The first and Northernmost night of the UK Tour, Bradford’s New Model Army thrill Aberdeen in support of their latest highly acclaimed album, “Between Dog And Wolf”.
With a formidable live reputation they always have their own achievements to be measured against, and tonight as ever, the legendary Rock Band do so with ease and deliver another incendiary show that puts the majority of bands to shame.
Both Scottish dates on the tour benefit from up and coming Yorkshire band, Monster Jaw, opening the proceedings. Under the wing of long-time NMA collaborator, Artist, Poet, Author and Tattoo Artist, Joolz Denby, Monster Jaw bristle with energy and potential. A psychedelic, sparkling Glam infused Stoner Rock band formed earlier this year, they deliver a tight and confident set to the appreciative early attendees. Charismatic Frontman Mik Davies charms the gathering crowd as the three piece set the scene for the night. Notably, members of New Model Army come front of house to watch and applaud.
…And so to the main attraction, New Model Army come out to do what they do best. New Model Army are their most alive and dangerous in the live setting. With many of the travelling fans electing to start their tour in Glasgow, the Aberdeen crowd was probably the smallest turnout I have ever seen for the band, but this just makes it a more special and intimate experience and the performance is as intense as ever!
Pulling heavily on the “Between Dog And Wolf” tracks that the tour is to promote, this is my first chance to see many of the new ones in person, allowing a fuller appreciation of the work than purely listening at home. Right from the off, opening track “I Need More Time” builds from a gentle starting point into a particularly intense end section, with Frontman Justin so animated he appeared almost possessed. A pure joy to experience.
A further seven tracks from the stunning new release naturally take the focus of the evening, but with such an extensive catalogue of work to pull on, there is plenty of space for a good helping of classic tracks from the last 30 years. Tracks are represented from all eras, with more acerbic tracks from the earlier years, “Christian Militia” , “No Rest”, “The Hunt” and a handful of tracks from my personal favourite, “Thunder And Consolation” being punctuated by more recent compositions. Enduring quality from across the decades, selections from the soundtrack to my life.
Ceri Monger, the latest recruit to the band has fitted in perfectly since taking over since the departure of the longest standing Bassist, Nelson. Big shoes to fill, with each Bassist bringing their own unique stamp to the oft dominant instrument in their sound. The product of a talented musical family, he is so comfortable on stage, obviously cherishing the experience and winning any doubters over.
Still the best live band I have ever had the privilege to witness, an accolade bestowed over and over again throughout the passing years. The opinion is unchanged, now in my third decade of getting to as many NMA shows as I can manage, this is a compulsion, a burning need, an addiction. Great music delivered with true passion, warmth and humour. An extensive body of work, always leaving you delighted and wanting more.
My only complaint… I cannot tag along for the rest of the tour. The evening flies by in the blink of an eye and is gone too soon. One day, I will take up the Season Ticket offer if I can make it fit around work, but for the meantime there is not long to wait for the traditional December gig in Nottingham in a few weeks.