Lifesigns_The Cluny_2023_TPA Banner


The Cluny, Newcastle
Friday, 16th June 2023

It’s a beautiful summers evening and the iconic Cluny, situated between Ouseburn and Byker, is the perfect setting for tonight’s gig. We are in the smaller Cluny2 next door, a more intimate setting for this well attended gig, and I actually prefer it to the bigger venue upstairs.

Lifesigns' John Young at the Cluny 2023

The rock pedigree of these formidable musicians is beyond compare and I’ll probably be doing them a disservice by not listing all their past endeavours and projects. Just to give you a flavour, John Young (vocal & keyboards), founder and longest serving member, has worked with Scorpions (Acoustica tour), Uli Jon Roth Band, Paul Rodgers in The Law, Quango with Carl Palmer, and also co-wrote with Fish on his Fellini Days solo album. The effervescent Jon Poole (bass) was with Cardiacs, Ad Nauseum, Ginger Wildheart and, oh yes, was also a member of Dr Hook. Multi-instrumentalist and sublime lead guitarist Dave Bainbridge played with Iona, Buddy Guy, Robert Fripp, Alan Parsons Project, and also film scores. Drummer Zoltán Csörsz has been playing since age 6 and won an international talent contest at age 9. He’s a renowned jazz drummer and has worked with Quincy Jones, Stu Hamm and was member of The Flower Kings. Last but not least, a special mention for the masterful Steve Rispen who is responsible for the sound. Steve’s credentials include Sabatt, Pendragon, Carl Palmer, Elton John, Tina Turner, Sly and Robbie and twelve years with Alvin Lee. Believe me, the list goes on…

Lifesigns' Dave Bainbridge at the Cluny 2023

Now, I will go through the track listing, but what do Lifesigns actually sound like? Despite the Prog label, they have a fine pop sensibility, which means the songs are instantly accessible with recognisable elements of all your favourites.

It’s a packed house and Jon Poole informs us with glee that proceedings will start as soon as John Young has attended to his toilet duties. The humorous banter on the stage is a feature of tonight’s performance, this is a band who clearly enjoy what they are doing, and the high spirits are infectious, spreading out to the audience.

Lifesigns' John Young & Jon Poole at the Cluny 2023

We go straight into Lighthouse and the sound is fabulous, highlighting the melody and bright mood of the songs that follow with the lively Open Skies showcasing Dave Bainbridge’s lead guitar breaks, which remind me a little of Andy Latimer and Camel. John informs us that it’s been four years since they last performed in the Northeast, at a pub in South Shields which had one man and his dog in attendance and has since closed its doors. Fairly ironic for me as said establishment was run by my brother and is now a Toy Dinosaur Emporium – which would actually make quite a good song title, if John happens to read this review.

Next up is a fantastic version of Different, taken from the band’s second album Cardington. We step further back in time to the band’s debut for At the End of the World, which has a lyrical beauty perfectly suiting John Young’s strong vocal delivery, a feature of the band’s sound alongside Jon Pool’s harmonies. Before the first set ends, we are treated to a toe-tapping Impossible, a track which wouldn’t be out of place on a Barclay James Harvest album. It goes down really well and is appreciated by the capacity crowd. The effervescent Jon Poole orchestrates the audience whilst bouncing up and down on the stage, grinning manically…

Lifesigns' Jon Poole at the Cluny 2023

A short interlude and we are then into the second set, opening with Altitude from their last studio release, of the same name. Lovely keyboard passages by John, and in this song we are treated to the power and dexterity of Hungarian born drummer Csörsz, as John sings “Look to the skies and you’re gone”.

Lifesigns' Zoltán Csörsz at the Cluny 2023

Gregarious is next, and again Dave Bainbridge produces some stunning guitar. You could just sit in a room and listen to this man all night. The versatility of his playing is further displayed as he shows his heavier side on Ivory Tower.

As the night comes to an end we get, for me, one of the best tracks of the evening – Last One Home, a song written by John when he was in the short-lived Quango, an offshoot from ASIA, with Carl Palmer. A fitting end to a great set, but the crowd have other ideas and the band return to the stage, finishing off with Kings, a storming instrumental with keyboard and guitar solos, whilst Jon Poole pogos around like a demented Zebedee. Rock royalty indeed.

Lifesigns at The Cluny 2023

Check them out at the Nene Valley Festival in Peterborough on 3rd September 2023…

Lifesigns at The Cluny 2023

Click HERE to view Chris Simmons’ Photo Gallery

Set 1:

Open Skies
At the End of the World
Set 2:
Ivory Tower
Last One Home
~ Encore:

John Young – Keyboards, Vocals
Dave Bainbridge – Guitar, Keyboards
Jon Pool – Bass, Backing Vocals
Zoltán Csörsz – Drums

Lifesigns – Website | Facebook | Twitter