Another partly sunny/partly overcast Sunday in South Shields can mean only one thing for the Hoopers. A Bents Park concert as part of the South Tyneside Festival. This time the headliner was Busted. Still to come is the X Factor show on 23rd July and Sister Sledge on the 30th July.
Just like the week before at KT Tunstall we had pre-purchased the £5 priority tickets for guaranteed entry to the park. Unlike the week before, we massively underestimated the popularity of Busted. Busted attracted a much larger queue. The increase in crowd numbers almost felt like poor KT was a little bit of a warm up gig to get the local people into the swing of the South Tyneside Summer festival season.
Leaving my parents house around 12pm (it a 5 minute walk) we saw a huge queue snaking around Bents Park…and everyone in it had a priority ticket. The end of the queue was signposted by a massive sign saying unsurprisingly “End of the Queue’. You couldn’t miss it. There were plenty of marshals keeping people in check and making sure no one pushed in. The queue did move down pretty fast, despite bag checking from the security team. Within half an hour of joining we pitched up in the more of less identical spot to the week before. To the left of the stage within close proximity of the Minchella van! Creatures of habit.
Picnic rugs and foldy camping chairs are essential for the afternoon as is chilled prosecco. My parents have really upped their picnic game since they moved to the coast. Our feast this week consisted of quiche, southern fried chicken, couscous and hummus. They’ve gone all posh! I need to make more effort with our picnics it has to be said! A cling filmed ham sandwich just won’t cut it now.
Anna Foster (from BBC Radio Newcastle) was back on the South Tyneside Festival hosting duties introducing the afternoon line up. First up was 18 year old South Shields lad, Sonny, who came on stage just with his guitar singing a few of his original tracks (his debut EP Hopeless Romance is out now) and a few covers. Sonny’s cover of ‘What’s Going on?’ by the Four Non-Blondes got the crowd singing along.
Call on Sunday
Formerly The Waiters, I got to know these guys when they performed at the Girl Guiding Festival Wellies and Wristbands a few years ago. All hailing from South Tyneside they performed high energy original tracks alongside covers of McFly ‘5 Colours in her Hair’ and Walk the Moons ‘Shut up and Dance’. Call on Sunday were the perfect Busted support band and clearly take a lot of inspiration from the headline band and their pals McFly.
Lead singer Jack donned a cricket shirt belonging to Liam Curry who sadly with his girlfriend Chloe Rutherford lost their lives in the terrible Manchester attack. Liam and Chloe had been good friends of the band. Jack dedicated one of their tracks to the lovely couple who loved to see live music. A poignantly sad moment to reflect on the loss of two youngsters from the town taken too soon.
Crowd all warmed up and the sun finally making an appearance it was the turn of The Understudies to rock Bents Park. These guys had brilliant talent and were tight musicans. The lead singer had a voice reminiscent of James Dean Bradford of the Manics. The Understudies set consisted of covers of the Buggles ‘Video killed the Radio Star, Franz Ferdinard “Take me Out’ and the Police ‘Little Thing’. Great local band that got the town rocking.
Finally it was time for the main band everyone was here to see Busted. This band were massive back in the early noughties and although we were big into our indie music then I must admit I did have a soft spot for Charlie Busted with their catchy, if not with slightly dodgy lyrics. ‘That’s what i go to School for’ and ‘Air Hostess’…. I’m looking at you!
Now I had to do a little wiki research here, but Busted were formed in 2001 and split in 2005 when Charlie left to form a punk band Fightstar. In the four years they were together they released 2 albums, sold 5 million records and won two Brit awards. Pretty impressive. Busted reformed back in November 2015 releasing new music and album Night Driver. Rehab, Celeb Jungles, acting ambitions, punk bands and McBusted (the tour with McFly) all in the past.
Busted interwove their new tracks from Night Driver with the old classics which worked really well. The guys are all clearly good musicians who can write catchy pop tunes and have a great stage presence. Highlights were ‘Year 3000′ which got the crowd all on their feet dancing and for me the slower stuff like “Sleeping with the Lights on’ which I’d kind of forgotten all about. It’s been in my head ever since! The aforementioned ‘What I go to School for’ did sound a bit odd coming from three guys in their mid 30’s but I think they just about had the swagger and confidence to pull it off.
South Tyneside Festival
Sadly it was time to pack up our belongings in the park and head back home. This concert was a much busier affair but none the less an excellent afternoon of music and good company. Keep the good work coming South Tyneside and maybe one day Newcastle City Council could put on an event as good as this!
For more information see South Tyneside events.