Gig Review: Mayfare at Tynemouth Surf Cafe
With a small but loyal fanbase and an addictive summer vibe, Newcastle four-piece Mayfare are one to watch. Selling out weeks in advance, their most recent gig on Saturday 31st August proved a smash hit success.
Surf Café’s vibrant character more than compensates for what it lacks in size. Located just a stone’s throw from the stunning Tynemouth coastline, the 50-capacity venue is packed with enough surfing memorabilia to fill a museum. Full-sized surfboards and nets are suspended from the ceiling, while Billabong stickers are plastered all over the rustic wooden bar. But the humble beach-themed diner transforms into an eccentric live music hub by night, hosting performances from the latest up-and-coming-talent multiple times a week. Each band or artist leaves their mark on the venue in the form of a personalised T-shirt; the ever-growing collection can be seen adorning the four walls of the café. Among the alumni are local cult favourites The Pale White and Otherkin, as well as North Shields' own Brit Award-winning soloist Sam Fender, who credits Surf Café as the starting point of his whirlwind career.
Opening for Mayfare are Teesside-based trio Mosaic Sun. The band are no strangers to the North East music scene, having previously played at Think Tank, Head of Steam, Riverside and even the O2 Academy. Their singles Recover, Jack Kerouac and Castles have been featured on the Introducing segment of BBC Radio Tees, and their upbeat indie-pop charm has been likened to that of Sea Girls and King No-One. It’s safe to say they set the tone for the night perfectly, warming up the early arrivals with feel-good rhythms and punchy vocals.
Fans continue to pour in as the second support act take to the stage. Tranqua Lite deliver a stimulating eclectic mix of sound: heavy bass and synth topped off with quirky lyrics, conjuring up a psychedelic atmosphere. Already popular in their hometown of Leeds, the highly experimental band are beginning to branch out further afield – and if first impressions are anything to go by, they’re sure to take Newcastle by storm. It’s clear the band know how to put on a show; they hold the audience captive from the first note to their last, with everyone in the room instantly enthralled by their innovative form of art-rock.
Finally, it’s time for the eagerly anticipated main event. Mayfare are greeted with a roar of support from the buzzing crowd as fans zealously race to secure a prime position at the front of the stage. But in spite of the attention, the young band remain admirably down-to-earth, letting their amateurish charm shine through (their setlist is scrawled on the back of a Papa Johns box, and lead singer Adam makes no secret of forgetting the words to his own songs - several times!). It’s easy to see why the crowd are so ecstatic; Mayfare’s music is nothing short of phenomenal. Their unique style seamlessly juxtaposes indie rock with chilled-out melodies, creating a vibe that is fresh and modern yet classic. Subtly drawing inspiration from the likes of The Smiths and The Stone Roses, everything they play has an original and exciting twist. Despite having been together for less than two years, their stage presence is remarkable. The set begins with an abundance of new material – it has more of a rock-and-roll kick than their previous singles, but is carried off brilliantly with the crowd headbanging in approval – proving that the band is far from a one-trick pony. This is followed by their best-loved hit, melodic ballad Petty Thoughts. The audience sway in perfect time with the rhythm, belting out every lyric off by heart. The lads appear overwhelmed by this immense response, taking a heartfelt moment between songs to thank their loyal fans for the support. It’s clear their gratitude is genuine. They continue with their debut single Dawn and latest release Better Days, both of which elicit an equally astounding reaction. Wrapping up their set with Fields, a currently unreleased track, their devoted following becomes apparent; the vast majority of the crowd know all the lyrics purely from hearing the song at previous gigs. It’s like an inside joke shared amongst them, a hidden gem only uncovered by die-hard supporters. In some ways, it’s endearing that the fanbase is so small and close-knit. But the sheer talent and quality of Mayfare is too great to go undiscovered. This is only the beginning of their journey, which will undoubtedly be filled with success.