Coronavirus has devastated the live music scene, with many concerts being rescheduled to next year, major venues being converted to temporary hospitals and grassroots venues at severe risk of closure due to the lack of business. Several attempts to revive the industry all failed except for one festival at Newcastle, where the likes of Van Morrison, Ronan Keating, The Hunna and The Lightning seeds all performed socially distanced drive in gigs at the Virgin Money Unity Arena. These gigs have turned out to be incredibly successful and Glasgowmusic were invited to travel to England and cover Chase and Status at that very venue.
Chase and Status hold a special place in my heart. I was DJing T in the Park to 15000 people one Saturday night, and dropped in “End Credits” and the place went mental. I’ve since managed to see the live setup a couple of times.
However, tonight was more about seeing a show in a socially distanced setting, owning an events company, it perked my interest.
In the morning as the car was packed to go, we heard Newcastle is going into local lockdown, thankfully tonight’s show was not affected but every other one sadly was, with Jack Savoretti, Kaiser Chiefs and Declan McKenna finishing off the festival.
Normally by September, I am Festivaled out! Though not today, as the elation ran through me as we arrived backstage. All signed in as normal, sanitation everywhere and track and trace. We were shown to our socially distanced platform to enjoy the show.
The support DJ, who was Sammy Virgi, played some old school anthems and had the place singing along. The highlight being DJ Piped Pipers smash hit “Do You Really Like It?!” With the Geordie crowd responding en masse “We’re loving it, loving it, loving it!”
Onto the main act, bringing with them their Drum and Bass anthems. The DJ and MC keeping the intensity up. They didn’t have to, tonight felt like New Years Eve as tomorrow it was an early curfew across the region. It was great to hear the new festival cry of “shake your cages!” This seasons “put your hands in the air”.
Tunes like Blind Faith, All Goes Wrong and No Problem were well received. The aforementioned End Credits nowhere to be seen, a song which would have been an apt ending to this Summers festival abrupt ending.
Overall a unique, interesting experience, one which I hope we don’t have to see again. We felt safe from start to finish, the arena was so well put together, much credit has to go to the organisers for a very secure and successful night.
Bring back live music and bring it back fast and safely. As the friends we made tonight, shows how important human interaction is.
You can find a complete photo gallery of Chase and Status via the link below, all photographs courtesy of Stewart Fullerton Photography.
Review by Craig McGee
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