Xiu Xiu: Sage, Gateshead – live review

Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu play the music of Twin Peaks

Sage, Gateshead

5th October 2015

An evening that transcends the traditional, as the Sage and Xiu Xiu go all out to provide an incredibly immersive Twin Peaks experience.

As far as cult TV shows go, they don’t get much bigger than Twin Peaks, something which is immediately evident this evening. Strolling through the Sage’s vast open area it’s filled with characters from the show, and to say that the Sage have gone all out would be something of an understatement, having transformed the Northern Rock Foundation Hall into their very own Black Lodge, and as people took turns posing in the chair, the atmosphere built.

Everywhere you look there’s more snippets from the TV series, this evening quickly transcends that of your typical gig. As everyone takes their place, there’s a palpable tension in the air as Xiu Xiu take to the stage. They open with the theme from Twin Peaks as any previous tension dissipates; the crowd are transfixed as Jamie’s erratic drumming sets the night off in style.

Xiu Xiu

What ensues though is a trip through the wild, the weird and the wonderful as these three multi-instrumentalists power through an incredible set. The mind-bending electronics are a heavy feature this evening, as the crowd are firmly placed under Xiu Xiu’s spell. From acute scuzzy claustrophobic cacophonies that are harsh and unrelenting, to expansive atmospheric chill out tracks.

Their set has everything; Jamie’s fleeting vocals are as intriguing as his dance moves, both of which are coupled with his ecstatic guitar, whilst the quieter moments are filled with Shayna’s haunting glockenspiel. It’s an impressive display of power, all of which is underpinned by the sinister tones of Angela’s piano.

Xiu Xiu

As Shayna steps up to the mic to read an eerie passage from Laura’s diary, the crowd cheer with excitement as the band go on to repeat the theme and close out the evening. There’s an exceptional amount of love in the room tonight, Xiu Xiu do the soundtrack justice. Their renditions are haunting, thrilling and sinister  and provide a wide musical spectrum from discord to expansive beauty. It’s so much more than your average gig, and both band and venue have gone all out to provide an incredible evening.


Xiu Xiu  can be found online here xiuxiu.org. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @XiuXiuforLife.

All words and photos by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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