search for something...

search for something you might like...

Thea Gilmore - this stage is her playground Live at the Wylam Brewery

Thea Gilmore - this stage is her playground

Live at the Wylam Brewery

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: October, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

an unexpected delight of dexterity and passion

Wylam Brewery
Newcastle upon Tyne  
16th October 2022

In an old 1920’s exhibition hall, not far from my place, now a brewery, Thea Gilmore. I’ve heard of Thea, but never listened to her.  I decided to give it a go. 

Lights down, Thea amble's into stage in front of a full house. The school concert seating is cool, lights up, a stool, a singer, 6 string,  piano, just her, no band, Close-up audience, mixed ages, a few pensionistas, fewer youngsters, most familiar with her work, it’s immediately clear Thea has them with her. 

Opening with acoustic guitar, recorded, looped chords, and looped again,  the soundbox bashed, looped, three vocal harmonies laid down live and direct. A minute and it’s done, her voice soars through the backing vocals, her guitar weaves through looped melodies, Thea immediately hits her stride.

The electric piano, just her, her lyrics and fluttering voice. It was unexpected to hear backing tracks, looped, laid down on stage, and she was a joyful master of the technique, this was real electric music for the solo singer, and she was masterful.  

The tween tune banter with the crowd was affectionate and warm, adding and imbuing the songs with a wistfulness, pain, and loss. Her songs are mostly reflective, with angry flashes, and lost love. At times a bitterness, or is it the anger that aids recovery, a truth too little sung in love songs; as if we’re meant to ‘deal with the issue and move on’ not always possible as Thea knows, and sings these truths, she knows ‘stuff’

Her version of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ gave us all the sing-a-long we all secretly want, a chance for group bonding. Another song dedicated to the memory of Joe Cox, the murdered MP it made for a particularly poignant passage of Thea's set.  

The show closed with a truly celebratory cover of ‘Cabaret’,  a ‘let’s remember the losses, loosers, the people gone, and celebrate lives where we can. A sense of we’re better than those making life miserable’.   

The crowd knew many of the songs, and swayed along. I particularly enjoyed the more complex backing tracks, with guitar stabbing in and out, and the voice more prose than a song, more a Lou Reed monologue, than a song. A real mix of styles, subjects, and musical accompaniments, keep me intrigued and committed.

There has been recent criticism of artists using backing tracks. Seeing Thea, I’m more ambiguous, for solo artists putting together a show, it’s a different story, and in a recession, perhaps this is the only way performers, and punters can afford to keep music alive.

Was it worth the evening stroll? You betcha, an unexpected delight of dexterity and passion. Thea’s a great, intimate, passionate, live performer. Catch her on this tour before the coming recession does what COVID failed to do by killing off venues and genres of live music.

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»



All About and Contributors


Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]


If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]


Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th

outsideleft content is not for everyone