up and coming journalists to get press access to events around the North East. With this access, you are expected to write a review.

The first stage is to write your own review, which you send to The Evening Chronicle when the competition is opened. Then a group of the best writers are chosen, who become the reviewer pool, for the next year.

If your work is good, and Gordon Barr, the Entertainment Editor, is impressed with what you write, then your reviews will be printed in the paper. They’re sometimes available to view on The Evening Chronicle website too.

I was lucky enough to have quite a few things published, things which I’ve linked to previously on this blog:

It’s a brilliant opportunity, because it can often take you out of your comfort zone. Obviously my main area of writing up to that point was based around a music setting, but when offered the opportunity to reviews things like ballet and comedy, I jumped at the chance.

It adds to your portfolio, and that’s always a good thing, and you get to and experience a bunch of new and cool stuff, so yeah, I’d definitely recommend it. Added to this, there is a prize for the top two writers from the reviewers pool, and I was lucky enough to come away with a notebook laptop, so that just makes it even better.


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Keane – O2 Academy Newcastle (Evening Chronicle)

After a four year wait Keane are finally back with their new album, Strangeland. Bursting back onto the scene, they are marking the release with a UK wide tour, and the first night was a sellout gig at Newcastle’s O2 Academy.

They are a band which are paradoxically as simplistic as they are complex. The power of Tom Chaplin, the front man’s, voice actually surprising me at first. It was record perfect song by song as the entire show went on. From the hauntingly beautiful emotion filled, Bedshaped to the soul rousing anthem, This is The Last Time, you could see him pouring his entire self into every track. As a band, they are just four young guys who love making music and happen to have the talent to pull it off. They have a list of hits a band twice as old would be proud of.

The set list was a collection of their greatest songs to date such as Somewhere Only We Know and Is It Any Wonder? sitting alongside a selection of songs from the new album, and the transition between the two was seamless. The new songs stick to the same formula which Keane are famous for. The piano and sythesiser set the basis for the tracks, whilst the other elements are built up layer by layer, forming a complex wall of sound. The tracks on display from Strangeland showed a more melancholy sound, but the usual upbeat riffs and sing-along choruses meant they were appreciated by the eager crowd, which isn’t often the case. The Starting Line was my pick of the bunch, a slow meaningful buildup of exquisite lyrics and rhythmic synthesized pianos to a rousing chorus which soars just as well as their best hits.

Keane have taken their time creating Strangelands, and it really shows. Tom himself introduced every track as being his favourite from the new album, I can’t blame him, it’s certainly a great collection.


The English Youth Ballet: Swan Lake (Evening Chronicle)

On Monday night I had the pleasure of heading over to the Tyne Theatre to check out The English Youth Ballet present their adaptation of Swan Lake. The tragic love story of Odette and Prince Sergei, separated by his higher birth, and the meddling of the villainous Von Rothbart, who is determined to instead facilitate the marriage of his daughter Princess Odile to the Prince.

The English Youth Ballet has been going for 14 years, and was set up to allow young dancers throughout England to perform quality ballet productions in a fully professional setting. The ages of the performers ranged widely from 8-18, as well as Professional Principal Artists taking roles. With a cast of over one hundred, the scale of the ballet was truly staggering, culminating in a kaleidoscope of colour and outstanding talent.

The energy and flowing story which runs throughout each scene really is a credit to the director, Janet Lewis. As while the original story has been altered to suit the production and cast, the magic of still shines brightly.

The standout performance unsurprisingly was down to Oliver Speers in his role as the Prince, a spectacular showing of his skill and refined craft. At times he was nothing but a blur on the stage in a flurry of spins and spring jumps across the stage, and his chemistry with both the Princess and Odette really was a delight. While in return they also displayed an exquisite level of talent and poise, through individual skill and beautiful interaction.

From the smallest part to the leads, the quality was consistently brilliant. Every movement was perfect and drew the audience into a magical world, whilst the music was woven beautifully against it. Tchaikovsky’s score is utterly stunning and throughout builds tension and drama, whilst soaring at times, bringing with it excitement and merriment, in all the right places. It really was a quality night, everyone involved should be very proud.

Music In Focus

First post on the new blog. Hello peeps and peoples.

What will follow is a long and hopefully enjoyable journey through the world music industry. Photographs from the pit and reviews from my head, out of my fingers and thrown at your faces.

Before i get to the newest stuff, just going to update the blog with all my previous writing and photographs.