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Acoustic Circus PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ben Wellman   
11 11 2004

Acoustic CircusAcoustic Circus has become a firm fixture on the Newcastle music scene, and the non-profit, voluntary run venture celebrated its third birthday in February. I was there for a gig that was billed as a party, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Paul JeansThe Bridge hotel, Acoustic Circus's home for two of those three years, was bedecked with streamers and balloons, and was absolutely packed to the rafters. The atmosphere was very ‘party', and Andrew Craggs kicked the night off brilliantly. His voice is magnificent, his guitar style deft, and his songs are poetic pictures of life, love and the North East. I've never seen Andrew fail to win over an audience, and this was no exception; the squashed-in crowd roaring their appreciation.

Another voice to be reckoned with, Paul Jeans, continued the evening. He's been away from gigging for a while to finish his new album ‘Tides'. A singer of no mean ability, it's nice to have him back after his time off. Circus founder and chairman Simma took the stage to a cheer of approval from the gathered faithful. Simma seems to gig every other night these days, but always enjoys every minute. His confidence in his ever-stronger voice is evident, and his new songs already have people singing along. After an emotional rollercoaster of a set, he finished with Mat & Simon's ‘Fish in The Sea' - it seemed appropriately silly and celebratory for the occasion.

Al AquariusAl Aquarius took the stage with particular pride tonight. The first ever performer to play at The Circus in a triumphant return. His bluesy-psychedelic style is awash with emotion and honesty. He's a fabulous guitarist, and his singing is raw, expressive and unique. Sundown, unusually for them, looked apprehensive as they took the stage - possibly the result of the huge and increasingly animated audience. They needn't have been -  their songs are wonderfully catchy, and they seem to have developed a nice, funky edge in their new material, while retaining the melodic charm which has won them so many supporters in the last year. Their set was bright and beautiful, as we've come to expect, and as always, the whole band seemed to be having a great time,

Finishing the night, the irrepressible Psychedelic Breakfast. As always, they approached their acoustic set with as much fervor as their now legendary electric shows. There must be a million reviews of the Breakfast around, so we'll take the "Nick's a Genius" stuff as read (He is, and he fills the whole room with his stage presence). The joy in their set for me was Greeny, the Breakfast's fantastic drummer, controlled and abandoned in equal measures, every fill unique, and solid as a rock. By the time the Breakfast finished, and the customary "My name's Simma, this is Acoustic Circus goodnight" was greeted with a chorus of beery cheers, people were already talking about this being the best circus ever... but then how many times have you heard that? See you at the next one.


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