Holy Moly & The Crackers celebrate third album with stunning hometown gig

Holy Moly & The Crackers make riotous party music for the masses, so what better way to launch their new album than a hometown gig on a Friday night.

By Gary Welford
Sunday, 07 April, 2019, 13:42
Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Formed in Newcastle in 2011, they have become one of those word-of-mouth phenomena whose name suddenly seems to be everywhere.

Their success is not sudden, but hard-earned, built on a foundation of solid touring, and I guarantee that once you’ve seen them live, you’ll be well and truly hooked.

Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

They started out as a self-confessed ‘ragtag folk band’, but they’re much more than that nowadays; they play such an infectious brand of gypsy folk rock that you could call them the Geordie Gogol Bordello.

Originally a four-piece, there’s now six people in the band; Ruth Patterson (vocals/violin), Conrad Bird (vocals/guitar/trumpet), Rosie Bristow (accordion), Nick Tyler (electric guitar), Jamie Shields (bass) and Tommy Evans (drums).

This sold-out date at The Cluny ​was an perfect way to launch their third album, Take A Bite.

The hand-picked opening act, husband and wife duo Snakerattlers, from York, proved a tasty appetiser for what was to come with their out of control trash rock and roll.

Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Guitarist Dan throws out twisted Link Wray surf rock riffs while Naomi sets down a propulsive beat, and the self-styled outsiders share vocals as they power their way through songs like She’s Strange and Lose My Mind.

They’ve got a new album out too, All Heads Will Roll, which is their second record, and it’s well worth checking out.

To the main event then, and right from the off, Holy Moly and The Crackers were preaching to the converted, though I confess I’d never seen them before, and was enticed along what I heard on an advance copy of the record.

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It was a decision I didn’t regret, as right from opening number All I Got Is You, the lead single from the new record, they had me hooked. It’s this sort of four-to-the-floor stomper which makes them such an instantly likeable proposition, and they have plenty more where that came from.

Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Two more tracks from the new album followed, Kiss Me Before You Go and Sister, and although it was a brave move to start with a trio of new songs, the crowd loved them.

Frontwoman Ruth has a powerful voice which reminds me a lot of Imelda May, and the classically-trained musician also plays a mean violin.

Co-frontman Conrad shares vocal duties and also adds acoustic guitar and trumpet to the potpourri of sounds, but they really are a band whose sum is greater than their parts.

Woman From Spain, from first album Salem, has a rockabilly edge, while Naked In Budapest, from the new record, is a delicious slice of eastern European-influenced folk.

Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

The swaggering Upside Down, from the new album, was one of the highlights of the set, as was Cold Comfort Lane, the song which introduced the band to a much wider audience as it played over the closing credits of Hollywood box office smash Ocean's 8.

Holy Moly & The Crackers gigs are a celebration of music where all are welcome; whether you like folk, jazz, rock and roll, indie or punk, you’ll find something here to your taste. Don't take my word for it though - go and see them for yourself.

Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.
Holy Moly & The Crackers launched third album Take A Bite with a hometown gig at The Cluny in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.