CUZ: Cluny, Newcastle – live review
9th Sept 2015
CUZ take tonight’s audience on a tour through an incredible musical landscape, from straightforward rock ‘n’ roll to blasts of cacophonous noise!
As soon as you see Mike Watt’s name on a listing you know you’re in for an incredible evening, and tonight is no different as he comes to town touring his latest project CUZ, which features Mike himself alongside Sam Dook of The Go! Team whilst percussionist extraordinaire, E-da Kazuhisa, called in just for this tour.
Opening up though are two of the North East’s finest. Firstly, Year of Birds tear through a set of highly charged punk jams with each track lasting less than a couple of minutes and all played at machine gun pace. They set a fast and exciting pace for the evening as they play more tracks than most headliners do in their short set.
Next up are personal favourites of mine, North Shields’ Petrol Terriers, with their highly charged set going down a storm. Their tight rhythms are cut with shouted lyrics. Tracks like Martha epitomise this as these masterful post-punk tracks provide the perfect warm up for CUZ. Their set appears to be over in the blink of an eye; not as many songs as Year of Birds but they’re delivered with the same intense excitement.
This excitement continues into CUZ’s set with Mike Watt in fine form, although unfortunately Sam falls foul of some technical issues early on which prompts Mike to take over entertaining the crowd with his daft banter, perfectly bridging any gaps. Once they get into full flow though it becomes a completely different story as CUZ transport tonight’s audience through a myriad of genres and sounds.
Early favourite France Gnarl blasts of intricate percussion and Dook’s excited guitar pave the way for this incredible track. Watt and Dook seem to duel it out throughout the set, trading lines on most tracks. Yet when Dook takes over on tracks like Fickle Fortune their sound takes on a completely different tone, with a delicacy and a heartfelt beauty.
There are numerous twists and turns which at times border on the avant-garde. Blasts of cacophonous noise, almost incomprehensible and inaccessible at times, are still endearing as these three musicians cut loose. These sections are tempered by a straightforward rock sound that seems to underpin the evening, leaving us with an exceptional set that crosses many exciting boundaries with ease.
Aside from Dook and Watt’s brilliance Kazuhisa proves to be an incredible drummer and percussionist, with the most intricate and exciting style. As the set culminates in a wonderful rendition of W/ No Bee Sting, Watt’s inimitable style on show for one final time, we’re left completely in awe of these three guys who’ve eclipsed all expectations.