MODERN BASEBALL played Newcastle’s Cluny as part of their extended UK tour following Reading and Leeds Festival.
Selling the venue out well in advance, the Philadelphia emo/punk quartet made the £14 admission seem like an absolute bargain!
Drummer Sean Huber’s other band, Vicky Speedboat, opened the show to an already packed out crowd – the 300 capacity filled up ridiculously quick! Struggling do to a power failure, what guitarist William Lindsay jokingly blamed on the UK’s connection, the Philly duo still managed to put on a magnificent, riff heavy display to get the audience going.
In between acts, the ever-growing crowd sang along to bands such as Brand New, Real Friends and Citizen who were being blasted over the PA system.
Next up were Northern Irish pop-punks The Winter Passing – last playing in the region with Moose Blood, they were familiar faces and hung around to chat to fans after their set. With anecdotes such as seeing Charlotte from Geordie Shore eating a kebab (false, surely?..) and only packing one pair of jeans, fan involvement was a brilliant sight to see for a support act.
It was impossible not to bump into Modern Baseball while waiting for them to eventually come on stage around 10pm. Still walking around the bar and merch desk at 957pm, there was no pressure on their shoulders. Sean Huber returned to the stage for his second set of the night and as he perched behind his drums, the lights went down and a recording of Holy Ghost started – the rest of the band emerged from behind the curtain to a rapturous applause.
By this time, the main standing area was packed and not another person could fit. As Holy Ghost finished, the pre-recording cut out and Modern Baseball broke into Wedding Singer. Following that with, predictably, Note to Self from Holy Ghost it was evident that their latest album was the focus of their set, not that anyone seemed to be bothered!
Dabbling in older material, such as Rock Bottom and Fine, Great from 2014 record You’re Gonna Miss It All, their hour-ish long set was steering slowly into a ‘greatest hits,’ not that three albums can count as that. Bassist Ian Farmer was jumping along in his usual giddily self, as I have observed him doing since discovering the band in late 2013 on YouTube. His look is so effortless – last night sporting a Cherry Cola shirt, shorts and odd socks – absolute fashion icon.
Jacob Ewald asked: “Has anyone here been to New York?” Fans cheered. Ewald followed up with: “Fuck New York!” It was definitely time for Mass.
Luckily for long-time fans, tracks from debut LP Sports were not overlooked. Tears Over Beers, The Weekend and Re-Done all made the set before it was reverted back to a Holy Ghost heavy evening. Clear emotions were on show from Brendan Lukens and Jacob Ewald, who both wrote a side of the LP each.
With the venue so intimate it was a beautiful sight to see the musicians being so immersed in their tunes. It was the perfect size for Modern Baseball, however they are returning to the North East on Valentine’s Day 2017 for a date with the Riverside.
The band left the stage after the emotional Just Another Face, to the chants of: “One more song.” Newcastle had gave almost everything but a certain track was missing…YOUR GRADUATION!
Coming back for the You’re Gonna Miss It All hit, Farmer’s bass was handed to an audience member, to who he instructed to play it. Several notes were plucked before Farmer showed her how it was done properly.
Your Graduation was played to perfection before Modern Baseball left the stage to the loudest cheer of the evening. That was it. Gig over. Three years in the waiting and I had just witnessed Modern Baseball rip Newcastle’s Cluny apart.
As the lights came back on, The Front Bottoms‘ Twin Size Mattress played, the crowd used the very last of their energy to sing their hearts out while leaving the venue.
Tickets for Modern Baseball at Newcastle Riverside are available from See Tickets.