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Live review: West Coast Gothic – Auger, Novus UK, Still Forever and Stella Wembley

Who would have thought that a virus originating on the other side of the world would mean we’d have over a year of no live music? After the gap I was chomping at the bit to get out there with my own kin and listen to some bands! Thank you West Coast Gothic for working so hard to put together this mini-festival in Blackpool so soon after the restrictions were lifted – it certainly lifted my spirits!

I arrived at the venue, Waterloo Music Bar to be greeted by a gathering of people dressed in black – how I’ve missed this! After a short introduction to everybody involved from the mastermind behind

this event Stephen Farr, and a brief overview of the guidelines for this socially distanced ticket only gig, I was free to enjoy myself. The venue would be classed as a small music venue, but in pub terms

its pretty large. It’s split into three areas, the largest of course being the stage area where the bands play. Tonight it is laid out with tables and benches as it is a seated gig to keep within government rules. Masks were to be warn once you are on your feet, the time sat at your bench you didn’t need to wear one. Servers bring the drinks to the table, but they were pretty slow in recognising when you wanted a drink – the idea was to light up an empty wine bottle when drinks were needed. We devised various methods to make sure the servers saw the lights! All adding to the fun of the evening.



Stella Wembley

Stella Wembley arrives on stage to kick off the evening. She looks simply stunning, and dives straight into her characterful style. I love her singing voice, a seductive accent that just seems to somehow echo of yesteryear, a period of time perhaps in the 1930’s in my imagination. She plays keyboard and guitar on stage. She is a confident performer and conveys emotion brilliantly – I was completely mesmerised. I loved her performances of ‘Images of Death’, and if you’ve not heard this single I would urge you to give it a listen. A short set, I would have happily listened to more, a predict she has a great future ahead of her in the scene.


Still Forever

Still Forever were next to take to the stage – another soul performer, Amelia Griffiths. I’ve not seen Still Forever play live before – perhaps I have an over-active imagination but as the set progressed I couldn’t stop thinking of how much Amelia reminded me of Alison Moyet in the Yazoo years. All the electronics and a soulful voice no doubt helped this along. I really enjoyed watching and listening to Still Forever, it’s an artist’s back catalogue I will be delving into more. A rather spiffing performance was slightly knocked off track by a technical hitch with a loose cable. Quickly and professionally rectified, none of us were the worse for it.



I’d talked to Sarahjane from Novus before the gig. She admitted to being nervous and was worried she might not remember the words to her songs. She needn’t have worried! As she arrived on stage

she looked great, joined by Peter Jones on guitar and newcomer Blackstone Angie on bass. The three looked fabulous – but I can tell you, they sounded even better. I’ve not seen Novus play for many years, and have missed them, it was great to hear those tunes and Sarahjane’s great voice. They put on a near perfect, good choice of songs, and even managed to pull this off without rehearsals with the new bass player – outstanding. I say near perfect as Sarahjane was sticking to the floor with what appeared to be some kind of gooey white snow on stage! But as they powered through, she eventually gave the thumbs up to us all – she was as happy to be on stage as we were to hear her.



Before I get to the headliner, the interval provided a great giggle for us all. The ‘snow’ on stage that had caused problems for Novus was being ceremoniously hoovered by one of the Waterloo Music Bar staff. Whoever was playing the interval music had a great sense of humour, and quickly swapped tracks to play Queen’s ‘I Want to Break Free’. The crowd immediately saw the funny side, and the poor guy hoovering had one choice – to play along doing the Freddie hoovering moves!



The rather splendid Auger took to the stage in their legendary energetic style. These two know how to put a show on! They both have immense talent and energy, and are currently one of my favourite

bands to emerge from the UK scene. Kyle literally bounces around the stage, with that booming deep voice just effortlessly filling our ears whilst Kieran somehow still manages to steal your attention playing in a style that just seems to ooze excitement. The longest set of the night, they play to the crowd and can work an audience as well as any other performer. Scorching through all the

favourite songs, the crowd lapped it up and the evening was now a party. Song after song I’d hear myself say to myself – I’m so pleased they played that one. Now how often do you see a gig when

that happens? There’s always the one I’m tired of hearing or otherwise think it would have been missed off the set. Not for Auger tonight, simply a stunning offering of songs – even managing to

sneak in a new single ‘Dark Clouds’ before it was officially released. If you never seen Auger play live it needs to be said that you are missing out, a hugely talented band that you need to hear.


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