REVIEW: Battle of the unsigned bands @ Newcastle’s Head of Steam - 7th September 2012

Moody Gowns, The Wind-up Birds and So What Robot

It was Leeds vs. Newcastle at the latest ‘The Outsider’ night at The Head of Steam. Representing the NE were 80’s inspired, whimsical progsters ‘So What Robot’ who were joined by two travelling bands from North Yorkshire – ‘The Wind-up Birds’ and ‘Moody Gowns’. It was a close call as to who won. ‘So What Robot’ are a thrill to watch; in particular for the astonishing bass skills of their front man Paul Bentley who flawlessly riffs his way through their prog-pop repertoire while never missing a note or a line. ‘The Wind-up Birds’ were less impressive, but hugely enthusiastic. The most ‘Leeds’ out of the two, front man “Kroyd” is like Johnny Vegas (in sound NOT looks!) giving a sermon; it’s passionate, northern poetry delivered in a frantic style. The endearing “taa very much” at the end of each song was a particular highlight for the Geordie crowd. ‘Moody Gowns' offer Punk, post-punk, ska, electronica, you name it - there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Fronted by Nathan Woolsey who has a sort of Johnny Rotten type appeal/look, moves around the stage like a space invader, while whacking his effects pad like an excitable child. Excellent stuff. The winners though were the locals – seriously, go and check 'So What Robot' out this year.

Words by Andrew Openshaw