Live Review: Saint Agnes / Bex / The Strays – Think Tank?, Newcastle 28.01.2024

Renée Bennett

By Renée Bennett 

Following their third studio album, London band Saint Agnes ‘Bloodsuckers’ tour commenced this month after its initial postponement while the group supported reggae metal band Skindred on tour. It was worth the wait while a pulsating vacuum was made in the intimate Geordie venue ‘Think Tank?’.

The night kicked off with support from local band the Strays. The room was teleported to what felt like the tales told from the 80s and early 90s grunge scene of which a GenZ/late millennial audience member such as myself, missed out on and had only previously imagined based on what was seen in Nirvana music videos. Their upbeat song “Friends in High Places” was one of many that possessed both gritty and
effortlessness vocals and instrumentals from the three piece that prepped listeners for the headliner with grungy yet modern flair.

Heavy and effervescent punk sounds merged in the second support act Bex, whose bright red stage setup warned of the already rising energy about to be taken up a notch. Viewers were kept on their toes focusing on her fast-paced movements and vocals somewhat reminiscent of the vividness of Cyndi Lauper’s, whether she would dance within the audience or blast bubbles. Bex rightfully reminded us “Don’t Date the Devil” and previewed her unreleased song “sunDae” over deep and heavy guitar riffs and fast paced drums.

After Bex’s performance, heavy fog encapsulated the room with a revering lull beckoning us to prepare for the Bloodsucking to commence. Reinforcements were made by a whispery announcement that echoed through the air. The set was kicked off with the heavy, “disgusting” but in a positive self proclaimed, Saint Agnes way, titular song “Bloodsuckers” and made its way down to roaring vocals from Kitty during ‘Animal’, ‘I Mean Nothing to You’ and other similarly edgy, and catchy songs across their discography. As expected, the instrumentals from Head and Tufnell were delicate yet fittingly grimy with Maxine Cahill’s bass tones fitting like a glove.

The setlist was closed off with a reminder that the album was created through grief with a dedication to loss especially that of Kitty’s mother and to any loved ones of the audience who had lost their lives. ‘This is Not the End’ took things down a peg with veneration, reflection, and a comforting atmosphere.

The show which felt admittedly short but sweet reenergized after respects were paid and ended with ‘Repent’ and ‘Middle Finger’.

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