NARC. #186 August 2022

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ISSUE186

AUGUST22

THE DAWDLER LAST TRAIN HOME EMMA RUTH RUNDLE MOUSETIVAL VANDEBILT

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PREVIEWS 4 HIGHLIGHTS Our pick of some of the best events in August

6 AUGUST PREVIEWS ISSUE186

AUGUST22

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28 THE DAWDLER Newcastle musician John Edgar, aka The Dawdler, talks to Linsey Teggert about his new EP Pursed Modern: a self-described homage to his former life as an able-bodied person, his continuing musical journey and the importance of humour August is traditionally quite a quiet month in the cultural world, but if you’re not on holiday, wrangling with the school half term or at a festival, there’s still plenty to keep you occupied in our fair region. And, as you’ve come to expect, we dive into a whole host of interesting diversions in these very pages. Also on the radar this month are a couple of early heads-up on some late summer festivals, including the gorgeous Lindisfarne Festival which marries a stunning location with hedonistic vibes and great music, and the equally as ace (although perhaps not as bucolic) Last Train Home festival in Darlington, where you can catch your new favourite band and be home at a reasonable hour (when you get to my age, this is a serious boon). If you don’t feel like leaving your house at all, we can help with that too! NARC. TV continues apace, with live performance and chat via our YouTube and social media channels from the likes of James Leonard Hewitson and Abi Nyxx, and – depending on when you’re reading this – much more to come including Nel Unlit, Kate Bond, Motherland, Lottie Willis, Sarah Johnsone and SQUARMS. Whatever you’re up to this month, enjoy!

Including live music from Cate Le Bon, The Twilight Sad, Twisterella’s Class of ‘22, Cola, Martha Wainwright, Deerhoof, Cocaine Piss, Buffalo Nichols, When Chai Met Toast, Ben Hopkinson, Gosforth Beer Festival, Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler, Mish Mash Festival and loads more; plus stand-up comedy courtesy of Tom Taylor and Tom Houghton; art exhibitions including Daughters of the Soil at Vane, Newcastle University’s post graduate degree students at Hatton Gallery, FieldJournal at Arts Centre Washington and I Am Somebody at Newcastle Arts Centre; film screenings including WomenX at Darlington Hippodrome and much more!

INTERVIEWS 27 M(H)AOL 30 CAZIMI 31 ELLEN RANSON 32 LINDISFARNE FESTIVAL 33 EMMA RUTH RUNDLE 34 CENTRAL PARK GIGS 35 LAST TRAIN HOME FESTIVAL 36 JASON COOK 37 MOUSETIVAL 38 VANDEBILT 39 PALE WAVES 40 MT. MISERY 41 SHIPCOTE LISTINGS 42 LISTINGS The best of the rest…

Editor Claire Dupree info@narcmedia.com Website David Saunders narcmagazineonline@gmail.com Creative El Roboto Advertising Claire Dupree info@narcmedia.com Stay social, connect with us

Cover Image Amelia Read Live Photography Rhiannon Banks / Thomas Jackson / Victoria Wai Contributors Jake Anderson / Tom Astley / Jade Broadhead / Jonathan Coll / Laura Doyle / Lee Fisher / Lee Hammond / Jason Jones / Evie Lake / Lizzie Lovejoy / Ben Lowes-Smith / Hope Lynes / Evie Nicholson / Michael O’Neill / Ikenna Offor / Stephen Oliver / Damian Robinson / Elodie A Roy / Mera Royle / Joseph Spence / Linsey Teggert / Luke Waller / Robin Webb / Ali Welford / Maria Winter / Cameron Wright

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VISIT US ONLINE WWW.NARCMAGAZINE.COM NARC. Magazine, Tel: 07748 907 914 Email: info@narcmedia.com Web: www.narcmagazine.com Published monthly by NARC. Media. Printed by Reach Printing Services, Middlesbrough. Distributed by CSGN All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the publishers. The opinions expressed in NARC. belong to the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of NARC. or its staff. NARC. welcomes ideas and contributions but can assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations

REVIEWS 45 LIVE REVIEWS Reports from the front row of Pit Pony, The Bobby Lees, Field Music & NASUWT Riverside Band, The Delines, Richard Dawson & Circle, Farida Amadou and many more

48 TRACKS Reviews of local single and EP releases including Shamu, Olympia Palace, The False Poets, Imogen Bose-Ward, Hannah Robinson, The Peevie Wonders, Autoleisureland, Holiday In Tokyo, J.P. Riggall, Eyeconic, ENEMYTHIRTY and Motherland

50 DEMOS Jenna Learoyd & Sam Haynes, Jealous Eddie, TnG The Band, Arcane Soakes and Machiner

51 ALBUMS New releases from Hot Chip, Julia Jacklin, Russian Circles, Thee Sacred Souls, Esmerine, The Chats, OSEES, Kokoroko, Lauran Hibberd, The Lounge Society, Erasure, LIFE, Cass McCombs, William Orbit and Phoebe Green

54 MIXTAPE Twisterella’s Henry Carden gives us a peek into his favourite songs from artists performing at Twisterella’s Class of ‘22 showcase

Next Issue Out 31st August

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PREVIEWS AUGUST’S DIVERSIONS INCLUDE IMMERSIVE SCULPTURES, FOLKINFLUENCED STORYTELLING, SUBVERSIVE DRAG, RIB-TICKLING COMEDY, A DEVILISHLY GOOD ALL-DAYER, SPANISH MASTERPIECES AND MUCH MORE!

COMEDY

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ART & LIT

UNTIL OCTOBER 8 EMII ALRAI Yorkshire-based artist Emii Alrai presents an immersive sculptural installation entitled Reverse Defence at Newcastle’s Workplace Foundation. Referencing ancient mythology, heritage and post-colonial museum collecting and displays, Alrai’s work explores themes of appropriation and object displays in the Western museological system through techniques of forgery and mimicry. Workplace Foundation, Newcastle www.emiialrai.com

ART & LIT

Christ of St John of the Cross, 1951, oil on canvas© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection image by Will Walker, North News and Pictures

UNTIL DECEMBER

SALVADOR DALI In a major coup for The Auckland

Project’s Spanish Gallery, Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross will go on display at the gallery until the end of the year. The celebrated piece will be joined by El Greco’s Christ on the Cross, uniting two Spanish masterpieces and showcasing the artists’ original and idiosyncratic works, comparing the enduring subject of Christ on the cross. The Spanish Gallery, Bishop Auckland www.aucklandproject.org

ART & LIT

UNTIL FEBRUARY 2023

STAGE

THESE ARE OUR TREASURES A project in collaboration with artist Ruth

A PLAYFUL PORTION

Ewan, These Are Our Treasures features precious objects belonging to people from the North East, gathered after an open call throughout the spring of 2022, and forming an unconventional display of often funny, poignant and deeply moving objects and their associated stories. Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle www.laingartgallery.org.uk

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WEDNESDAY 3 Dance artist and choreographer Patrick Ziza presents a new production for The Collective, Dance City’s MA (Hons) advanced dance performance company. The site specific piece will be performed at 11.30, 1pm and 2.30pm on Wednesday 3rd, Friday 5th, Wednesday 10th and Friday 12th August. Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead www.patrickziza.com

Mike Newall

HILARITY BITES COMEDY CLUB Always to be relied upon to snag

some of the very best comics on the circuit, Hilarity Bites have struck gold again this month with a showcase featuring a trio of top names. The night is headed up by amiable funnyman Mike Newall, whose well-timed gags are the stuff of legend, plus there are sets from laugh-a-minute Tony Cowards and host Danny Deegan. The Forum Music Centre, Darlington www.hilaritybites.co.uk

MUSIC

SUNDAY 7 RODDY WOOMBLE

Perhaps best known for fronting indie rock band Idlewild, Roddy Woomble’s solo material deserves equalled praise thanks to his folk-influenced storytelling style and exquisite baritone voice. This show will also see performances from fellow Scottish legends Frances McKee (The Vaselines) and affecting songwriter Pea Sea (Chris Rollen). Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland www.roddywoomble.net

ART & LIT

WEDNESDAY 10 HADRIAN’S WALL 1900

Continuing the celebrations of the beginning of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, Northern Print studio users and printmakers from Linden Print Studio and Florence Arts Centre in Cumbria have come together to each create a print to represent a section of the wall inspired by this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Runs until 1st October. Northern Print, Newcastle www.northernprint.org.uk


WHATS ON

AUGUST HIGHLIGHTS COMEDY

THURSDAY 11 DAN NIGHTINGALE

Preparing for his brand new show, one of the best comedians on the circuit, Dan Nightingale, will be giving his jokes a whirl for an unsuspecting audience at this work in progress show. Fans of Dan’s hilarious podcast, Have A Word, will be familiar with his brand of cutting wit and surreal banter. The Forum Music Centre, Darlington www.dannightingale.com

MUSIC

THURSDAY 11 NORTHERN MUSIC COLLECTIVE Aiming to support DIY musicians in the region, Northern Music Collective will host their first industry panel event which will feature advice from Snaz Craig from Afterlight Management, Laura Rosierse from Lively Music and Adam Gallagher from promotions outfit Famous Last Words, with a Q&A and networking session following. Live performance will come from Dressed Like Wolves and Ruby Watkins. NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton www.northernmusiccollective.com

STAGE

THURSDAY 11 DRAG CASTLE So much more than a drag act, Newcastle troupe Drag Castle present through-provoking routines, epic lip syncs and witty performances which use drag as a subversive art form in order to get across poignant and often political messages. Promising a two hour whirlwind of everything from cosplay to satire, they’re a sight to be seen! The Stand, Newcastle www.dragcastle.store

MUSIC

SATURDAY 20 ROJOR

Teesside’s prolific songwriter Rojor will be showcasing songs from his recently released album, World In Flames, alongside tracks from his considerable back catalogue. Backed by a full live band, the gig will be a chance to get a full flavour of the artist’s masterful songwriting and catchy melodies. Support comes from another local favourite, Steve McCormick. Middlesbrough Little Theatre www.rojor.com

MUSIC

SUNDAY 21 DEVIL’S ADVOCATE ALLDAYER They say the devil makes the best music, and it’s pretty clear he’s been in charge of this mega line-up! From raucous pop gang Komparrison, spiky indie rockers Roxy Girls and electro spoken word artist Faithful Johannes, to alt. garage punks Swine Tax and the ‘kamikaze pop’ sounds of Jango Flash, plus LOADS more besides, it’s looking like wickedly good fun. The Cluny & Cluny 2, Newcastle www.thecluny.com

MUSIC

WEDNESDAY 24 EFTERKLANG Danish trio Efterklang bring their epic and expansive chamber pop to Newcastle’s Gosforth Civic Theatre, which will be a perfect venue to showcase their emotional and often intense sound. They’ll perform tracks from 2021’s album Windflowers, which continues to expand the band’s experimental approach to electronic music. Support comes from Northumberland’s atmospheric soundscapers The Early Purple. Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle www.efterklang.net

COMEDY

FRIDAY 26 CATCH 22 COMEDY CLUB The ever-reliable Catch 22 Comedy Club offer up another rip-roaring night of stand-up comedy, featuring sets from regular telly faces and some of the best up and coming talent. The mischievous gag-slinging rascal that is Rob Mulholland heads the line-up, alongside MC and observational comedy expert Nina Gilligan, plus more TBA! ARC, Stockton www.arconline.co.uk

MUSIC

SATURDAY 27 LIVE MUSIC AT THE CARRIAGE We’re always excited to see a new venue on the scene, and Jesmond bar The Carriage have started strong with a series of great live gigs over the summer. This cracking show on August bank holiday Saturday features expansive rockers The Agency, Durham’s woozy folksters Spider Noises, acoustic rock artist Psy Of The Dead and songwriter Lewis Armstrong. The Carriage, Jesmond www.facebook.com/thecarriagejesmond

MUSIC

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Image by David McClister

MONDAY 29 JOSHUA RAY WALKER Rolling Stone recently named Joshua

Ray Walker as “country’s most fascinating young songwriter”, so this gig has ‘must see’ written all over it. Drawing inspiration from the dive bars he grew up around in East Dallas, Walker’s songs are set in a fictional honky-tonk and revolve around the misfits that call it home, resulting in a collection of honest snapshots of small-town America. Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle www.joshuaraywalker.com

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PREVIEWS

MUSIC

CATE LE BON @ NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION

Words: Cameron Wright Producing albums for American indie rock band Deerhunter, Scottish newcomer Josh Grant and recently joining alternative legend John Cale for

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three nights in Paris, Cate Le Bon has blossomed on a myriad of stellar products and produced a plethora of pristine, enthralling and intriguing projects which sit beautifully alongside her own varied output. Having carved out a reputation as a quirky and eclectic woman of many visions with a distinct visual presence, the immediacy of her idiosyncrasies don’t halt there. Pompeii, her release earlier this year, contained a swirling and jarring sound; it had something intangible, as it collated a sweep of genres and turned them into something angular and pointed. With a divisive sound, these songs beg to be

consumed live and in an intimate setting Cate Le Bon’s character and the nervous energy of Pompeii can manifest. The Welsh songstress will bring her magic and mystery to Newcastle University Students’ Union on Tuesday 16th August, where she’ll demonstrate her remarkable creative prowess. She’ll be joined by fellow Welsh musician Alice Low, whose sound has been described as a “glambuoyant and emotionally raw”. Cate Le Bon and Alice Low play Newcastle University Students’ Union on Tuesday 16th August. www.catelebon.com


OCTOBER HIGHLIGHTS

PREVIEWS

Dilutey Juice by Isaac Johnson

MUSIC

B.O.P FESTIVAL @ GLENHOLME PARK

Words: Michael O’Neill Although the name very much fits the kind of atmosphere that its sprawling, diverse line-up promises, the Jack Drum Arts-founded B.O.P Festival was created with a goal that goes far deeper than to simply get your feet shuffling; ‘B.O.P’ stands for Building Our Planet, and brilliantly encapsulates the festival’s goal of offering a positive but engaging message on the impacts of climate change, and the

actions we can take to make a positive change in our everyday lives. The free entry event will take place in Crook’s Glenholme Park on Sunday 14th August, and boasts a strong line-up including headliners Dilutey Juice, whose upbeat and relentlessly entertaining brand of brass-driven, groove-heavy, anything-goes splendour has previous seen them supporting the likes of TOO MANY ZOOZ and Nubyian Twist. Joining them are the Afro-Latin percussion and brass duo Ladies of Midnight Blue, multi-disciplinary local supergroup Nel Unlit, Afro-Brazilian maracatu outfit Baque de Ogum, local singer/ songwriter Chloe Nattrass, the diverse eight-piece Brazilian/Columbian outfit Colibri Cobra, a high-energy performance from the

Get Set Samba drum ensemble, four-piece rock band Violet Uproar, the funkadelic Cuttlefish Orchestra and many, many more, with additional activities including graffiti art workshops, a swap shop and speakers who will discuss a range of environmental topics. Even more impressively, the whole event has been organised by the youth board – a group of 13-19 year olds – at Jack Drum Arts, a tremendous local social enterprise who provide cultural opportunities for communities in County Durham. B.O.P Festival takes place at Glenholme Park, Crook on Sunday 14th August. www.jackdrum.co.uk

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PREVIEWS

When Chai Met Toast

MUSIC

WHEN CHAI MET TOAST @ BOBIK’S

Words: Luke Waller Harking all the way from Kochi in Southern India, folk pop band When Chai Met Toast are set to play Jesmond’s intimate Bobik’s venue on Monday 8th August. An all-round chilled-out and comforting sound flows through their music, accompanied by breezy vocals which are most often in English, but also feature Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam lyrics, as evidenced on 2020 Hindi single Kahaani. Bright and uplifting guitar interwoven with celestial banjo lines, at times even wind chime-reminiscent, has underpinned the group’s sound since Firefly, their convivial 2016 debut single. After a gig in London three days beforehand, the Newcastle show will be When Chai Met Toast’s first UK show since their first album’s release, the short-but-sweet When We Feel Young, launched in 2020. The title track and leading single of this album somewhat broke

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their mould, incorporating a Latin American charango and electric guitar – but singer Ashwin Gopakumar states constant self-development as an aim of the group. Whimsical from head to toe (even in their name, which is a reference to their worldwide influences and multicultural mix-matching), When Chai Met Toast are instantly likeable, and are bound to offer a splendid evening of tender sounds. When Chai Met Toast play Bobik’s, Newcastle on Monday 8th August. www.whenchaimettoast.com

COMEDY

TOM TAYLOR @ HOPS & CHEESE Words: Jason Jones Quirky comedian Tom Taylor brings his distinctive brand of neurotic musicality to Hartlepool’s Hops & Cheese for Hilarity Bites’ New Material Night on Thursday 4th August. A multi-award winning talent who has performed on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 Extra,

the Yorkshire comic mixes the daft with the deft to produce a delightful riot of witty and tuneful one-liners. Joining Taylor will be loquaciously nimble heavy hitter Chris Brooker – an improvisational force of nature whose proclivity for feeding off the energy of a crowd means that any two of his sets are rarely, if ever, the same. Described as the comedy world’s very own “ginger Viking”, Brooker has amassed considerable recognition on both sides of the Atlantic, and never fails to light a spark. Rounding out the bill is North East native Tony Jameson, who has previously enjoyed notable Edinburgh Fringe success with his breakout show Football Manager Ruined My Life. One of the region’s brightest comedic prospects, the well-travelled star is renowned for his tendency to meander and crash between whimsical ramblings and darkly poignant punchlines. Tom Taylor, Chris Brooker and Tony Jameson perform at Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool on Thursday 4th August. www.hilaritybites.co.uk


PREVIEWS

Buffalo Nichols by Dustin Cohen

MUSIC

BUFFALO NICHOLS @ THE CUMBERLAND ARMS

Words: Cameron Wright There’s moments in any musical journey when you stumble onto an artist that exudes passion, love and an infatuation with their roots and their talents. Houston-born, Milwaukee-raised Buffalo Nichols is one of those artists; how else could you explain the ease at which his fingers fly across the frets of his guitar, tossing out earnestly sincere songs of love and pain? The fingerpicking blues man has been tasked with the difficult balancing act of bringing the blues back into the present day, and where others have failed, Nichols is growing from strength to strength. At its core, that husky voice is used for storytelling, while his guitar prowess provides a heart and momentum to each track. Join the journey of Buffalo Nichols, marvel at his fingerpicking and be haunted by his voice

during his appearance at The Cumberland Arms in Newcastle on Friday 26th August. Nichols’ music, seasoned beyond his years, is a refreshing reminder of what the blues can be. Creating a sound that has travelled, seen, experienced and grown, his music encompasses and emanates the hardship and the hope which has always been the backbone of the blues. Buffalo Nichols plays The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle on Friday 26th August. www.buffalo-nichols.com

FILM

OPENING THE CLOSET DOOR @ DARLINGTON HIPPODROME

Words: Laura Doyle We may never heal the gap in LGBTQ+ social history that exists across the world, so deeply embedded is their mistreatment in our societies – but we can damn well try to rectify past wrongs. That’s exactly what the film project Opening The Closet Door, which is

screening at Darlington Hippodrome on Thursday 11th August, seeks to do. In response to a variety of themes, histories and stories, people from the LGBTQ+ community have come together to create their own narratives relating to their own lived experiences. These contributions from artists hailing from a variety of disciplines will feature anything and everything from animation, puppetry, poetry, musical theatre – you name the creative medium, you’ll probably get the creative medium. This collage of film balances informative with educational, with representation as its main aim and priority. Following its screening, there will be further opportunity to learn and engage with a presentation by the creative minds behind Opening The Closet Door to continue to open up the dialogue. With a Pay What You Can ticket price, BSL interpretation, and a wholly safe space, all are welcome to partake in the unveiling of Darlington’s LGBTQ+ artistic documentary. Opening The Closet Door is screened at Darlington Hippodrome on Thursday 11th August. www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

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PREVIEWS

The Twilight Sad

MUSIC

THE TWILIGHT SAD @ THE GEORGIAN THEATRE

Words: Jake Anderson Born amongst the same indie rock/post-punk revival scene that launched the Arctic Monkeys into stardom, Glasgow’s The Twilight Sad peddle an altogether different tone which fuses Scottish miserabilism with a heady indie punk sound. The band’s first album, 2007’s Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, aimed to tear down the restrictions which resulted from the post-Britpop music scene, with anthemic tracks like Walking For Two Hours and the expressive vocals found on the title track. It’s an album that’s stood the test of time, even more so when you consider how the 2020’s rock sound has been transforming and developing. Their most recent release, 2019’s It Won’t Be Like This All The Time, brings those modern sounds to the fore and showcases in awe-inspiring and goosebump-inducing

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splendour a noisy, shoegaze-inspired soundscape which demonstrates why this band were always ahead of the curve. The band’s live show is just as thrilling as their recorded output, and their forthcoming show at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Thursday 25th August is one of their rescheduled shows before they spend the rest of the year on tour with The Cure. The Twilight Sad play The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Thursday 25th August. www.thetwilightsad.com

MUSIC

THE CUMBERLAND ARMS 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Words: Ali Welford We love The Cumberland Arms here at NARC. One of the region’s finest pubs, venues and supporters of live music, this Newcastle institution’s 20th year under the stewardship of landlady Jo Hodson is absolutely worth celebrating – and with a full two-week programme of festivities, there’s no reason

why you can’t join in! From Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 14th August, the Cumby hosts a veritable feast encompassing everything that’s made it such a beloved hub, with successive evenings of live music, resident DJs, food from local vendors, talks, dancing and – of course, great beer. We haven’t space to list everything they’ve lined-up, but with a mix of free and ticketed, indoor and outdoor events, a visit is sure (even more so than usual!) to be worth your while. As far as highlights go, there’s free performances from The Cornshed Sisters, Georgia May, Beccy Owen on Thursday 4th, Back Chat Brass on Friday 5th and The Baghdaddies on Thursday 11th. Regular promoter Prancey Dog curates an all-dayer on Saturday 13th with perennial favourites including Nev Clay, Thomas Truax and No Teeth, before proceedings draw to a close on Sunday 14th with ‘Full On Folk,’ featuring Amy Thatcher & Frank Knowles, Holly & The Reivers and Rachel Hamer, among others. Head to The Cumberland Arms’ website to view the full programme! www.thecumberlandarms.co.uk


PREVIEWS

MYCELIUM - Image by Andrew Parr

ART & LIT

MYCELIUM @ HATTON GALLERY

Words: Joseph Spence Newcastle University’s postgraduate Fine Art exhibition Mycelium is the summer show that brings together works from 28 artists from both MFA and PhD programmes. The exhibition, which is at Hatton Gallery from Saturday 20th August-Friday 2nd September, is a celebration of a group of graduating artists who have examined and responded to challenges, working independently and collectively. Professor Richard Talbot explains: “It is always fantastic to see such determination amongst all the students to achieve something special for their shows in August. Yes, it is about individual achievements and ambitions, but it is also about working together and supporting each other.” Visitors can expect to see a varied mix of work on display including painting, sculpture, performance and film among others from a broad range of disciplines. Artists of note include Hazel Soper, who has recently

exhibited in How We Live Now at Newcastle Contemporary Art; George Robertshaw, an abstract artist who frequently investigates painting both physically and conceptually; Cody Sowerby, whose highly visual work delves into belief systems, mythology and ideology; political artist Eliot Lord; multidisciplinary artist Raphaella DaviesBrennan, who explores humour and comedy in her work; and mixed media artist Andrew Parr, alongside many others. Mycelium is on display at Hatton Gallery, Newcastle from Saturday 20th August-Friday 2nd September. www.hattongallery.org.uk

MUSIC

THE SOAPGIRLS @ TRILLIANS

Words: Jake Anderson Newcastle’s rock headquarters, Trillians, will be welcoming South African noisemakers The SoapGirls on Wednesday 3rd August as apart of their Don’t Give A Damn World Tour, which celebrates their new album In My Skin. Having made their voices stand out with their

2011 debut album, Xperience, aged just 15, they’ve since become known for their inimitable firework-strewn live shows and take-no-shit attitude, and they’ve only refined their style since. Made up of sisters Millie and Mie Debray (alongside a rolling cast of drummers), the band have been praised for their raw sound which is as gutsy and innovative as you’re likely to find. New track Heart In Bloom is a clear standout, with its mesmerising riffs, layered vocals and a deep expression of longing that gives the track a life of its own. Also joining the fray are exciting punk band LoGOz, who will bring positive vibes, aggressive lyrics and singable choruses to the line-up. It’s been some time since they released new music, but they’re regulars at Trillians and will no doubt have a firm fanbase. North Yorkshire’s Hot Rockets will be the other group joining this stacked evening, where their intense riffs and high energy rock sound will no doubt go down a storm. The SoapGirls, LoGOz and Hot Rockets play Trillians, Newcastle on Wednesday 3rd August. www.thesoapgirls.com

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photography: Rachel Deakin

PREVIEWS

22 - 25 SEPT 2022 exhibitions workshops talks performances

middlesbroughartweekender.com

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PREVIEWS

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan by Elly Lucas

MUSIC

SALTBURN FOLK FESTIVAL @ VARIOUS VENUES

Words: Mera Royle Bringing its captivating energy and music to the sunny shores of Saltburn, the Saltburn Folk Festival is all set to charm once again in a four day showing of music, singing, storytelling and dancing from Thursday 11th-Sunday 14th August at venues across the town. This year sees its return live and in-person for the first time in three years, with a dazzling line-up of local talent, as well as fab folk acts from further afield which will please old and new fans alike. Among the stellar line-up are the mesmerising Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, who will bring their ecstatic, whimsical sounds as one of best-known and most experienced folk duos on the British circuit today; O’Hooley & Tidow, the musical pair who have brought folk to the mainstream with their incredible acclaim (and composition of the theme song for the hit BBC drama, Gentleman Jack); leading light of the UK folk and acoustic music scene Jez Lowe; the supreme musicianship of Granny’s Attic; ethereal and genre-shifting Middlesbrough artist Amelia Coburn; accordionist Heather Ferrier; acclaimed folk duo Janice Burns & Jon Doran and many more. Engaging and entertaining local people and visitors alike is central to this festival, at which entertainment is provided both free and via tickets, making it accessible to all and proving itself to be the perfect event for all fans of folk and the beautiful seaside! Saltburn Folk Festival takes place at various venues in Saltburn from Thursday 11th-Sunday 14th August. www.saltburnfolkfestival.com

MUSIC

KEIRAN BOWE @ NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION

Words: Maria Winter Local indie artist Keiran Bowe has recently unveiled his hard-hitting ballad The One That Got Away. Following his hit indie anthem Left It All Behind, the Gateshead-based breakout indie artist continues to showcase his intimate approach to songwriting thanks to an emotionally charged signature sound. Describing the track, Keiran notes: “The One That Got Away is about someone that throws their life away for all the wrong reasons, leaving and forgetting everyone and everything in the process of doing so. It’s a song with a message of hope and salvation, hoping that one day that person can fix what they lost and a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” Hoping to build on the momentum of the release, Keiran will be embarking on a summer tour which drops into Newcastle University Students’ Union on Friday 19th August, where he’ll share headline duties alongside indie rock band The Redroom, who have themselves been the subject of serious praise thanks to their fun and infectious sound. Keiran Bowe and The Redroom play Newcastle University Students’ Union on Friday 19th August. www.facebook.com/keiranbowemusic

MUSIC

GOSFORTH BEER FESTIVAL @ GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE

Words: Michael O’Neill Is there any truer sign of civilisation returning to some semblance of ‘normality’ than the long awaited return of the Gosforth Beer Festival? After three years, the beloved celebration of canny pints, cracking live music and phenomenal scran returns to Gosforth Civic Centre from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August. Boasting 20 keg and cask beers, both local and national (as well as low-alcohol, wine and soft drink options) and food from Meat:Stack (Friday), Scream For Pizza and Acropolis (Saturday) and Chuchos and Parmo-rama (Sunday), it’s a veritable who’s-who of quality local bevmeisters and scran-wizards. Families are well entertained with the likes of Alison McGowan’s Ugly Bug Ball and the return of GCT’s retro gaming experiences. There’s plenty of live music on the cards too, with DJ sets from renowned selectors DJ Awkward Black Girl (Friday) and Helen Walkinshaw (Saturday) and live performances from five-piece outfit The King Bees (also Saturday), who pay homage to the vast R&B songbook of the 1940s through to the 60s. Meanwhile, Sunday plays host to their New Music Stage, boasting performances from singer-songwriter This Little Bird, folk/country/ soul artist Tommy (of Holy Moly and the Crackers) and rounded off by a performances from acclaimed neo-soul artists Kate Bond and Dayna Leadbitter. We can’t wait! Gosforth Beer Festival takes place at Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle from Friday 5th-Sunday 7th August. www.gosforthcivictheatre.co.uk

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PREVIEWS

Ben Hopkinson

MUSIC

BEN HOPKINSON @ BASE CAMP

Words: Jason Jones Middlesbrough gig-goers are in for an unmissable treat on Friday 12th August, with Ben Hopkinson pitching up at Base Camp for a rare solo show. The multi-instrumentalist has carved out a reputation as something of a musical polymath through his work with seminal local bands By Toutatis and Kingsley Chapman & The Murder, but will strike out on his own for a performance that could prove to be atypical in more ways than one. A masterful pianist, gifted saxophonist and superlative guitarist who proffers more than a passing nod to the influences of Lindisfarne guru Alan Hull, Hopkinson is almost certain to perform a set that takes on various guises and strides between a whole spectrum of genres and touchstones. Support will come from soulful, ‘80s-inspired balladeer Lost State Of Dan, who pairs soaring vocals with tender melodies and an infectiously affable on-stage persona – as well as rivalling Hopkinson in the breadth of his musical palette. (Whisperings of a possible piano duel continue to mount…) Dirty Little Dumplings will also be hosting a kitchen takeover at Base Camp from 5pm, which sets you up nicely for the 7pm showtime. Ben Hopkinson and Lost State of Dan perform at Base Camp, Middlesbrough on Friday 12th August. www.basecampboro.co.uk

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COMEDY

TOM HOUGHTON @ BISHOP AUCKLAND TOWN HALL

Words: Mera Royle Tom Houghton is a comedian with a talent for making his awkward life moments into rib-tickling tales; his knack for winning over audiences through side-splitting stories has seen him amass millions of online followers on TikTok, where he has shared his peculiar life circumstances – from living in the Tower of London to being fired as a stripper in Australia during his gap year for a rather unfortunate all over body rash. He has also found fame as a comic through appearances on Channel 4’s First Dates Hotel, as well as at his sell-out debut Edinburgh Fringe show, which went on tour in early 2018. His stand-up shows are filled with eye-wateringly hilarious and stupendously daft stories and have amassed huge critical acclaim. Previously one-fifth of comedy troupe The Noise Next Door, Houghton is setting course for Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Friday 19th August in the latest stint of his comedy tour, where he’ll display his quick wit, charming persona and ludicrous comedy songs. Come along for a chance to witness this natural comic transform the seemingly unrelatable into relatable, eye-opening, laugh-out-loud tales. Also performing on the night will be rising comedian Clayton Jones and local impressionist Cal Halbert. Tom Houghton, Clayton Jones and Cal Halbert perform at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Friday 19th August. www.honourabletom.com

MUSIC

SCRANNABIS @ INDEPENDENT

Words: Hope Lynes Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek name fool you, Newcastle-based hip-hop artist Scrannabis (aka Jack Speight) is as serious as they come. With a sound which mixes soulful beats, melodic lyrics and a gorgeous Northern twinge to a soft rap vibe, you’d be wise not to underestimate this versatile artist, who performs at Independent in Sunderland on Saturday 6th August. Scrannabis is now performing alongside a full band, which is sure to elevate the magic of his soulful and rich backing tracks. More than just an artist, Scrannabis is also a talented creative who runs his own radio show and is a master collaborator; releases including the chilled and contemporary vibe of How Low have seen him team up with grime-inspired artist Too Common. Also performing at Independent will be Dayna Leadbitter, previously of R&B group Badmind. Armed with a soulful sound, Leadbitter has instilled herself as one of the top talents of the neo-soul genre thanks to a sound which crackles with Northern spirit. Debut single Time’s Up, which garnered considerable support on BBC Introducing, is a powerful track that makes her mark on the industry as a force to be reckoned with. Scrannabis and Dayna Leadbitter play Independent, Sunderland on Saturday 6th August. www.facebook.com/scrannabis


PREVIEWS

MUSIC

ROCKET BOY RELEASE NEW ALBUM, RESOLUTE Words: Maria Winter High octane Morpeth-based rockers Rocket Boy celebrate their debut album, Resolute, which lands on all formats on 30th August. Known for producing anthemic rock and mind blowing guitar riffs, Rocket Boy – made up of

vocalist Chris Hill, guitarist Chris McDonald and producer Andy Bell – are kickstarting their repertoire with a pretty incredible debut album which isn’t short of high octane bangers. The group have an abundance of previous performance experience; Chris Hill first began his career playing for various successful bands including Splitz and Sister Ray (which also included The Smiths’ Johnny Marr), but a desire to focus his attention on songwriting during the pandemic led to a collaboration with sought after session guitarist Chris McDonald and producer Andy Bell, resulting in

Resolute being recorded at Blast Studios. Air guitar enthusiasts will be captivated by every track on this album, from technical guitar solos and clever hooks to brilliant lyricism and melodic lines, it’s a real study in musicality. There are plans afoot to bring the sound to the live stage, with a fourth member being sought out to help show off those mighty riffs in their full glory. Rocket Boy release Resolute on 30th August. www.rocketboyband.com

KWAME ASAFO-ADJEI / SPOKEN MOVEMENT Saturday 10 September, 7:30pm

dancecity.co.uk | 0191 261 0505

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PREVIEWS

Baghdaddies by Brendan Clayton

MUSIC

MISH MASH FESTIVAL @ DARLINGTON MARKET SQUARE

Words: Michael O’Neill With this year’s instalment of Mish Mash Festival, local music collective Tracks Darlington are on a mission to turn Darlington’s Market Square into the ‘Darlo Dancefloor of Dreams’, packing a broad who’s-who of local talent into a mere bank holiday weekend. Saturday 27th August is headlined by the Leeds-based Shades Collective, who offer a full live-band orchestral twist on some house, garage, jungle and D&B anthems. Preceding the collective is local hip-hop from Shakk, the acoustic R&B of Mathias Skye, local legend and fast-rising neo-soul artist Frankie Jobling, and the indie-indebted synth pop connoisseurs Club Paradise. Sunday 28th’s line-up is more indebted to the festival’s origins as a celebration of world music, with a headlining set from the unforgettably named Baghdaddies, who will arrive in Darlo armed with an exhilarating cocktail of Balkan melodies, ska, Latin grooves and sizzling brass. They’re joined by

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local favourites Blind Panic Ceilidh Band, Geordie folksters The Belta Rievers, summer trad jazz from Sunnyside Jazz and bluegrass brilliance from The Often Herd. There will also be creative workshops, musical themed crafts from BIGLittleGigs, food and drinks galore and best of all – it’s all free! Mish Mash Festival takes place in Darlington’s Market Square on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August. www.tracksdarlington.co.uk

MUSIC

CLASS OF 2022 @ MIDDLESBROUGH TOWN HALL

Words: Ali Welford For those who can’t face waiting another two months for Twisterella, the team behind Middlesbrough’s annual award-winning new music fix have concocted an enticing appetiser… Coming to Middlesbrough Town Hall’s courtyard on Saturday 6th August, this first outdoor summer event brings together eight of the region’s brightest emerging artists (the titular ‘Class of 2022’) for a cracking all-ages

all-dayer – and all for an inflation-busting £5 advance. Curated with the same something-foreveryone mantra as its older sibling, the bill sports no lack of diversity. Specifically, listeners can enjoy ice-cool soulful funk from Moon Wax; the soaring, euphoric electronic pop of Twist Helix; relatable indie folk songsmith Joe Ramsey and Mt. Misery’s luscious, chiming indie pop, with the earliest birds sampling the bold, multifaceted wares of singer-songwriter Jen Dixon. In addition, Class of 2022 offers a sneak-peek of the main festival with three acts also set to appear at Twisterella itself: dark and imaginative electro brat-pop band ZELA; the intimate, beautifully subdued songcraft of Jodie Nicholson; plus versatile socially-conscious hip-hop from Shakk. Don’t be put off by the weather either – if the forecast looks iffy, the event will simply move indoors to the Town Hall Crypt (although, as I write this preview in a 37°C heatwave hothouse, the thought of being rained on for eight hours is heavenly). Class of 2022 takes place at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Saturday 6th August. www.twisterella.co.uk


PREVIEWS

ART & LIT

FIELDJOURNAL @ ARTS CENTRE WASHINGTON Words: Laura Doyle Did you know that the human brain can’t make up a face, and so every face you see in your dreams is one you’ve seen somewhere before? It’s so odd to think a stranger you’ve passed in the street could have a starring role in your brainwaves. It’s also something to think about when considering Kim

McDermottroe’s latest exhibition, FieldJournal, which comes to Arts Centre Washington from Thursday 28th July-Saturday 27th August. As an autistic artist with intense experiences of pareidolia, McDermottroe sees faces in seemingly random patterns and tries to make sense of the feelings of connection with inanimate objects that result through her artwork. FieldJournal started out as a six-page book of illustrations and a short film – but thanks to funding from Arts Council England, her side project has grown into 100 pages of original characters, all with an identity she has constructed for them. Experimenting in illustration, 3D sculpture and animation,

FieldJournal gives form and connection to the characters she sees in her everyday life. In a society that ostracises neurodivergent individuals, an insight into how such a person sees and makes sense of the world around them demonstrates the importance of creative freedom and gives us an opportunity for a little more understanding and empathy. FieldJournal by Kim McDermottroe is at Arts Centre Washington from Thursday 28th July-Saturday 27th August. www.greenerlavelle.co.uk

BRANDING VISUAL IDENTITY DIGITAL DESIGN PRINT DESIGN

UNIFIED BY DESIGN. el-roboto.co.uk 17


TALISK TIWIZA

RHEINGANS SISTERS BALKAN HOT CLUB

BROTHERS GILLESPIE MIKEY KENNEY WHISKEY MOON FACE THE JUBILEE STOMPERS LUCY MERCER & MARTIN SMITH CHRIS ORMSTON GEORGE WELCH & CHRISTINE JEANS CLAIRE HASTINGS DIDDLEY SQUAT SALTCUTTERS BELTA REIVERS NORDESTINOS F RI DAY SEP TEM BE R 2 3R D - SU NDAY SE PTEM BE R 2 5 TH 2 02 2 WW W.A V FF. CO .U K

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PREVIEWS

Martha Wainwright by Gaëlle Leroyer

MUSIC

APOLLO GHOSTS @ BASE CAMP

Words: Jonathan Coll Four-piece Canadian indie rockers Apollo Ghosts stop by Middlesbrough’s Base Camp as part of their UK tour on Thursday 25th August. They’ve recently released a 22-song epic of an album named Pink Tiger, which is an intimate home recorded acoustic-based cycle that grapples with loss, illness, death and memory. Having first formed in 2008, the band quickly became a key part of Vancouver’s bustling underground music scene, before taking a six year hiatus in 2013. Their celebrated comeback has seen them release their most ambitious project yet. The double album was written in the three years since their return, and is split into two distinct sides. The first half deals with grief and loss to a soundtrack of acoustic melody and piano, whereas the second act packs in energetic guitar rock and catchier melodies. This versatility bodes well for the band’s live shows, and their Middlesbrough date also sees Hartlepool’s slacker pop star James Leonard Hewitson return to Base Camp,

this time flying solo with an energetic and thought provoking set. The stacked line-up also finds room for Teesside’s Sorry Escalator to round off the evening with dreamy rock, chiming guitars and pure pop melodies. Apollo Ghosts, James Leonard Hewitson and Sorry Escalator play Base Camp, Middlesbrough on Thursday 25th August. www.apolloghosts.bandcamp.com

MUSIC

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT @ WYLAM BREWERY

Words: Cameron Wright Martha Wainwright’s debut album opened with nothing more than a frail vocal lamenting over a lost romance. It was tender, it was raw and it was the birth of Wainwright’s musical takeover. The Canadian folk singer comes from a family filled with revered and acclaimed musical icons – including polymath brother Rufus Wainwright, father and songwriting icon Loudon Wainwright III and mother and acclaimed folk artist Kate McGarrigle – yet she has forged her own voice, as testament to her own talent. Over the years, Wainwright’s music has

demonstrated a vulnerability and pain which is often cloaked in unassuming vignettes. Her recent release is two-fold – encompassing a memoir, Stories I Might Regret Telling You, and her latest album Love Will Be Reborn. The highly anticipated memoir documents a litany of brutally self-effacing and honest accounts of the tribulations, pressures and emotions she has experienced growing up in a vocal and talented household. Rammed full of candid tales, it was a striking contrast to the more guarded output of her musical career, and the accompanying album contains songs discussed in the publication, mirroring the honesty and heart which sets the memoir apart. Her forthcoming show at Wylam Brewery on Sunday 7th August will no doubt see performances of recent tracks and old favourites. Always a mesmerising performer, it’ll be a truly special show made more so by supporting artist Roseanne Reid – herself no stranger to a famous family, as her father is The Proclaimers’ Craig Reid – and whose folky roots style is as beguiling as Martha’s is heartbreaking. Martha Wainwright and Roseanne Reid play Wylam Brewery, Newcastle on Sunday 7th August. www.marthawainwright.com

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PREVIEWS

David, woodcut print on Japanese paper, 90cm x 180cm 2021

ART & LIT

I AM SOMEBODY @ NEWCASTLE ARTS CENTRE

Words: Laura Doyle Some people get too bogged down on statistics. We read “81% increase in food bank use” or “66,000 more people will be homeless by 2024”, but those numbers can never really account for

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Tony, woodcut print on Japanese paper, 60cm x 120cm, 2020 the fact that behind every percentage, pie chart and news story, there are real people trying to live their lives in desperate times. Multimedia artist Mark Carr has worked for years with Newcastle’s People’s Kitchen, on the frontline providing services for society’s vulnerable. After spending time with Friends of the People’s Kitchen, he decided it was time to put out a reminder that every person who has the need to access these services is just that: a person. I Am Somebody highlights the humanity that is often erased in commentaries on poverty and homelessness with a multimedia exhibition

Teresa, woodcut print on Japanese paper, 90cm x 180cm, 2021 featuring real-life people who have benefited from the hard work of the People’s Kitchen. From Friday 26th August-Saturday 10th September, Newcastle Arts Centre will house the 31 life-size woodcut print portraits and varnished canvas artworks of friends who wished to be involved, as well as screening Carr’s 18 minute video which serves as a poetic tribute to all those Friends who deserve much more than to be a statistic. I Am Somebody is at Newcastle Arts Centre from Friday 26th August-Saturday 10th September. www.markcarrart.com


PREVIEWS

Lightning Bolt by Scott Alario

MUSIC

LIGHTNING BOLT @ THE CLUNY

Words: Jonathan Coll US rock duo Lightning Bolt touch down at Newcastle’s Cluny on Saturday 13th August as part of a summer tour that has already seen them perform at Primavera Sound Festival, among several of Europe’s most revered stages and festivals. Having formed back in 1994, their latest album Sonic Citadel is the seventh in an illustrious career which has seen them carve out a reputation for inventive, primal instrumentals which defy any genre tag given to them. Their most recent album is also one of their most accomplished, with Pitchfork describing it as “the most life-affirming music they’ve ever made.” It’s a sound which has translated well into live performance too, gaining the band even more accolades. Drummer Brian Chippendale’s balaclava has become iconic,

and bassist Brian Gibson has a similarly eccentric and thrilling stage presence. All of this adds up to a rare treat for Newcastle fans. Lightning Bolt play The Cluny, Newcastle on Saturday 13th August. www.lightningbolt.bandcamp.com

MUSIC

NEVERSLEEP ALL DAYER @ ANARCHY BREW CO

Words: Jason Jones Promoters Neversleep take over Benfield Road’s Anarchy Brew Co for a full day of lovely heaviness in aid of a good cause on Saturday 13th August. Bringing together a veritable onslaught of the region’s best hardcore and alternative bands, as well as a smattering of blisteringly hot acts from across the rest of the country, the charity event will be looking to raise money to

support victims of domestic abuse through the ever-wonderful Newcastle Women’s Aid. Representing the North East are the likes of Wise Up, Unified Action, Reprobate, The Heffleys, Soap, Raising Romulus, Muckle, LULL and Mally, with further deliciousness provided by London’s Negative Frame and Churchgoers, Leeds’ Option B and FIELDING and Birmingham’s Ordeal. Kicking off at noon with a run of local talent, the evening’s chaos is set to commence at 6pm, with a relentless line-up of tasty bands and the promise of an NEHC Karaoke session to cap things off. Tickets are available for a minimum donation of £5, and the event will be open to all ages. Expect a busy day of glorious noise and canny bedlam, all in the name of a brilliantly selfless and deserving local initiative. Neversleep All Dayer takes place at Anarchy Brew Co, Newcastle on Saturday 13th August. www.facebook.com/neversleepncl

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PREVIEWS

Poppy, vet and farmer’s daughter, taking a break from driving the combine during harvest, 2021, photograph

ART & LIT

DAUGHTERS OF THE SOIL @ VANE GALLERY

Words: Michael O’Neill The culmination of 12 months’ work researching gender and agriculture in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, Daughters of the Soil is an insightful and powerful portrait exhibition from critically acclaimed documentary photographer Joanne Coates. The work, which will be exhibited at Gateshead’s Vane Gallery (every Wednesday to Saturday between Thursday 11th August-

welcomed, Coates’ work still highlights the vast need for change in an industry that is still so male-dominated and often presents women with underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles. Joanne comments. “Women aren’t as visible as men on farms, but we are seeing them more often. The female workforce is driving tractors, having a social media presence, and can be seen on the TV, but they don’t often inherit land or work in leadership positions.” Daughters of the Soil by Joanne Coates is at Vane Gallery, Gateshead from Thursday 11th August-Saturday 3rd September. www.joannecoates.co.uk

Saturday 3rd September) shines a spotlight on the significant, but often overlooked, role that women have to play in the agricultural industries that we so often rely on. Joanne has worked as a farm labourer and lives in a rural area with her farming partner, which affords her a unique insight and perspective. To create the exhibition, she collaborated with Professor Sally Shortall (the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy and an expert on gender and agriculture) as well as over 40 women from the farming industry within the regions, finding herself inspired by the increasing visibility of women within the farming industry, who currently make up a mere 15% of the UK’s farming workforce. Although this visibility is

INDEPENDENT 2022

SCRANNABIS

SATURDAY 6TH AUGUST

NOYOU

FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST

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PATRICK GOSLING FRIDAY 14TH OCTOBER

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PREVIEWS

Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler

MUSIC

JESSIE BUCKLEY & BERNARD BUTLER @ PLAYHOUSE WHITLEY BAY

Words: Laura Doyle An award-winning West End actress and one of the greatest guitarists of a generation walk into a bar… It sounds like the start of one hell of a joke, but really it is the origin story of one of the most exciting collaborations to hit our eardrums this year, and one North East audiences can witness in person at Playhouse Whitley Bay on Thursday 25th August. It feels like Bernard Butler has worked with every artist under the sun since his departure from rock band Suede in 1994. So for this latest work to be garnering such attention speaks volumes. Creative partner Jessie Buckley has come a long way since her break-out appearance on BBC’s I’d Do Anything (back in the day when every musical needed a TV competition to find its lead role) but she’s more than proved her worth on screen and stage since then. Teaming up with the former Suede guitarist sounds a bit left-field, yet their collaborative album For All Our Days That Tear The Heart has ended up making more sense than we could have expected. This acoustic folk rock record showcases the best of Buckley’s intensely emotive vocals and Butler’s technical musical skill. Lead single The Eagle And The Dove is an epic orchestral adventure. This project has wings, and it’d be foolish to miss its fantastical flight. Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler perform at Playhouse Whitley Bay on Thursday 25th August. www.buckleyandbutler.com

MUSIC

FILM

NOYOU @ INDEPENDENT

WOMEN X FILM FESTIVAL @ DARLINGTON HIPPODROME

Words: Jake Anderson Known for their electric energy and their stimulating guitar riffs, North East rockers noyou will be blasting their sound across Sunderland’s Independent on Friday 19th August. The show is set to be their biggest yet, building upon their recent successful opening for Plastic Glass’s farewell show at the venue last month, and this time they’re taking the headline slot. The band have released a couple of singles already this year, including the danceable Driving You Crazy and the synth heavy Coping Over Again. With these releases they’ve successfully cemented themselves as one of the region’s rising bands, and their performances are perfect for fans of the electronic-influenced pop rock that permutated the 2010’s Joining the bill will be one of the cornerstones of the Sunderland scene, Picnic. It’s been a good while since the punky pop act have released new material, but their shows are always a blast and they’ll be filling the room with their signature bouncy sound and joyful sax solos. If two bands weren’t enough, Violectric are also on the roster for the night. The five-piece are fairly new to the scene, having only released their debut single in June, which features a dark twist on indie rock riffs. noyou, Picnic and Violectric play Independent, Sunderland on Friday 19th August. www.facebook.com/noyoumsc

Words: Lizzie Lovejoy This September marks the return of WomenX, the North East short film festival celebrating the creative work of women and non-binary people in the world of moving image. These directors, writers and producers will share their work in a programme of diverse and original pieces, considering both fiction and reality. Organisers have strived to make the festival as accessible as possible, with attendees able to take part both in person at Darlington Hippodrome and online via Leeds Film Player. Covering comedy, off-beat romance, animation, horror and other experimental genres, this festival of over 40 short films will showcase the wide range of storytelling techniques used by the brilliant women and non-binary film makers. Particular focus is dedicated to films created by women in the North East too, with a whole screening curated by award winning Darlington filmmaker (and the festival’s director) Caris Rianne. WomenX not only gives audiences the chance to watch exciting films, it will also include two industry talks and workshops intended to aid people in developing their creative career pathways, and there’s the opportunity to be part of an interactive networking session, awards ceremony, and film quizzes too. WomenX Film Festival takes place online and at Darlington Hippodrome from Friday 2nd-Sunday 4th September. www.riannepictures.com

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PREVIEWS

Cola

EVENTS

STOCKTON INTERNATIONAL RIVERSIDE FESTIVAL

Words: Claire Dupree SIRF, Stockton’s free celebration of outdoor art and street theatre returns to the Teesside town from Thursday 4th-Sunday 7th August. The family favourite has much to enjoy for all ages, with a host of unusual and interesting diversions. Installations and events are myriad, with many looking to provoke discourse around global issues as well as entertain. The Rivers of the World installation saw pupils from local schools work alongside artists Rachel Laycock and Emma Wheetman from BloomInArts to interpret the River Tees and explore global and local issues alongside a partner school in Lebanon; in Harmonic Fields, Pierre Sauvageot presents a ‘wind symphony’ of 500 instruments, from harmonic cellos and vibrating drums to bamboo whistles and gyratory music boxes, which reveals unexpected musical compositions using the power of the wind; storytellers Daniel Bye and Aidan Moesby’s installation C’Mon In, The Water’s Lovely is set in an Antarctic research station and investigates the contradictions often at the heart of environmentalism; Safekeeping is an immersive audio experience featuring original music by composer and multi-instrumentalist Holly Khan; 0AR includes a collection of short dance works in augmented reality; local company Whippet Up tell tales inspired by local folklore in For The People, By The People; interactive spectacle FLOOD uses circus, music and acrobatics to understand the challenges faced by our coastlines; Joli Vyann’s unique dance, circus and theatre piece, Timeless, takes place on a seven-metre high rotating hourglass, exploring the fragility of time and nature; while the poetic Mayfly is a

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spectacular fusion of water, dance and song which expresses the transformative strength of women. In addition, there’s family activities at the Tees Barrage to mark the Canal & River Trust’s 10th anniversary; colourful displays of aerialists and acrobatics; and travelling Indian street market The Grand Indian Bazaar will present a vibrant and colourful extravaganza of intrigue, feats of daring, music and surprise. SIRF takes place in Stockton from Thursday 4th-Sunday 7th August. www.sirf.co.uk

MUSIC

COLA @ POP RECS LTD.

Words: Jonathan Coll Montreal-born Cola first started collaborating in 2019 when two former members of post-punk rockers Ought reached out to an old friend. The band’s current line-up comprises of Tim Darcy, Ben Stidworthy and latest addition Evan Cartwright, and their latest project looks to recapture much of what made Ought so essential, without becoming a tribute act. As the band put it themselves, Cola sees the trio “look to see how far we can stretch our compositions with just one guitar, one bass, drums and one voice.” The result so far has been a collection of skeletal songs speaking of modern anxiety and isolation. The band’s name is an acronym for ‘Cost of Living Adjustment’, which is both a dry source of inspiration for a rock band and incredibly prescient for the times we’re living in. Ought’s 2014 debut album More Than Any Other Day was a masterclass in tetchy, talkative art punk and Cola’s debut carries on a similar vein. Darcy’s lyrics speak to human connection and introspection just as they always have, but the music has evolved into more minimalist soft rock and moody piano. The latest iteration of this project arrives at Sunderland’s community

hub Pop Recs Ltd., on August Bank Holiday Sunday. Cola play Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland on Sunday 28th August. www.bandcola.bandcamp.com

MUSIC

JOHN FRANCIS FLYNN @ POP RECS LTD.

Words: Mera Royle An Irish musician of profound talents and deeply expressive music, the spellbinding John Francis Flynn has begun to make a bellowing impact across worldwide folk scenes. Following the release of his 2021 album, I Would Not Live Always, which topped The Guardian’s Folk Albums of the Year list, Flynn has been travelling the world with his astounding and highly acclaimed folk virtuosity. You may know him as a member of the Dublin band Skipper’s Alley, who have carried their gritty, ancient, yet rebelliously contemporary sounds across Europe and America, disseminating interest internationally for the ecstatic energy of Dublin folk. The next stop for Flynn’s solo tour is his gig at Sunderland venue Pop Recs Ltd. on Tuesday 9th August. Supporting him is Glaswegian multi-instrumentalist Iona Zajac, as well as the renowned folk musician Sarah Hayes, three times BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award finalist, and Scots Trad composer of the year nominee. This is a night filled with promises of masterful artistic reverie from some of the biggest names on the modern folk scene. Don’t miss it. John Francis Flynn, Iona Zajac and Sarah Hayes play Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland on Tuesday 9th August. www.facebook.com/johnfrancisflynnmusic


PREVIEWS

MUSIC

DEERHOOF @ THE CLUNY

Words: Jason Jones Veteran American indie rockers Deerhoof bring their irresistible experimentalism to The Cluny on Monday 29th August, for a show that promises to be infectiously joyous and mind-bendingly intricate in equal measure. Over the course of 18 – count them, that’s 18

– albums, the San Francisco natives have garnered a reputation for their raw eclecticism and daring brand of narrative storytelling, and have showed few signs of easing up on either front in recent years. Critically acclaimed 2020 effort Future Teenage Cave Artist, a fairytale-inspired rumination on postapocalyptic unravellings, proved to be achingly prescient in a world that continues to teeter on the brink of the void, while last October’s release Actually, You Can was a genre-spanning journey through kaleidoscopic radicalism. Speaking about the album at the time, the band

said: “Think of all the beauty, positivity and love that gets deemed ugly, negative and hateful by the self-proclaimed guardians of ‘common sense.’ We’d hardly be destroying society by dismantling their colonial economics and prisons and gender roles and aesthetics. We’d be creating it!” It’s in that space, nestled between celebration and revolution, that Deerhoof continue to thrive. Deerhoof play The Cluny, Newcastle on Monday 29th August. www.deerhoof.website

STOCKTON-ON-TEES FIRST WAVE OF ACTS

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PREVIEWS

Cocaine Piss by Thierry Tönnes

MUSIC

BETWEEN WOODS & STREAMS FESTIVAL @ WEST BENRIDGE FARM

Words: Claire Dupree Trust me when I tell you that Between Woods & Streams will be the most exciting thing to happen in Morpeth since the floral clock was repaired in 2018. I’m being (slightly) flippant, sure, but as a resident of the Northumberland town myself I can tell you with authority that not much goes on around these parts for those with an interest in alternative culture. Which is just one reason the forthcoming Between Woods & Streams festival, which takes place on a farm just outside the town on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August, is a fine thing indeed. The other reason is that the line-up is pretty darn great, and when you add a bucolic location, camping, plenty of North East food and drink, not to mention pigeon release and whippet racing (yes, you read that right), you’d be foolhardy not to give it a second glance. The line-up is made up of some of the region’s most exciting up and coming artists as well as a couple of well thought of staples. Chief among them are everybody’s favourite spiky Mackem pop stars The Futureheads, Durham’s pit pop band Dennis, Northumberland’s own joycore misfits Kkett, emotive songwriter The Lake Poets, slacker popster James Leonard Hewitson, pop songwriter and producer Cortney Dixon, poetic lyricist and multi-instrumentalist St James Infirmary and North Shields’ revered songwriter Hector Gannet, alongside other names including Bugman, China Shop Bull, Gogo Midgets, Sanction This, The Shooting Of, Chango Munks, Jenny Lascelles, Holly Rees, Cosial, Eve Simpson, Maxine and Chloe Castro. Presented by Guerilla Promotions in partnership with Generator (who will be hosting a workshop on the Saturday), it’ll literally be the most fun

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I’ve had within a mile of my house since that clock got a new battery. Make the trip, you won’t be disappointed! Between Woods & Streams Festival takes place at West Benridge Farm, Morpeth on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August. www.bit.ly/bwasfestival

MUSIC

SIRF FRINGE @ THE GEORGIAN THEATRE

Words: Ali Welford After a two-year hiatus, this month finally sees the return of Stockton International Riverside Festival – a long-awaited 35th edition promising four fabulous days of street theatre, music, dance and outdoor arts. Along with opening its doors for the full weekend, venue and community hub The Georgian Theatre is set to supplement the action with its own SIRF Fringe event – a live music all-dayer on Saturday 6th August, presenting 10 terrific local acts over a pair of stages, plus a Sunday social the following day complete with pizza, drinks, board games, crafts and a maker’s market. On the Saturday, the venue’s main stage looks especially stacked. Here, punters can sample the theatrical delights of reformed blues rockers The Purnells; funky psych pop groovemeisters Ronald Raygun; plus Rudi Betamax’s ‘glam-stomp’ rock ‘n’ roll thrust. They’re preceded by intense industrial electro duo Analogue Blood; retro indie revivalists SHORE; fuzzy, spaced-out rock from Mr, Bigfoot and the frank, angsty vignettes of singersongwriter Charlotte Grayson. The more informal bar stage, meanwhile, offers gems of its own in the form of bedroom DIY artist and multi-instrumentalist Tobias And The Lion; emerging acoustic songwriter Lucy Pottinger and Broken Broadcast frontman J.P. Riggall’s solo ‘anxiety blues;’ with Sound It Out Records’ DJ Tom Butchart ensuring the music

doesn’t cease during the intervals. And best of all? As with SIRF itself, this excellent day’s entertainment won’t set you back a penny. SIRF Fringe takes place at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August. www.georgiantheatre.co.uk

MUSIC

COCAINE PISS @ THE CLUNY 2

Words: Jonathan Coll Belgian punk band Cocaine Piss take to the intimate confines of The Cluny 2 as part of their UK summer tour on Wednesday 31st August. As the name of the band would suggest, they’re slightly unconventional and offer the sort of intense social commentary you’d expect from one of punk’s most exciting acts. Cocaine Piss are comprised of four friends who grew up in a remote town in southern Belgium, and their formation was initially supposed to be for a one show project. However the band continued to grow and now have three albums under their belt with the most recent, 2019’s Passionate And Tragic, earning praise for being an unhinged and vital slab of sound. Many of the tracks from that album take on a life of their own when performed live, with the likes of Pretty Pissed, Every Night I’m Waiting and Poor Decisions displaying raucous bouts of pure energy that beg to be played in a live setting. Iconic track Eat The Rich also comes from that same album, and carries the sort of anti-establishment fury which is so vital and so lacking modern music. This is not one to be missed. Cocaine Piss play The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Wednesday 31st August. www.cocainepiss.com


INTERVIEWS MUSIC

M(H)AOL

Image by Susan Appleby

EVIE LAKE TALKS TO THE FEMINIST PUNK ICONS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HONEST SONGWRITING AND FINDING JOY AND HUMOUR IN ACTS OF RESISTANCE Droll, self-reflective and questioning, M(h)aol open their 2021 EP, Gender Studies, with the lyric “Why don’t you study my gender, tell me it’s not enough…”, directly reflecting the condescension of the culture war back to the personal. “My writing style is very influenced by R&B artists like Dua Saleh and Ivy Sole who weave personal and political narratives together seamlessly,” says singer and lyricist Róisín. Speaking of Gender Studies, and its follow-up, Bored Of Men, Róisín reflects on the ease with which these songs were produced: “Songwriting absolutely creates a space to communicate candidly and passionately about issues that affect me and the wider world. It’s also a very accessible art form. Songs can be the springboard to explore topics and issues the listener might not have otherwise come across.” Although anti-definitional, M(h)aol (pronounced ‘male’) aren’t R&B, but heavy, undulating punks whose songs channel the fury of the feminine experience. Their most prolific song is Asking For It, which combines the shame, regret and anger that follows sexual harassment and assault: “I’m just the dumb bitch that left the party with you, was I asking for it?” demands a loudening Róisín. Significantly, the single cover displays a woman’s hand armed with keys between each finger, a familiar image for any woman walking home alone. “For me, the most powerful line is ‘my whole life won’t be defined by you’ because the song tells a horror story, the reality of a heinous act that has been rendered almost banal by its ubiquity.” Midway through the song, Róisín screams ‘no’, righting a wrong that plagues victim behaviour. “It represents a turning point, it’s the character finding their own voice. The reason the line stands out

IT WAS SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN, MUSICALLY, TO SIT BETWEEN THE FURY, THE SHAME AND THE FEAR

so much to me is because this character is saying despite everything, despite the victim blaming, the slut shaming, the law working against them, despite it all, they will not let their life be defined by it.” It can get heavy at times, but there’s an emphasis on care, with bassist Jamie reflecting: “knowing I’m safe and with people I trust in the studio is such a special and indescribable experience”. Jamie adds: “we have made an effort recently to make the music a bit less intense, as we do deal with some very intense topics. With Asking For It, in particular, I have walked away from shows in tears. It was specifically written, musically, to sit between the fury, the shame and the fear.” There has been an active push to move away from the relentlessness of such topics because as Róisín says, they’re trying to put a “greater emphasis on healing, joy and humour as acts of resistance”. Feminism isn’t defined by its anger, but can be expressed through different lenses, which is exactly what M(h)aol are hinting at for their later releases, specifically an album (mixed and mastered by Jamie) out next year: “There’s a decided mentality of ‘lighter feminist party songs’ to try and keep the idea that feminism isn’t all doom and gloom and that there are plenty of things to be positive about.” M(h)aol combines seriousness with humour, poking fun at the lighter side of the patriarchal experience. Specifically, their merch which dons the phrase ‘Ghost a post-punk boy today’, a phrase drummer, Connie, coined: “I think music can be a breeding ground for men who do a lot of talk and not a lot of action when it comes to feminism. I just wanted to make merch that would make me laugh.” M(h)aol play The Shooting Gallery, Newcastle on Friday 26th August. www.mhaol.bandcamp.com

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COVER FEATURE

THE DAWDLER LINSEY TEGGERT TALKS TO NEWCASTLE MUSICIAN JOHN EDGAR ABOUT HIS NEW EP PURSED MODERN: A SELFDESCRIBED HOMAGE TO HIS FORMER LIFE AS AN ABLE-BODIED PERSON, HIS CONTINUING MUSICAL JOURNEY AND THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMOUR IMAGE BY AMELIA READ

As John Edgar was writing the tracks for his latest EP, Pursed Modern, he knew something was terribly wrong with his health. John, aka The Dawdler, had been struggling for several years but things seemed to be deteriorating faster. “I knew shit was hitting the fan and that the wheels were falling off in my health department, but I didn’t understand why,” muses John with the same sense of dark humour that’s peppered throughout his

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creative output. After years of misdiagnosis and his body in steady decline, John was finally diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis towards the end of 2021. In retrospect, things began to make sense. “Over the years, what I’ve wanted to do stylistically has changed, which of course is normal: tastes and influences change. But it


COVER FEATURE

MUSIC IT’S ONLY IN RETROSPECT THAT I CAN IDENTIFY A PARALLEL BETWEEN WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY AND MY MUSICAL OUTPUT

got me thinking about my musical journey and how it’s odd that my physical limitations and how they’ve developed have been in line with the style, or perhaps more the mood, of the music I’ve been writing. Towards the end of Okay Champ [one of John’s previous, heavier projects along with Eat Fast and Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister] I remember playing gigs where I could barely stand up. I’d play hunched over, more or less standing on one leg, as my right leg was so weak. “It’s only in retrospect that I can identify a parallel between what was happening to me physically and mentally and my musical output. The music that I was listening to was probably influenced by how I was feeling; I went from listening to a lot of energetic, dark, moody stuff before now arriving at where I generally listen to very ambient, neo-classical lo-fi stuff. You probably could draw a parallel between that and my physical condition.” While The Dawdler’s sound sits at the gentler end of the spectrum, it still contains much of the darkness found in John’s previous work. Pursed Modern is a much deeper and dramatic release than 2020’s Sign Of Growth EP. Though musically the soaring cinematic opener Josephine hints at hope and light, we’re swept back into melancholia with the quiet sense of dread of Skipping Down The Road – Ceitidh Mac’s spine-tingling backing vocals only adding to the sense of unease.

“When I was writing Skipping Down The Road I’d just read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, both of which contain air raids, and the track explores the moments before a city is destroyed by bombs. I was absolutely floored by The Book Thief, I don’t think I’ve ever properly sobbed when reading a book, but I really did during one part of The Book Thief!” With all the tracks on Pursed Modern written before his diagnosis, John is now able to look back and make more sense of his lyrical content, much like the parallels between his musical style and physical health. “Lyrically, Skipping Down The Road explores themes of things falling apart and disintegrating and now I can see that it echoes everything that was happening to me, with me losing my ability to walk properly and being in so much pain all the time. “These tunes were written well before I had my diagnosis, but it was when things were really starting to go downhill. It’s interesting that being where I am now and knowing exactly what’s going on, I can see that the songs on this EP have themes which are clearly massively influenced by what was happening to me. I can look back at my creative output over previous years and pick out specific things and think ‘Oh, I was talking about that and I didn’t fucking know!’” Of all the tracks on Pursed Modern, Get Zen is perhaps the most on the nose when it comes to meaning. “Everyone thinks they have a solution and honestly I do totally appreciate people trying to help, but it’s frustrating when everyone thinks they’re an expert. I’d limp into the corner shop and the guy would tell me I needed to wear a weightlifter’s belt or stop smoking. People say you need to do yoga, take turmeric tablets, this and that. Sometimes all you want is just for someone to say ‘I’m really sorry’ and sympathise, give you a hug or have a drink with you... Then the second verse of that song is about drinking all my problems away,” John chuckles. It’s these flashes of wry, very British humour that make The Dawdler such a charming prospect. While the beautiful ambience has universal appeal, translating into thousands upon thousands of streams and places on Spotify playlists, John never fails to add a touch of idiosyncrasy to the proceedings. “Certainly now I always try to insert a bit of a sense of humour or a little nod to something funny. ‘Pursed Modern’ itself is a little nod to the Pitmatic Northumbrian lilt – the label have absolutely no idea that it’s a subtle celebration of the Ashington accent!” John reflects on everything that has led up to the release of his latest EP. “I feel like I’ve had a really lucky life. No really terrible shit has ever happened to me and I can’t really say that I’m a particularly dark, troubled person. Sure, with the Nately’s stuff I was struggling a lot with mental health problems, so I guess that was dark. Maybe I’m just more chilled out now, more accepting of my lot. “Over the past few years I’ve definitely softened up to things which would make me cringe years ago. You know, I watch Strictly Come Dancing now! If you’d told me that ten years ago I probably would have spat in your face. But here I am, excited about who will be on Strictly this year, so something has definitely happened!” The Dawdler releases Pursed Modern on 26th August. www.linktr.ee/thedawdler

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INTERVIEW

CAZIMI

HOPE LYNES SPEAKS TO LEAD VOCALIST IAN AND DRUMMER GARY ABOUT THE BAND’S NEW EP, SIGNALS

MUSIC

Following their debut album Late In The Day in 2020, the line-up of Sunderland alt. rock band Cazimi has reshuffled somewhat, with Gary Binns on drums and Kev Melling on bass joining guitarist Jim McCulloch and lead vocalist and guitarist Ian Hedley. The band note that while there haven’t been major changes musically, the make-up of the band has very much determined their direction. Ian described the production process: “I write the songs, take them along to the band and depending on who’s in the band, it’s going to change the version of the song.” Drummer Gary admits that Ian is the driving force behind the group. “Ian does all the mixing and production himself, he does everything to be honest, he’s the creative force behind this, it’s great to have someone passionate and in control of what he sees as his baby.” Preparing to release their brand new EP, Signals, this month, Gary stresses that the honesty in the songwriting is what spurs him on. “What’s important is that it’s honest music, and if you give it a chance it grows on you.” The four track EP is dark and haunting, with influences spanning shoegaze, the nostalgic rock of the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and the more modern alternative noise of Pip Blom, yet Gary proclaims: “We can’t be easily pigeonholed…the flip side of that is that people don’t know what we are! If you do fit nicely in a box that does make it easier in some respects, but

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WE CAN’T BE EASILY PIGEONHOLED…WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS MUSIC IS THAT IT SOUNDS A BIT DIFFERENT, IT’S GOT SOME THOUGHT BEHIND IT LYRICALLY what I like about this music is that it sounds a bit different, something I could work with and enjoy doing. It’s got some thought behind it lyrically, and as a drummer I could bring something to it and bring it to another level.” A stand-out track for Ian is Coming Home, a song which has an explosive ambience in its vast instrumental rock range. Ian explains: “I love to play that, it gives us the shivers!” While the Gothic sounds of Fascination, a song which Ian has been tinkering with for over six years, finally comes to fruition in a haunting alt. rock soundscape. The band will be launching their EP at Sunderland’s Ship Isis on Saturday 20th August, and they are preparing for an intense and intimate experience. “It’s a small room, and I think it’s going to be rammed and jumping!” Cazimi release Signals on 5th August. They play The Ship Isis, Sunderland on Saturday 20th August. www.cazimi.co.uk


INTERVIEW

ART & LIT

Image by Alice Smith

ELLEN RANSON

CLAIRE DUPREE FINDS OUT HOW ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST PAINTER ELLEN RANSON USES HER BOLD WORK TO QUESTION GENDER IMBALANCE IN ART County Durham-born artist Ellen Ranson is making waves thanks to her big, bold and bright artworks which aim to question and challenge the rhetoric of male dominance within the artistic expressionism movement. “My interest in the abstract painting world linked to female artists really comes from historical research and goes back to abstract expressionism in the fifties and sixties and the ingrained imbalance and active exclusion of women.” She explains. “I felt like that this historical reference point was emblematic of exclusion more widely within art, but also more widely in the world itself. Some of the female artists of the time were completely excluded from their own movement by male artists. I feel like the abstract expressionist movement can be emblematic of exclusion as a whole. And because I’m a painter, this is how I explore those ideas.” Ellen’s current work is typified by giant canvasses which encompass bright swathes of colour and shape. Sometimes employing unusual mediums and techniques – from using mops and brooms as ‘paintbrushes’, she explains that much of her work goes through a ‘trial and error’ approach. “My work is now becoming more about the layers and creating a sense of depth on the canvas with colour and pattern. I try to see each painting as an improvement on the last, be it in technique or material or even colour of the layers that I use. It’s like a learning process.” Her new exhibition of work at Middlesbrough’s Pineapple Black gallery this month draws from her recent fellowship in Venice. Using photography or sketches as a basis, these latest paintings take inspiration from historical buildings of Venice, the art at the recent Biennale and even the graffiti she used as waypoints to find her way through the city. “Venice is an amazing city. Its history, however, emerges from an ancient and ongoing patriarchal society. The 2022 Biennale felt like a clash of two worlds – the ancient and new. This year’s Biennale was the first

WE NEED TO WORK TOWARDS A SOCIETY WHERE ARTS AND CULTURE IS THREADED THROUGHOUT PEOPLE’S LIVES, IS ACCESSIBLE, DEMOCRATIC AND RELEVANT TO EVERYONE time that women and gender non-conforming artists were in the majority. It really felt like a takeover of a place – Venice was representing the wider world. Part of the Biennale is held in the Arsenale, which at its time was one of the most powerful naval bases in the world – it’s a real show of power. And when I was there I was thinking about how it was filled with art work from around the world, 90% of which was by female/gender non-conforming artists.” Ellen will feed imagery of historical buildings from the city into her new work, utilising it as a motif or a repetitive pattern. While this increased representation can only be a good thing, Ellen is emphatic that simply including more women and gender minorities in traditional arts spaces is not enough. “Whilst that’s always going to be an element of it, it’s something that’s much more ingrained in how galleries function, particularly large institutions with historical collections of artwork. It has to come from something much deeper, from the very roots of what art is and also how society functions. We need to work towards a society where arts and culture is threaded throughout people’s lives, is accessible, democratic and relevant to everyone.” Ellen Ranson’s exhibition is on display at Pineapple Black, Middlesbrough from Friday 5th-Saturday 20th August, Thursday-Saturday by appointment. www.ellenranson.co.uk

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

L-R, T-B: Madness, Oh My God! It’s The Church, Slamboree, Rudimental

LINDISFARNE FESTIVAL MARIA WINTER SPEAKS TO LINDISFARNE FESTIVAL ORGANISER CONLETH MAENPAA ABOUT THE INSPIRATIONS AND INTENTIONS BEHIND SEPTEMBER’S HIGHLY ANTICIPATED EVENT

After many years of success and progression, Lindisfarne Festival is back for 2022 and will be better than ever, with a diverse range of musical acts, workshops and entertainment taking over the Beal Farm site opposite Lindisfarne in Northumberland from Thursday 1st-Sunday 4th September. The festival is headlined by Madness and Rudimental, and you can expect a weekend of non-stop celebrations as this camping extravaganza introduces you to an unparalleled experience which is about so much more than just the music. Located on the breathtaking Northumberland coastline, Lindisfarne Festival’s debut took place in 2015. Having grown steadily year on year, it has blossomed into a magnificent spectacle of cultural delights – from traditional fiddle music to fire-eating acrobats – you name it and Lindisfarne will most likely have it. Festival organiser Conleth Maenpaa talks passionately about the importance of valuing the event’s fundamental intention of togetherness, rather than obsessing over aesthetics. “It’s already grown from three stages to nine, but we’re not looking to increase the size this year as we will lose the intimacy of the event.” By pursuing the traditional festival approach of campfires, tents and activities, Conleth strived to capture the authenticity typical of an event like Glastonbury, influenced by the festival’s vastness in what it has to offer. Lindisfarne successfully adopts that comprehensive nature, from meditation sessions to drumming workshops, with a focus on wellbeing and holistic therapies, and it’s evident how participation and camaraderie is utilised to heighten that sense of adventure. Conleth’s passion for prioritising the experience is also apparent in the diverse range of performers. Focusing on positivity and inclusivity, the beauty of Lindisfarne Festival lies in its inclusion of all genres and artists big or small – there’s something for everyone. The roster is as diverse as it is exciting, with festival goers able to enjoy performances from the likes of Norman Jay MBE, Tokyo Acid Cru, Slamboree, Sheelanagig, Millie Manders

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THE BANDS YOU WILL ENJOY THE MOST ARE THE BANDS YOU PROBABLY WON’T KNOW & The Shut Up, Lindisfarne, Warmduscher, Dub Pistols, Roni Size, Oh My God! It’s The Church and Beans on Toast among many more, and an impressive array of local artists including Andrew Cushin, Lottie Willis, Frankie Jobling, Smoove & Turrell, New York Brass Band, Faye Fantarrow, ZELA and The Whippet Beans. In addition to music, there’s spoken word courtesy of Born Lippy and stand-up comedy from local promoters Punch Drunk Comedy. “You wouldn’t necessarily come across these bands off your own back unless you were at an event like this. Even if you’re a smaller artist you have the chance to be seen by people who actually want to watch. The bands you will enjoy the most are the bands you probably won’t know.” Organising an event on this scale comes with multiple challenges, most recently the escalation in everyday expenses, so ticket prices have been a huge consideration. Despite growing competition with other music events around the region, Conleth refrained from aggressively increasing prices, as his main priority was accessibility. “Our challenge has been to make sure everyone gets to experience the event,” he noted. As a destination festival designed to celebrate the beauty of togetherness accompanied by an assortment of incredible music and an iconic location, Lindisfarne Festival truly is a spectacle you do not want to miss, and Conleth puts it best: “This event is the ultimate end of season festival to experience with friends.” Lindisfarne Festival takes place at Beal Farm, Northumberland from Thursday 1st-Sunday 4th September. www.lindisfarnefestival.com


INTERVIEW

MUSIC

Image by Emma Wondra

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE

VERSATILE MUSICIAN EMMA RUTH RUNDLE TELLS CAMERON WRIGHT ABOUT HOW TACKLING WEIGHTY ISSUES ON HER LATEST RELEASE HAVE RESULTED IN AN HONEST DISSECTION OF SELF-IDENTITY There’s a tenacious creative streak that cuts across Emma Ruth Rundle’s versatile and eclectic career, with her releases varying from bombastic, expressionistic, improvisational pieces, to twinkling and spacious ambient records, or even her sludgy doom metal collaboration with Thou. In every project, there are shards of Rundle, twinkling. With each release and each direction, there is a new layer of understanding and growth added to her outlook. “Everything I do as a musician is done in the lens of self exploration. I can’t separate myself from the art.” She explains. “Themes of addiction and struggles are prevalent, I guess it’s a way of understanding and processing. It’s dealing with those weighty issues that is probably the reason I’m welcomed into the metal community, not so much the sound or delivery.” Rundle’s solo tour, which visits Gosforth Civic Theatre on Saturday 13th August, comes straight off the heels of her supporting role for Gothic heroine Chelsea Wolfe, yet Rundle’s latest projects are a far cry from what most may anticipate. EG2: Dowsing Voice is an artistic romp through experimentation, improvisation and liberation, however it is 2021’s Engine Of Hell that takes the focus on the latest tour. Engine of Hell is a phenomenal release, both as a stand alone record, and as a rebuttal from Rundle’s previous output. Referring to it as a natural next step after the intensity of both the Thou collaboration and subsequent tour, the album tears away all the theatrics and provides a very skeletal and honest dissection of self-identity. “When touring, you have to build up this psychological armour

IT’S VERY HUMAN TO BLOCK THINGS OUT THAT DAMAGE US, BUT THIS WAS MADE AS A WAY OF ADDRESSING THOSE I’VE TRIED TO HIDE FROM

to deal with the constant movement and change. You can desensitise and become numb pretty quickly. Engine Of Hell was a very deliberate way of addressing trauma, reattaching to emotions. It’s very human to block things out that damage us, but this was made as a way of addressing those I’ve tried to hide from.” Born out of a retreat to Wales, Engine Of Hell is every piece as affecting for a listener as it feels cathartic for the writer. Meditated and earnest, there’s slithers of acceptance and growth that manifest in the space between chords. With often nothing more than a vocal and a piano, the songs are each streamlined into very direct, word-centric confessionals that refuse to hide away from the demons and obstacles facing the artist. “With Engine Of Hell, it was a very deliberate choice to focus everything very head on, no distractions, just sincere and unabashed lyrically-driven pieces. I wanted it to be human.” This hunt for humanity is palpable across the record and even more so live. “I had to take a long time away from touring to really understand what I wanted from music. When I see someone emoting genuinely and honestly, it still brings me to tears. I realised what I’m drawn to in a concert is flaw, mistakes and nuance.” With this in mind, the concert at Gosforth Civic Theatre will see Engine Of Hell performed in order, in its entirety, providing a night of transparency and connection. “I realise now that I don’t ever want my performances to be static and routine, I want to be experiencing each song each night. It’s about real connection and resonating with the audience, that way, by the end, we’re all free.” Emma Ruth Rundle plays Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle on Saturday 13th August, with support from Joanne Quail. www.emmaruthrundle.com

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INTERVIEW

GIGS AT CENTRAL PARK CLAIRE DUPREE HAS A CHAT WITH PROMOTERS 456 LIVE ABOUT THEIR OUTDOOR SUMMER SHOWS

MUSIC

L-R, T-B: Circa Waves, Kawala, The Academic, The Mysterines

While the North East’s weather may not always be conducive to outdoor events, there’s no denying there’s something special about watching a band in the open air with your pals, bevvy of choice in hand. Pop-up venue Central Park has been providing exactly that, come rain or shine, over the last few weeks in Newcastle’s Times Square (outside Digital/Centre for Life), with a massive stage, street food vendors, a bar and quirky events galore. Getting in on the action in August are one of the region’s most experienced promoters, 456 Live, who will be filling the Central Park stage with a feast of musical delights. Caitlin Maddison from 456 Live sums up the vibe of the events nicely. “We want fans to be able to spend the summer enjoying and supporting the UK’s live music scene, as well as showcasing everything the North East has to offer. The venue captures the very essence of summer with beach areas and vibrant stacked container villages, and the outdoor element makes it the perfect space for live shows over the summer.” The promoters kick off the month of music with an all-dayer of epic proportions on Sunday 7th August, which is certain to please indie rock fans. Headliners Circa Waves will be joined by The Academic, Vistas, The Magic Gang, Kawala, The Mysterines, The Royston Club, The Clause and Lizzie Esau. On Wednesday 17th August rising indie pop mavericks Pale Waves will be supported by emerging folk punk band Bears In Trees and charismatic dream pop band Priestgate, while on Thursday 18th noughties pop legends Scouting For Girls will no doubt bring the house down. At a time when the skyrocketing cost of living may mean that gig tickets are a luxury, Caitlin is determined to continue to provide affordable and memorable events for audiences. “Our

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IT DOESN’T REALLY GET ANY BETTER THAN BEING AMONGST LIKE MINDED MUSIC LOVERS, ENJOYING SOME OF THE UK’S HOTTEST ARTISTS, IN A PERFECT OUTDOOR, SUMMER SETTING approach has always and will always be to work with authentic artists who we ultimately love – at the end of the day we are a small team of music fans who simply live for live music. Our team has a wide range of musical tastes which allows us to offer a diverse programme of events and it’s important to us to offer a platform for upcoming artists as well as nurturing local talent. There is nothing better than discovering a new artist and playing a part in the growth of their profile.” The summer shows at Central Park look certain to remind audiences of the power of live performance. “Although the past couple of years have been turbulent for all, it’s clear that everyone was chomping at the bit to get back to live gigs and there is a resurgence in people just wanting to have a good time with loved ones again. We’ve had a great response to our events since the pandemic and we look forward to welcoming the masses to Central Park, where hopefully they’ll be able to enjoy a summer of live music. It doesn’t really get any better than being amongst like minded music lovers, enjoying some of the UK’s hottest artists, in a perfect outdoor, summer setting.” www.centralparknewcastle.co.uk


INTERVIEW

MUSIC

LAST TRAIN HOME

L-R, T-B: YABBA, Callum Pitt, Sunflower Thieves, Ava In The Dark

CLAIRE DUPREE CHATS WITH SARAH WILSON FROM DARLINGTON COLLECTIVE TRACKS ABOUT THE ARTISTS JUMPING ABOARD THIS YEAR’S LAST TRAIN HOME FESTIVAL While last year’s event may have seen the welcome return of Darlington’s Last Train Home festival, the fifth iteration of the event this year will be the first to face a whole other set of challenges that the pandemic brought about. Co-organiser Sarah Wilson from Darlington collective Tracks sounds a note of caution. “Across the industry lots of events are seeing a change in audience behaviour and attendance figures. People’s habits have changed and also the cost of living has gone up so much that not everyone can afford to go to gigs as often.” Arguably, it has never been more important to support a festival like Last Train Home, which will bring artists from across the region and beyond to five stages across three venues in Darlington on Saturday 3rd September, and Sarah is emphatic that affordable, town-based multi-venue festivals like Twisterella, Stockton Calling and Last Train Home provide an unrivalled opportunity for musicians and fans alike. “They bring more established artists to towns that you might not normally see them gig in – Darlington often gets overlooked on the band touring circuits. They are also excellent for discovering new bands and taking a chance on watching someone play you might not normally buy a ticket to go and see.” As audiences have come to expect from the festival, the line-up is diverse, balanced and exciting. The Forum Music Centre’s main stage will see a headline set from psych punk rockers The Lovely Eggs, young Leeds’ whipper-snappers L’objectif, Darlo pop/hip-hop artist Luke Royalty, post-punks The Rills, fast-rising Teesside group Komparrison and indie folk

SHOW US THAT YOU HAVE FAITH IN OUR FESTIVALS AND THAT YOU’RE DEFINITELY COMING ALONG TO SUPPORT, AND BUY YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE!

songwriter Joe Ramsey among others. At the Noisy Daughters stage at Hullabaloo, performers include alt. pop and lo-fi rock artist Liz Lawrence, indie pop artist ELLUR, ambient guitar project Wyldest, electro folk artist Me Lost Me, neo-soul songwriter Kate Bond, experimental indie pop band Ava In The Dark, up and coming alt. indie songwriter Sarah Johnsone and her band, plus Middlesbrough songwriter Parissa. We’re getting in on the action once again, with the NARC. stage located upstairs in Hullabaloo’s studio space welcoming glam stomp rockers Rudi Beatamax, fast-rising Teesside rap star Shakk, stirring pop noir songwriter Viia, Darlington’s industrial/guitar EDM band Analogue Blood and grungy alt. rock band Labyrinthine Oceans. St John’s Church will show off its lovely acoustics with performances from Leeds’ dream folk duo Sunflower Thieves, the multi-limbed orch-folk of Nel Unlit, the wondrous folk sounds of Northering, folk rock artist Callum Pitt, the eclectic sounds of The Silver Reserve, Teesside multi-instrumentalist Harriet Bradshaw and songwriter of catchy ditties Caitlin Morrow. And if you need a break from the music, the Forum Music Centre will also play host to Hilarity Bites’ comedy stage, with performances from Duncan Oakley, Dave Johns, Catherine Young, Rachel Jackson, Jack Fox and more. Festivals like LTH are to be cherished now more than ever, and Sarah has a simple request to music fans: “We all really need music fans to be allies of our little festivals. Share the events on your socials, check out the bands’ tunes before the gig, buy some merch, get a bunch of your mates to come along, get them to bring their other mates too! Show us that you have faith in our festivals and that you’re definitely coming along to support, and buy your ticket in advance!” Last Train Home festival takes place across venues in Darlington on Saturday 3rd September. www.tracksdarlington.co.uk

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INTERVIEW

JASON COOK CLAIRE DUPREE TALKS TO CELEBRATED NORTH EAST COMIC JASON COOK ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF UNPREDICTABILITY AHEAD OF TWO SPECIAL SHOWS THIS MONTH

COMEDY

It takes a particular kind of talent to be effortlessly funny, some people just have that quick wit and sharp eye for observation that makes them adept at tickling your funny bone without even trying. Jason Cook is one of these people; the North East comic has been in the biz for nearly two decades. He talks about how he got started: “I’ve always wanted to be in comedy, but didn’t have a clue about how to get involved. Then, a couple of mates of mine started a sketch show at the old Hyena Comedy Cafe in Newcastle, and I was hooked. I sold my house and my car, and started on the path of endless gigs.” Thankfully Jason’s newly chosen career path suited him to a tee, thanks to his affable nature and ability to riff off the crowd, and it’s this interaction which helps him to keep material fresh. “I improvise when I’m doing stand-up all the time. It’s great to have a ‘bank’ of gags but I’ve already heard them so I enjoy just rolling with it, the audience can always tell when it’s fresh stuff so there becomes an electricity in the air.” The old improviser’s tenet of always saying yes has also stood him in good stead when it comes to being a great comic. “[You need] a sense of fearlessness, which you only get from a LOT of years of gigging, but also being open to everything around you and embracing it.” Jason fronts his own comedy club at South Shields’ Customs House and has brought huge stars to the region, from household names to exciting up and comers, and over the years he’s developed a reliable antennae for top class comics. He says of his booking policy: “It’s a very selective process, a lot of faceless, ‘brand name’ clubs will book anyone, but this is my club with my name is above the door, so I only take people I have gigged with, and seen absolutely smash it from all over the world. Canadians, Australians, Americans...I’m lucky to have traveled far and wide doing stand-up, so I bring the best from all over the world to

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I’M LUCKY TO HAVE TRAVELED FAR AND WIDE DOING STAND-UP, SO I BRING THE BEST FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO SOUTH SHIELDS South Shields.” One of Jason’s specialties is working alongside other comics to produce a night of improvised comedy, with two shows coming up at The Customs House this month. “They are best described as ‘freeform comedy’, two comedians with no plans or backup material, just riffing with the audience.” Jason explains. “They are the best gigs I’ve ever done, because even I don’t know what’s going to happen in them!” Joining Jason on Saturday 6th August will be popular sharp-eyed comedian Scott Bennett, and on Sunday 7th August he’ll be joined by whirlwind stand-up Carl Hutchinson. “Scott and Hutchy are two already in demand comedians, with national tours and Live at the Apollo appearances between them.” Jason explains. “I’ve been writing with them for years on live shows and sitcoms, so it’d be nice to share with an audience the amount of fun we have when we are in writing rooms, going head to head, knocking the gags out of the park.” Cook & Bennett Make It Up As They Go Along comes to The Customs House, South Shields on Saturday 6th August, and Cook & Hutchinson Spouting Nonsense takes place at the venue on Sunday 7th August. www.jasonscomedyclub.co.uk www.customshouse.co.uk


INTERVIEW

MUSIC

L-R, T-B: Sorority Grrrls, Animal Byproducts, Scruffy Bear, Squiggles

MOUSETIVAL

JADE BROADHEAD CAUGHT UP WITH LEAD MOUSE STEVEN BARDGETT TO GET THE LOWDOWN ON THE RETURN OF MOUSETIVAL THIS MONTH With the welcome return of Tees lo-fi duo Mouses also comes the even more welcome return of Mousetival, the Stockton band’s own annual jamboree featuring some of the finest acts from the North East and beyond, which returns to The Georgian Theatre on Saturday 13th August. Head Mouse, Steven Bardgett, explains the origins of Mousetival. “We put on a big show to launch our debut album back in 2016,” recalls Steven. “It was the first time we’d done something DIY that big and we loved it. When it came to organising our next local show the year after, we just kept adding stuff to the idea and making it bigger. Eventually we got to Mousetival and haven’t looked back since!” There’s nothing like a global pandemic to get in the way of a good idea, but that hasn’t stopped Mouses, and Steven in particular, from keeping busy. “We’ve done a few shows and put a few finishing touches on the album we recorded a few years ago. I feel like we’ve taken the songs in a different direction from the first album,” reflects Steven. “It’s more coherent as a full record. We don’t have an exact date for it yet, (but) most definitely before the end of the year!” Steven has also been working on his solo project, Stebee, culminating in a debut show at Stockton Calling earlier this year. “It just started in lockdown really. I found I was writing stuff that didn’t fit with Mouses. There were songs I wanted to experiment with more than was possible with just a two-piece guitar and drum sound. I’ll hopefully have an album at some point, but every song will be a totally different genre,” Steven laughs. “The only thing that ties it together is that it’s super introspective. A lot of the Stebee stuff I tend to write is incredibly personal, a lot of dealing with childhood trauma, mental health issues, coming to terms with my own being, in a way. It’s a lot like a complete breakdown

WE LOVE ARTISTS THAT SHOUT ABOUT IMPORTANT STUFF AND STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN with musical accompaniment!” This year’s Mousetival line-up features Mouses themselves alongside former Spook School drummer Niall McCamley, aka Squiggles, whose emo-tinged indie is fun and danceable, Sunderland’s punk poppers bigfatbig, genre-bending rockers Scruffy Bear, Northumbria’s joycore heroes Kkett, Durham’s eclectic spoken word electro artist Faithful Johannes, Mancunian punks Animal Byproducts, bedroom music makers Mage Tears, local indie poppers Salsola and riot grrrl youngsters Sorority Grrrls. As always, the show will be a safe and friendly space for all ages, and they’ll be collecting for their local food bank too. “We try to bring bands from the DIY scene that have never been to Teesside, along with some of our favourite local bands,” enthuses Steven about the line-up. “The one thing that’s always driven how we curate is ethics. We love artists that shout about important stuff and stand up for what they believe in, and we’ve always strived to highlight minorities and people that lack representation. We don’t do rock ’n’ roll. I think that whole rock ’n’ roll attitude thing is bullshit. Just be nice and care about people, that’s way cooler in my book.” Mousetival takes place at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 13th August. www.facebook.com/mousestheband

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

VANDEBILT

Image by Dan Stark

DAMIAN ROBINSON TALKS TO THE SUNDERLAND QUARTET ABOUT HOW A LOVE FOR FRENCH-HOUSE INFLUENCED POP MAKES FOR FIRM FOUNDATIONS ON THEIR DEBUT ALBUM Breezing in like a modern day blend of pop meets dance floor bangers, it’s not too much of a stretch to think of Vandebilt’s debut LP, The House That Vandebilt, as existing somewhere in the space between Monaco’s bass-heavy pop/boy band vibe and the dancier and poppier moments of 90’s disco pop Sophie Ellis-Bextor does so well. Formed over a love of dance music, Vandebilt – the endeavour of Jordan Miller (songwriter/producer), Joe Collins (singer/ songwriter), Jack Wade (drums/producer) and Dan Martin (guitar/songwriter) – The House That Vandebilt proves that the collective have clearly developed into an outfit with a love of pop melodies, funky grooves and toe-tapping electro pop. Poppy bangers like Dream In Colour and Baby sound like the type of feel good hits that were designed for the summer. Plaudits aside, and as strong as ‘the house’ sounds however, it was actually close to never being built in the first place; four years in the making, with a pandemic in the middle, things weren’t always smooth on the construction site. “Sometimes it felt like the timing was not right,” confirms Miller, “we’ve played these songs so much and recorded and recorded them over and over and sometimes in music it’s difficult to have patience.” Luckily it seems resilience might be easier to find than patience, and eventually a breakthrough was found. “We’ve learnt how to listen to ourselves and understand what we’re aiming for. Vandebilt felt like a brotherhood and last year we remembered the purpose of the project which is to make music with friends, and make music hopefully people can relate to. It’s a simple approach. Once we tapped into that we were fine and we’ve got our spark back. It feels great.” And it sounds great too. Grounded in disguise of simple pop melodies, The House That Vandebilt contains a clinical

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VANDEBILT FELT LIKE A BROTHERHOOD AND LAST YEAR WE REMEMBERED THE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT WHICH IS TO MAKE MUSIC WITH FRIENDS understanding of how to create unique dance floor moments; take for example the gentle piano and Northern soul grooves of Real Groove or the Pet Shop Boys-style electro of Rather Be. This is clearly an outfit with a deep interest in studio techniques and production mastery. “Everything starts at our studio, Motorhouse in Sunderland,” confirms Miller, “which is based out of synth and guitar sounds. And after a few attempts we took it to Robert Whiteley who re-recorded a lot and then helped mix it. What we wanted was for the songs to match the live feeling when we play them, and we wanted the album to be an extension of our live shows.” Known for their euphoric live shows, Vandebilt are already working out where they can play to support the album’s release, yet they do so with a singular focus; to keep getting better. “We’ll be playing some shows in September and October to support the album. We’re not sure where yet but we’re planning on making an album show that really pushes us technically,” confirms Miller. Clearly not liking the easy life, it might have taken a while for Vandebilt to build their dream, but it’s worth the wait. Vandebilt release The House That Vandebilt on 5th August via streaming and digital download, with a physical release to follow later in the year. www.vandebilt.bandcamp.com


INTERVIEW

PALE WAVES

JAKE ANDERSON TALKS TO HEATHER BARON-GRACIE ABOUT PALE WAVES’ DETERMINED APPROACH ON THEIR NEW ALBUM

MUSIC

Image by Katia Temkin

Mancunian indie rock band Pale Waves display a remarkable work ethic as they return with their new album, Unwanted, this month, just over a year after their last release. Their newest outing is a more mature release, which sees the group flesh out the alternative rock strands of their sound. It’s electric guitar-driven, with anthemic choruses and a vigorous vocal performance – a detour sonically from the pop rock the band is known for. Vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie discussed this change further: “This is the direction we want to keep exploring and diving into deeper. We want to sound like a band and don’t want to rely so much on backing tracks. We want to have the best time performing live.” “The album dives into feelings that I felt not only needed to be written but that our fans want to hear,” Heather expands. “Almost everyone has felt like they don’t belong or has been made to feel like they’re not good enough. That’s a consistent theme that I’m seeing from our fans – that their family doesn’t approve of them, or their friends have disowned them because they’ve come out. So Unwanted had to be honest, provocative, and loud. Not only thematically but in the music as well.” Producer Zakk Cervini seemed to be the perfect person to take on the task for this album, having worked with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Slayyyter and Dorian Electra, Heather explains it was “the perfect match made in heaven”. “I adore Zakk so much and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help create this record with us. He’s a genius and such an incredible human. He really listens to your vision and just wants to pull out the best in you.” The stand-out is Numb, which is a far cry from the LP’s anthems, with a stripped back and intimate feel. Heather

WE’VE JUST BECOME WAY MORE COMFORTABLE WITHIN OUR OWN SKIN AND AS PERFORMERS explains: “Numb is about the depression I tend to have random bursts of. The feeling of that forever darkness. The feeling of never wanting to leave your bed or caring about anything or anyone. I hate it but at least I was able to write about it, and hopefully it’ll help others feel a bit more understood.” While Numb exhibits the intimacy of the record, there are still plenty of moments when this new soundscape is being pushed to its max. Two of the strongest are the bridge on Only Problem and how The Hard Way cranks it up to eleven – a moment that Heather is excited for fans to hear. “I wanted to create such an authentic moment for it and I’m so happy with the outcome. I’m so excited to play You’re So Vain as well because I’m in love with the guitar riff, that’s gonna pop off so much live.” It’s been five years and three albums since the band’s last headline Newcastle show, so audiences will be excited to witness their live return at Central Park on Wednesday 17th August. “We’ve just become way more comfortable within our own skin and as performers.” Heather expands. “We know what we want a lot more and we’re determined. The pandemic really allowed us space and time to grow and blossom.” Pale Waves release Unwanted on 12th August, the band play Central Park, Newcastle on Wednesday 17th August. www.palewaves.co.uk

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INTERVIEW

MUSIC

MT. MISERY

Image by Jodie Canwell

TOM ASTLEY FINDS OUT HOW THE HARTLEPOOL BAND CRAFTED THEIR RICH AND NUANCED NEW EP Hartlepool’s Mt. Misery return with a new self-recorded, self-released EP offering a sun-soaked, spellbinding moment that is somehow a touch melancholic in its daydreaming nostalgia-laden sound. As an EP, The Time It Takes offer up a quartet of tunes that are perfect indie pop gems. But the feeling it provokes seems pertinent for this time of uncertainty and reconnection. Fans of the band’s work will be familiar with their brand of sincere, unapologetically melodic two-and-a-half minute wonders – evoking a lineage of British bands enamoured with the rose-tinted glow of Americana – amply demonstrating the skill that goes into writing ‘simple’ pop songs. Immediately recognisable but unique lyrics that are universal-but-specific, and a sound that is comforting are all key ingredients. Each song has that perfect balance of melodic catchiness and sonic complexity, meaning you could listen to it on the bus whilst your mind wanders, or you can sit and pore over each detail, catch little nuanced sounds low in the mix and enjoy their clarity. To capture this sound is an achievement, but to do so from a home recording is even more impressive. As singer and guitarist Andrew explained: “Being in a band is expensive, so we self-recorded the album in a garage.” That home-made quality shines through in songs that are grounded and honest, literally of the home, lyrics that quietly talk about love and longing, memories and moments. But the actual production of the EP sounds far from home-made. “We’ve really worked on

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IMMEDIATELY RECOGNISABLE BUT UNIQUE LYRICS THAT ARE UNIVERSAL-BUT-SPECIFIC, AND A SOUND THAT IS COMFORTING ARE ALL KEY INGREDIENTS

expanding the sound. [guitarist] Ste got a melodica for Christmas or a birthday or something, so he’s been putting that on everything.” Melodica – essential for the cover of You And Me Song by The Wannadies – organ and nylon string guitar all help to produce an enriched and varied pallet. Time and memory are a running theme connecting these songs together. “This wasn’t really a conscious thing, but yeah, I guess it’s there in the tracks,” says Andrew. Both The Time it Takes and the EP’s standout track Memory are both concerned with time and remembrance, a feeling amplified by a cover of a song that was nostalgic for 60s bossa nova chic even when it was released in the 90s (nostalgia folding on top of nostalgia in that way pop music does so beautifully). This doesn’t come across as kitsch in Mt. Misery’s work. It maintains a genuine reflectiveness, even melancholy through the shimmering sunshine of the sound, like that feeling you get on a Sunday afternoon; a little tinge of longing for something you can’t quite put your finger on. And that feeling, that reflection on times immediately lost, that sense of something not quite here, only just missing, is a perfect sentiment for this weird lost time moment. The band are undertaking a “mini-tour” in September, and as Andrew notes, these new tracks were written to be performed for an audience. Discussing the equally impressive debut album Once Home, No Longer, he adds: “The old songs are good, but not as fun to play live. We had that live context in mind with this EP.” Mt. Misery’s heartfelt bedroom tunes will shine in a live context, and will become a key part of the soundtrack to the back end of 2022. Mt. Misery release The Time It Takes EP on 19th August. They play Middlesbrough Town Hall on Saturday 6th August. www.mtmisery.bandcamp.com


INTERVIEW

SHIPCOTE & FRIENDS THIS MONTH, SHIPCOTE & FRIENDS ARE RELEASING A LOW-KEY, LO-FI ALBUM THAT HAS TYNESIDE RUNNING THROUGH IT LIKE A PIECE OF ROCK. LEE FISHER ASKED SHIPPY WHAT INSPIRED HIM TO DO IT

MUSIC

For the whole time I’ve been in Newcastle, and for several decades before, Graham ‘Shippy’ Anderson has bestrode the Tyneside music scene like a quiet but stylish colossus, through his numerous musical projects but also his legendary Jumpin’ Hot Club, which has been putting on mostly Americanafocused gigs since the eighties. He’s been playing sporadically around the area for years as Shipcote & Friends, self-releasing charming but accomplished albums when the mood takes him. And now he’s releasing Local Favourites, a mixture of his own songs about life on Tyneside and covers of songs by fellow Tyneside artists. And it’s lovely. I asked him if there was a central idea behind the artists he’s chosen to cover, and he was quick to praise them all. “I just wanted to do people I admire, and maybe help them by doing it. Not yer Sting or Bryan Ferry kinda thing, nor Lindisfarne or Maximo Park come to that… Like, every city needs somebody like Nev Clay. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been below the radar, which is where Nev wants to be I think…” Other artists covered include Rob Heron, Nicky Rushton (from And All Because The Lady Loves and Mush Collective), Davey Patton (from the Sour Mash Trio) and a couple from regular collaborator Martin Stephenson. There’s also a song based on a poem by Stew Rickard (Hannah Rickard’s father), one of a series Shippy got through the post during lockdown. The album is a companion piece to Local Stars, recorded with his Friends and a few guests like Rob Heron and Gem Andrews, and which he admits was “something to do in lockdown to stop

I WANTED IT TO BE LO-FI, THE WAY THE SONGS WERE SUPPOSED TO SOUND. AND I DIDN’T WANT ANY GUITAR SOLOS. SONGS ARE SONGS myself going up the wall.” This new album was recorded in front rooms – his and Shipcote regular Cath Reding’s – because he wanted to keep it lo-fi. “I didn’t want any kind of big production,” he explains. “I wanted it to be lo-fi, the way the songs were supposed to sound. And I didn’t want any guitar solos. Songs are songs.” That said, there’s brass on the Nev Clay track Hurting You. “I fancied a quirky, mariachi thing, and decided to put it on the end. I dunno if Nev will like it…” As well as Reding, another Shipcote & Friends regular Bry Younger played on Local Favourites, and there’s some steel guitar from Malcolm McMaster. As well as the covers, there’s a handful of locally-themed songs Shippy has written over the years, including a tribute to James Renforth, the Geordie Victorian sculling champion, “the Kevin Keegan of rowing”, as Shippy puts it. Shipcote & Friends release Local Favourites on Thursday 25th August, with a launch at The Globe, Newcastle also featuring Jon Lee alongside one or two special guests. www.shipcote.com

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LISTINGS

THE BEST OF THE REST...EVEN MORE ALTERNATIVE MUSIC, THEATRE, COMEDY, ART AND FILM TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE NORTH EAST THIS MONTH MONDAY 1ST AUGUST NESHIIMA

Melodic rap metal, with support from Flatline // Little Buildings, Newcastle

LONGSIGHT

90s-coloured indie guitar tunes, with support from Hollie Ritson // The Cluny 2, Newcastle

LOVELY ASSISTANT

TUESDAY 2ND AUGUST OPEN MIC & SPOKEN WORD

Poetry and fiction, live on stage // The Engine Room, North Shields

WEDNESDAY 3RD AUGUST MAID OF ACE

Adrenalin-fuelled punk rock, with support from Dee Skusting & The Rodents // Little Buildings, Newcastle

RXPTRS

Bristol rockers // Head of Steam, Newcastle

THURSDAY 4TH AUGUST ART SOCIAL

Conversations, music making, food and more, featuring Barefoot Kitchen and artist Laura Wilson // MIMA, Middlesbrough

DARQUE ART

Accomplished photographer Brian Foster applies his futuristic style to an exhibition of charcoal drawings. Runs until 31st August // The Exchange, North Shields

JAY MOUSSA-MANN

Superb storytelling songwriter, with support from Alistair James and Josh Atkinson // NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton

SPEAR OF DESTINY

Dynamic rock band // The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

FRIDAY 5TH AUGUST RAPASA NYATRAPASA OTIENO

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and contemporary dancer // The Globe, Newcastle

FEATURED //

So Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In?

Thought-provoking documentary which explores women and non-binary people’s experiences in underground music scenes throughout the UK, bringing to light widespread injustice and gender stereotyping in the music industry // The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

THE PEEVIE WONDERS

High energy colourful four-piece, with support from Casual Threats // Bobik’s, Newcastle

SATURDAY 6TH AUGUST ELECTRIC MILK

Hard rockers, with support from Polyvinyl and Uncle Dudeman // Little Buildings, Newcastle

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Soothing harmonies and lush lyrics, plus support from Albert Smith and Itching Powder // Summerhill Bowling Club, Newcastle

PERFECTPARACHUTEPICTURE

Powerful alt. rock duo // Bobik’s, Newcastle

ZETLAND EXHIBITION

Featuring new work by the Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough artist in residence Amy Davies // The Masham, Middlesbrough

TUESDAY 9TH AUGUST AN EVENING WITH LARS FREDERIKSEN

The Rancid guitarist and vocalist performs tracks from his extensive back catalogue // The Cluny, Newcastle

THE ABBIE FINN DUO

Jazz musicians // The Forum Music Centre, Darlington

THURSDAY 11TH AUGUST MALLY

Newcastle’s scruffy punk duo // Base Camp, Middlesbrough

FRIDAY 12TH AUGUST CHRIS BRAIN

Leeds-based folk singer-songwriter // The Globe, Newcastle

IVY SKY

Pop rock band // Bobik’s, Newcastle

KYLVER

Instrumental prog rock, with support from Primitive Vices and The Vessel // Little Buildings, Newcastle

SWIM DEEP

Indie pop // The Cluny, Newcastle

MONDAY 15TH AUGUST JONATHAN MARSHALL: DYMAXION 6

Exhibition of figurative artwork from an expressive and characterful artist. Runs until 28th September // Newcastle Arts Centre

TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST HOMELESSNESS AIN’T FUNNY

Felt Nowt present a charity event in aid of Oasis Community Housing featuring Zoe, Nick Cranston, Bryan James, Matteo Tarlarini and host Sammy Dobson // The Schooner, Gateshead

WEDNESDAY 17TH AUGUST TIME TRAVEL ACROSS MANY-WORLDS

Bringing together works of multiple perspectives, physical and sensorial in virtual reality, video, game design and sound by 11 artists. Runs until 21st August // BALTIC, Gateshead

THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST CLU

Indie pop four-piece, with support from indie duo Eve Kills The Sun and alt. rockers Mascara’s Lies // Base Camp, Middlesbrough

HEMPRESS SATIVA

Blending traditional roots reggae with hip-hop, Afrobeat and R&B // The Cluny, Newcastle

HOMETRUTHS

Pop punk four-piece // Bobik’s, Newcastle

FEATURED //

Newcastle Jazz Festival

Taking place across the weekend performances include Strictly Smokin’ Big Band at The Bridge Hotel, Harry Keeble Duo and Northern Monkey Brass Band at The Black Swan, and a plethora of artists at Tyne Bank Brewery including Alter Ego, Ivo Neame Quartet, Knats, Lindsay Hannon, Emma Rawicz and many more // Various venues, Newcastle

THE SUGGESTIBLES IMPROV COMEDY JOYRIDE

An edge-of-your seat comedy joyride, where the audience provide the suggestions // The Stand, Newcastle

FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST TIRED OF FIGHTING

Emotive punk band, plus support from Electric Circus and Atari Doll // The Cluny 2, Newcastle

SHORE

The Middlesbrough-born brothers take influence from 60s pop and modern indie // Base Camp, Middlesbrough

TV DEATH

Post-punk, psych and garage rockers // Bobik’s, Newcastle

WILD SPELKS

Melodic alt. rock and pop artist // Three Tanners Bank, North Shields

SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST MIXTAPE: SUMMER SIZZLERS

Cult comedy quiz with a musical theme // Carnival House & Kitchen, Sunderland

OXJAM FUNDRAISER

Featuring live sets from Bosola, Hannah Robinson, Midnight in Havana, The Timewasters and Reservoirs // The Globe, Newcastle


LISTINGS PLAYGROUND CIRCUS

Pop punk, plus support from Oceans Apart // Little Buildings, Newcastle

SELF IMMOLATION MUSIC

Psychedelic shoegaze, with support from post-punks Coded Marking and Newcastle band Varnish // The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST DAYZIES

Up and coming alt. rockers, supported by Nice Guy and Earth Farm // The Globe, Newcastle

MONDAY 22ND AUGUST IGNITE THE STARS TOUR

An evening of empowering rock by a cast of international female musicians featuring Temperance, Edge of Paradise and Carved // Trillians, Newcastle

TUESDAY 23RD AUGUST FEATURED //

Brotherhood

Hip-hop dance theatre told with infectious joy and mischievous smiles, Brotherhood share their origin stories of perseverance through dance and music. Runs until 10th September // Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE

Contemporary pop rock // Head of Steam, Newcastle

LILLIAN AXE

American hard rockers, supported by Riot Act and Kaine // Trillians, Newcastle

WEDNESDAY 24TH AUGUST MINAMI DEUTSCH

Japanese psych/Kosmiche band, support from Smote // The Cluny 2, Newcastle

THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST FRESH

Indie punks, with support from Fortitude Valley // Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

KATHLEEN KENNY & KATE BOSTON-WILLIAMS book launch

HEAR EXTRACTS FROM KATE’S MUCH HERALDED pamphlet Snake Skins and Kathleen’s long awaited full collection Plasticine for Girls // The Lit & Phil, Newcastle

FRIDAY 26TH AUGUST JOE APPLEFORD

Hotly tipped Mancunian songwriter // Bobik’s, Newcastle

SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS

Self-aware Americana and outlaw country sounds, support from Holly Rees // The Cluny, Newcastle

SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST THE TIMEWASTERS

Alt. rock indie // Bobik’s, Newcastle

VOMITORIUM

Crushing black metal, with support from Cryptworm and Mortsafe // The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

SUNDAY 28TH AUGUST ANDREW COMBS

Country songwriter with a biting edge // The Cluny 2, Newcastle

BYKER GROOVE

Newcastle’s very best soul, funk, psych and disco DJs // Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle

HENWEN

North Yorkshire goddesses of a capella, performing blues, folk, country and more // Middlesbrough Little Theatre

TARAKA

Outsider psych, grunge and punk from the former frontwoman of cult duo Prince Rama, support comes from Milk Lizards and Lots of Hands // Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

MONDAY 29TH AUGUST FELT TIPS

New comedians and established acts join forces for a night of hilarity, featuring Kelly Rickard, Julian Lee and more // Bobik’s, Newcastle

WEDNESDAY 31ST AUGUST DEAD MEADOW

Respected American psych rock band // The Cluny, Newcastle

FOR DAILY UPDATES ON ALTERNATIVE LIVE MUSIC, THEATRE, COMEDY, ART EXHIBITIONS, FILM SCREENINGS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN THROUGHOUT THE NORTH EAST, HEAD TO NARCMAGAZINE.COM

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#StocktonCinema

Season Standouts

2022/2023

Thu 15 - Sun 18 Sep

Seven short visionary plays from new voices

Thu 10 – Sat 26 Nov

Rich with emotion but sizzling with high energy and black humour, Ric Renton’s true story of time in HMP Durham and finding an unexpected way through the darkness

Thu 27 – Sun 30 Oct

A live reading of David Almond’s spine-chilling and deeply personal tale for Halloween

Sun 4 – Fri 23 Dec

A dazzling and delightful new show for kids combining the words of a playwright with the wild minds of children

Home to the latest blockbusters and award-winning independent and international films Your local cinema may be closer than you think!

A new play celebrating Northumbrian identity, folk music and family tradition

Thu 2 - Sat 25 March 2023

A brand-new musical odyssey through that very deepest of human feelings

www.live.org.uk (0191) 232 1232

Supported by:

Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DQ

arconline.co.uk 01642 525199 box.office@arconline.co.uk ARC | Dovecot Street | Stockton on Tees | TS18 1LL

Friday 9 September Loudon Wainwright III In Concert

Saturday 1 October Andy Fairweather Low Sage Two

Sage One

Saturday 10 September Fay Hield

Thursday 20 October Nerina Pallot Sage Two

Sage Two

Wednesday 21 September Madeleine Peyroux: Careless Love Forever World Tour

Thursday 3 November Soumik Datta: The Hope Notes Tour Sage Two

Sage One

Friday 25 November Jesca Hoop

Friday 23 September Penguin Cafe

Sage Two

Sage Two

Saturday 26 November Jean Toussaint

Wednesday 28 September Laura Jurd: The Big Friendly Album Tour

Sage Two

Sage Two

Head to sagegateshead.com/whats on for our full gig listings.

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Autumn Gig Highlights

Thu 8 – Sun 18 Dec

@Sage_Gateshead


REVIEWS

Richard Dawson & Circle by Victoria Wai

THE BOBBY LEES, THE MORON-O-PHONICS @ THE CLUNY 2, NEWCASTLE (06.07.22) Words: Lee Fisher It feels like only last month that the mighty Moron-O-Phonics got reviewed in these pages – because it was – so suffice it to say that they were once again a hand-stomping, foot-clapping, terrace-chanting, dance-offing delight. I’ve been crossing my fingers for a Bobby Lees tour since first hearing the incendiary, face-ripping single Drive a couple of years back, so thank fuck they’ve got a decent label behind them to fund this trip. Watching YouTube videos in the interim, you got the sense that The Bobby Lees are a kick-ass garage band but man, they are so much more. From the opening Move to the closing, devastating Be My Enemy (yes, folks, the Waterboys song), the four-piece came on like all your favourite punk and garage bands, but much fiercer and louder and more relentless than expected. Kendall Wind, Macky Bowman and Nick Casa were just noise-machines, seemingly powered by their own whirling hair, barely looking up from their guitars and drums. Sam Quartin out front was a different proposition entirely – a nervy, vibrating, testifying whirlwind, slashing at her guitar or tearing up the stage as she roared and babbled and hit you with some heavy truths. The Bobby Lees make you believe in the redemptive power of rock ’n’ roll all over again.

RICHARD DAWSON & CIRCLE @ BOILER SHOP, NEWCASTLE (12.07.22) Words: Lee Fisher When the Richard Dawson & Circle album, Henki, came out, it took a while to reveal its genius, but ended up being on fairly frequent rotation to the point where expectations for this show were pretty damn high. But fuck me, we weren’t ready for this. After Dawson appeared, peering at us through the dry ice, clutching a mug of something, the band launched into the brooding, building Cooksonia, the crowd joining in the “ya-ho”s and collectively realising we were in for something special. The fact that Henki worked so well – that the Finnish band found the space and flexibility to let Dawson’s voice and guitar take their place within Circle’s prog-metal-whatever – is a testament to that brilliant band’s generosity of spirit. And you could tell that Dawson was

absolutely living his best life, playing in his favourite band and flirting with the rock frontman role. Circle were a delight as ever – the way they can break into properly avant-garde or motorik or quasi-prog stretches but can still gleefully rock the fuck out, feet on monitors like Proper Rock Behemoths. We got most of Henki and it was glorious. But we also got Terminal, maybe Circle’s greatest track, a Stooges-infused relentless beast that climaxed with their legendary guitar pyramid (Dawson gleefully taking his spot). And then we got an encore of Echo Beach. What led them to close each night of the tour with such an unlikely song is beyond our understanding but it was beautiful, a rousing sing-along to close a magnificent show.

THE DELINES, OUR MAN IN THE FIELD @ GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE, NEWCASTLE (14.07.22) Words: Lee Fisher Opening duo Our Man In The Field are solid but uninspiring – frontman Alex Ellis is clearly a thoughtful, earnest sort but the songs never really take off and most of the interest comes from some decent pedal and lap steel from Henry Senior, who sits in with the headliners later on. Tonight might be the best I’ve seen The Delines (and I’ve seen them a lot). On paper, what they do is pretty simple but when the musicianship is this great, and this fully in service of the songs, and when the songs are perfect three-minute novellas from Willy Vlautin and the voice is Amy Boone’s, one of the most soulful, lived in, heartfelt voices around, The Delines are all set to break your heart, one song after another. The set leans heavily on this year’s The Sea Drift, with room for some choice cuts from its predecessors, and it’s like reading a collection of short stories brought to life. The way Boone inhabits the songs – she is that veteran’s anguished sister, that ex-con’s girlfriend, that lost and broken lover – is breathtaking, and the band are unfussy, soulful, perfect, especially when Cory Gray’s trumpet cuts through it all, pure and true. There was even an excellent new song, written on tour, that suggests an even more Stax/Muscle Shoals soul direction for them. The Delines don’t do bad shows, but this was – even for them – one of the best.

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LIVE

Richard Hawley & NASUWT Riverside Band by Thomas Jackson, Tynesight Photography

RICHARD HAWLEY & NASUWT RIVERSIDE BAND @ DURHAM CATHEDRAL (16.07.22) Words: Ali Welford Considering the time that’s passed since this performance was commissioned for Durham Brass Festival, it’s little wonder Richard Hawley sets out with a hitch. Indeed, as the Yorkshireman obliviously delivers the opening bars of My Little Treasures, it’s left to his guitarist to remind him that for tonight only they’re shadowed by the NASUWT Riverside Band – and that this particular song’s intro falls upon them. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for the revered ensemble’s presence to hit home: “That was mental,” Hawley deadpans, following a soaring arrangement of Don’t Stare At The Sun. “I don’t know what to say.” It’s a thought which we, the audience, revisit frequently on a remarkable evening in stunning surrounds, where novel backing elevates an already accomplished live performer to lofty new heights. Our numbers are even bolstered during Soldier On, whose climatic back-end is so huge it awakens the cathedral’s airborne inhabitants, ensuring the remainder of the set is staged with an assembly of bats darting overhead. As the ‘wow’ moments stack up, the collaboration proves equally dazzling during moments of introspection. A stripped Tonight The Streets Are Ours and exquisite For Your Lover Give Some Time, for instance, are endlessly enriched by their fresh brassy timbres – a magnificent foil for Hawley’s famous velvet croon, whose reverberation among these storied walls creates its own captivating sonic effect. A truly memorable show.

FIELD MUSIC & NASUWT RIVERSIDE BAND, AMI MCGUINNESS @ GALA THEATRE, DURHAM (10.07.22) Words: Ben Lowes-Smith Ami McGuinness opens proceedings tonight, and I’m taken aback by the purity and naivety of her songwriting. A product of the Young Musicians Project, McGuinness’ presence and conviction belies her tender years, as she performs emotionally articulate songs fizzing with a sense of yearning and longing, her love of literature clearly filters into the themes and language of her well-crafted songs. Certainly a one to watch out for. Field Music are no strangers to approaching something from a thematic angle, having collaborated with the Imperial War Museum on 2020’s

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Making A New World. Tonight’s performance speaks to something a little closer to home, namely mining communities and trade unions in the Durham Coalfields. Crucially, and ironically given that this could be approached as an academic exercise, any semblance of emotional austerity that has coloured aspects of their previous work is completely absent here. Peter and David speak anecdotally about family and it is clear that their experiences of the region have informed this work considerably. These songs are married to some of the most plaintive, intricate and beautiful music of their career, complimented wonderfully by the seven-piece NASUWT band. Field Music do something really rare this evening – musical alchemy in making the personal political and the political personal. I really do hope a document of this performance is made, as the songs deserve much more than to merely live in the memory.

DIZRAELI, SQUARMS @ COBALT STUDIOS, NEWCASTLE (01.07.22) Words: Damian Robinson It’s an excited crowd given how busy Cobalt Studios are from the off on an evening of madcap electro from a collection of genre pushing artists. Starting the evening with principal madcaps SQUARMS, the duo are on top form playing, as they always do, a set that mixes pulsating electro textures, insane volume levels, alternative outfits (tonight it’s boiler suits) and an inordinate amount of band name screams over the PA system. Blending drum ‘n’ bass, trip-hop and straight-out hip-hop beats across their 30-minute set, the duo operate at maximum ferociousness from the word go, with Liquid Love being tonight’s highlight. Taking the intensity down a notch, poet/street messenger Dizraeli performs an almost Gil Scott Heron blend of funk, soul, jazz and electro. Stand outs I’m A Wave and My Mama offer insight into Dizraeli’s style of political, social and personal themes, whilst locating the spirituality of the human condition. It’s a fantastic set from the five-piece band who bend and alter their musical styles and textures with each song, always finding space to support the central point of Dizraeli’s message. It would have been difficult to try and out-manic SQUARMS, but it’s a good choice to calm things down and deliver a similarly important missive.


LIVE

Farida Amadou by Rhiannon Banks

A COMEDY NIGHT THAT PASSES THE BECHDEL TEST @ THE LUBBER FIEND, NEWCASTLE (03.07.22) Words: Evie Nicholson Admittedly, I’m not a huge stand-up fan. I can appreciate it as a carefully-crafted art-form and be in awe at the confidence of those who attempt it, but I often find it predictable (white, male, middle class) and cringy (insecure anecdotes about one night stands, neurotic mothers, nondescript Millennial existentialism). However, I’d be meaning to check out The Lubber Fiend for an age and the poster promised an all-female line-up that passed the Bechdel Test. I was intrigued, and dragged my (professional comedian) mate along for the ride. It did not disappoint. Faced with a packed-out audience (hipsters wrestled for space on the floor), Liberty Hodes and Lauren Stone hosted a night that covered everything from compliment fishing to the c-word. Personal highlights include Liberty’s ingenious blueprint for the new HMRC-complex-cum-Theme-Park and Jenni Mcdermott’s wandering monologue about a washed-up blues singer. There were slightly weird points with a bat playing a keyboard (via Sammy Dobson), and Liberty riding something akin to a War Horse puppet, but I suppose they only heightened the comedic experience. Despite being late on a Sunday, I was struck by how on board the audience were. Acts may have dropped out and cues may have been missed but no one seemed to mind, or notice. The night surpassed both The Bechdel Test and any residual scepticism on my part. My comedian mate was duly impressed and I left concluding that my issue was less with stand-up than with the fact that there just don’t seem to be enough women like the ones performing tonight doing it.

FARIDA AMADOU, JERUSALEM IN MY HEART @ GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE, NEWCASTLE (11.07.22) Words: Ben Lowes-Smith Tonight’s show features two completely mesmerising experimental performances at completely different ends of the spectrum. Farida Amadou uses only a bass guitar and a handful of appendages to create something quite remarkable; textural, abrasive and hypnotic, Amadou explores the possibilities of such rudimentary vocabulary, stretches them and bashes them in and out of shape.

Jerusalem In My Heart, aka Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, is known for his associations with Montreal based post-rock bands A Silver Mount Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor – and the sensibilities of ebb and flow are very apparent in Moumneh’s work. Coupled with a gorgeous, if intense, piece of video art, the music moves between the plaintive and abrasive seamlessly and beautifully. Moumneh’s brilliant Buzuq playing (along to the clattering projectors) adds another distinct dimension of beauty to a special performance.

PIT PONY, BIGFATBIG, WILLIAM DENTON WILDE @ THE LUBBER FIEND, NEWCASTLE (01.07.22) Words: Luke Waller Nothing less than exceptionality should have been expected of the formidable rock five-piece Pit Pony, as they launched their debut album, World To Me. And yet, taking it to the stage of the sold-out Lubber Fiend, hairs and ears stood to attention – whether from the electric energy filling the air or the chilling sounds of contorted, distorted fuzz rock guitar and mighty vocals. Earlier that afternoon, singer Jackie Purver alongside guitarists Andrew Jones and Garth Purver had appeared for a short semi-acoustic set at RPM Music, daring in its sober versions of even some of their much heavier songs, including the album’s first single, Black Tar. The evening show’s support was provided by the Gary Numan-esque William Denton Wilde, self-described as “a three-piece comprising of one PVC-high-heeled-boot-clad human, one bass guitar, and a computer”, followed by slacker-popsters bigfatbig blasting out tracks like Let’s Get Married, and announcing that they’re soon to join Pit Pony in releasing a long-awaited debut album. Pit Pony’s set, performed before their biggest headline audience so far, showcased their album with rugged finesse. A rendition of single Just That with Goliath-like horsepower preceded introspective songs such as Best Is Yet, splaying out the breadth of the band’s incredible versatility.

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TRACKS

EYECONIC SUNFLOWERS Words: Luke Waller “I wanna lay low and stay high” – the mantra-like hook recurs throughout Sunflowers, North East rapper Eyeconic’s first release of the year – and continues to echo in your ears after the track’s abrupt end. Party culture has been the foundation of Eyeconic’s work, including his most successful single, 2021’s It’s A Vibe. However, in something of a turn away from expectations, Sunflowers tells the story of some ‘Boro boys on a weekend away from it all in the Lakes. An instrumental backing from Middlesbrough DJ Lunko creates a nostalgic feel with its amalgam of piano and synth, chiming with the line “Reminisce memories, make a few new with me”. With introspective lyrics whilst still maintaining the party mood, Eyeconic makes it clear he’s got stamina. Released: 12.08.22 www.facebook.com/iameyeconic

HANNAH ROBINSON NINETEEN Words: Maria Winter Known for her hauntingly beautiful musical ambience, North East singer-songwriter Hannah Robinson is continuing in this style, with her brand new single. Featuring a seamless blend of indie, rock and pop vibes, this dream-like track evokes both a sense of melancholy and nostalgia, as we delve into the turbulent journey of Hannah’s youth. Mesmerising harmonies and catchy guitar riffs further reinforce this illusion, enabling you to completely escape into the music. As a song that was incredibly meaningful for Hannah to write, nineteen similarly allows the listener to reflect on their own personal journeys through relatable lyricism, which is a powerful ability to have as a songwriter. If you are looking for a unique mixture of both genre and musicality, this captivating track is for you. Released: 05.08.22 www.facebook.com/hanrobinsonmusic

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REVIEWS OF SINGLES AND EPS BY NORTH EAST ARTISTS. WANT YOUR MUSIC FEATURED? EMAIL NARCMEDIA@GMAIL.COM (PLEASE TRY TO GET IN TOUCH 8-6 WEEKS AHEAD OF THE MONTH OF RELEASE)

IMOGEN BOSE-WARD RED BRICKS Words: Maria Winter Imagine you’re on a long car journey; staring intently out the window and thinking about nothing in particular, but at the same time everything all at once, accompanied by the soothing melodies of a delicate ballad. This feeling of introspective reflection is perfectly epitomised within singer-songwriter Imogen Bose-Ward’s newest single, Red Bricks. The expressive, yet somewhat naturalistic instrumental allows for the intricate lyrics to take centre stage, exploring relatable feelings of longing and indecision. Originally from South Lanarkshire in Scotland, Imogen stayed in Newcastle after completing a degree in folk music specialising in the fiddle. With various musical influences from popular to instrumental folk, Red Bricks beautifully captures those expansive strands, and Imogen’s graceful voice blends exquisitely with the soft sounds of the guitar. Released: 19.08.22 www.facebook.com/imogenbosewardmusic

HOLIDAY IN TOKYO BIGGEST FAN

Image by DJMPhotography

Words: Michael O’Neill Funky chorused chords, bouncing bass, crystal-cut drums and brilliantly witty wordplay are fused together effortlessly in this introspective release from the anything-goes quartet who’ve previous dabbled in chaotic walls of noise and soulful ballads. Biggest Fan finds the band doing a phenomenal ape of the sophisticated deadpan indie pop of Nilüfer Yanya, fusing the sensibilities of lo-fi bedroom pop with the hi-fi dynamics of modern alt. R&B, upon which frontman Matty Rogers directly addresses an anonymous ‘failed musician’ the band used to poke fun at, making for a deft and self-aware character study that is honest, witty and groovy as all hell. It’s a brilliant display of the quartet’s versatility and unique character, and is endlessly replay-able. Released: 19.08.22 www.facebook.com/holidayintokyo


ENEMYTHIRTY BELIEVE IT Words: Laura Doyle There’s a weird vibe that comes with ENEMYTHIRTY’s new track. We’ve had a couple years of radio silence from the alt. indie duo, but hopefully Believe It will be but the beginning of a new wave of noise. It’s grimy and grungy, mixing relentless lo-fi techno beats with rough and ready vocals to tell their own tales straight outta North Shields. If they wanted, this duo could make quite the living out of a Noel Gallagherfronted Gorillaz tribute act (after all, I see Elvana is doing well on the circuit.) But that’s besides the point – Believe It puts the indie into industrial, draws you in and leaves you in a daze – with no choice but to hit the repeat button for another hypnotic spin. Released: 01.08.22 www.facebook.com/enemythirtymusic

MOTHERLAND OCEAN DRIVE Words: Laura Doyle Never judge a book by its cover, because then you might see a song called Ocean Drive and skip over it as some kind of feel-good summer tune. The latest release (in quite an impressively long line of releases) from Motherland is still pretty feel-good depending on your outlook, but it takes a surprising turn into romantic declarations of affection. Surprising, because this track is decidedly guitar-rockier than most love songs. Ocean Drive “chronicles love and its unconditional commitment; love isn’t just an emotion, it’s a promise.” It’s a bold and unwavering statement, but if your lassie/laddie/enbie likes riff-heavy solos and finds sweet-talking to be a little too cloying but you want to send them a message, then you’re onto a winner. Released: 05.08.22 www.linktr.ee/motherlandneuk

THE PEEVIE WONDERS GYM LAD Words: Michael O’Neill Arriving like a demented twin hot on the heels of their debut release Indie Dancefloor Boy, the (brilliantly named) enigmatic Toon-hailing four-piece The Peevie Wonders return with another abrasive and phenomenally crafted slice of tongue-in-cheek sleaze that often feels like an unexpected bid to be the Geordie Jesus Lizard. Where Indie Dancefloor Boy satirised the pitfalls of muso-snobbery, Gym Lad goes to task on coke-addled, Peroni-dependent weightlifters to a bedrock of pounding drums, atonal guitar and jackhammer bass. It brilliantly suits the sublime lyrics, which once again do a phenomenal job of being witty and wry without being try-hard and overwrought. All in all, it’s refreshing and exhilarating. Long live the Peevies. Released: 12.08.22 www.facebook.com/thepeeviewonders

AUTOLEISURELAND THE BLUE STAR Words: Michael O’Neill Autoleisureland constitutes a reunion of sorts for David Brewis and Paul Woods, founding members of The Kane Gang, those sculptors of Closest Thing To Heaven, infamous for their name-check on The Fall’s Gut Of The Quantifier and, along with Prefab Sprout, a bona fide addition to the soulful sophisti-pop pantheon of revered acts such as The Blue Nile. The project is a culmination of four years of writing and amassing tracks together, with debut release The Blue Star being a brilliant continuation of the patented Kane Gang sound, whilst deploying a funkier, more 70s bent, immediately recalling the left-field grooves of Shuggie Otis’ legendary opus Inspiration/Information, with its rolling clavinets and atmospheric production, and is utterly phenomenal. Released: 12.08.22 www.autoleisureland.com

J.P. RIGGALL BLACK TUSK Words: Luke Waller Just over nine months ago, J.P. Riggall released his third solo album, the folk rock Isolation Blues, to critical acclaim – and is now back for more with another album, spearheaded by his new single, Black Tusk. In some ways stripping back to basics – unostentatious drum lines, indie guitar, passionate vocals, and just a smattering of orchestral arrangements to taste – it’s clearly seen how the new track fits in with Riggall’s description of his new album-to-be: “a collection of stories about loss and adventure”. Although small in instrumentation, Black Tusk commands a natural grandeur, reflective of its namesake, a great mountain in British Columbia. Irregular rhythms towards its end give the song an instinctive feel and flow, and a taste of the album to come. Released: 05.08.22 www.bearloverecords.bandcamp.com

THE FALSE POETS SHADOWS OF FEAR Words: Jake Anderson I wasn’t too sure what to expect from The False Poets. The intro features haunting and ominous sounds, then the drums jump in the mix alongside heavy lead guitar, feeling like it could go in any direction. At times it’s a very stripped back track, with not a lot of depth, but less can be more, and this does make the instruments present pop that little bit more. The vocal performance layered within is soft on the ears and is what made the track for me. That said, the song’s structure is a bit pre-emptive, not reaching the climax it was building up to and in turn making the main hook feel weaker than it should’ve been. Released: 05.08.22 www.facebook.com/thefalsepoets

OLYMPIA PALACE CRUEL PARADISE Words: Jake Anderson A very strong lead in, Strat-heavy opening for Olympia Palace’s newest track Cruel Paradise moulds an instantly likeable track. The quick pace of the single makes Cruel Paradise quite lively and almost bouncy. The vibrant vocal performance eases us into a fun atmosphere that the track builds up pretty much straight away, and has an airy presence over the instrumental that gives the song that summer vibe it seems to be aiming for. I imagine it would sound excellent live, having seem to be built for such a purpose. Thanks to its anthemic and epic vibe, the liveliness of the chorus, and the erupting guitar solo, I’d want to be in the crowd taking it all in. Released: 05.08.22 www.facebook.com/olympiapalacemusic

SHAMU DISAPPEAR EP Words: Jake Anderson I’ve kept an eye on Shamu’s output since 2020’s Use Your Voice, and their trajectory has seen them focus in on the chilled sounds of 2021’s Unwound. Disappear EP features tight production and engaging instrumentals, while thematically the EP reveals some of the band’s most intimate lyrics, especially on opening track Set It Off and the third track This Time Isn’t Real. For the self-proclaimed rock heads, there are rockier moments throughout. Don’t Assume features a lush, deep guitar solo towards the end of the track, which is an EP highlight, and Stitch Me Up feels more like a return to form for the band thanks to its up-tempo electric energy. Released: 05.08.22 www.facebook.com/shamuisaband

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DEMOS WE WANT YOUR MUSIC!

IF YOU’RE AN UP AND COMING BAND OR MUSICIAN, AND WOULD LIKE YOUR MUSIC REVIEWED IN OUR DEMO SECTION, EMAIL A TRACK TO NARCMEDIA@GMAIL.COM AND TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF! WORDS: HOPE LYNES

DEMO OF THE MONTH

TnG The Band – Straight From The Bottle I loved this quaint little track from TnG The Band. Straight From The Bottle displays a lovely sense of nostalgia as it wraps gorgeous spoken word poetry in a beautiful country-esque soundscape. The backing track has an old fashioned beauty to it, overlapped with

Jenna Learoyd & Sam Haynes – Into The Night

The collaboration between Jenna’s songwriting and voice, and Sam’s composition creates Into The Night, which as the title suggests is a dark, haunting, yet fascinatingly poppy catchy track. Perfect for a Halloween time spooky season listen, the track would fit perfectly on an ambient soundtrack to an Autumn movie. This track brings a noughties nostalgia to the danceable style, mixing up poppy beats with a scary synthetic edge. It reminds me of a less heavy Halestorm, and would please fans of emphatic vocals mixed with powerful synthetic soundscapes. The chorus has elements of dance and rave genres which, if given more focus, could have opened up another audience entirely; it’s something the duo may want to explore, as this track demonstrated the potential for a chart hitting dance track. www.facebook.com/jennalouisemusic

Jealous Eddie – Three Fifteen

As someone who doesn’t often delve into DIY bedroom pop, this track a hauntingly dark yet pleasant surprise and really utilises the artist’s voice as an instrument in itself. The

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soulful vocals taking a likeness to Elliott Smith. The folk tune really surprised and hooked me, with its happy, catchy and relaxing vibe. There’s an intimacy in taking spoken word poetry and putting it to such a sweet soundscape, which results in a personal and reflexive listening experience. It’s simply a gorgeous indie folk tune. www.soundcloud.com/tony-cooney-2

mysterious project is almost as mysterious as the song itself, as Three Fifteen is a dense song with a complex storyline that is both interesting and reflexive to engage with as a listener. Recorded in their own home studio, the depth of this piece suggests hope for a productive future and excitement of more to come from this local mystery. The track utilises elements of bedroom pop, with DIY rap and a slow Gothic element fusing into electronic soul. Remaining a work in progress at the moment hints of a sense of perfectionism within Jealous Eddie, but sometimes the raw material on offer here is certainly enough! www.instagram.com/jealous_eddie

Arcane Soakes – Diogenes

Having previously never reviewed rap music, nevermind touching freestyles, I was anxious to delve into this track. Arcane Soakes’ Diogenes lured me in with its beautiful vocal portrayal, mixing both the artist’s Irish and Newcastle influences together. This vocalist doesn’t hold back, which creates a unique listening experience that hooked me in to the lyrics from the off. For an artist who started off with YouTube freestyles, this well produced

track shows a clear progression and excitement for the future. Irish-born, yet based in Newcastle, the verses on this track highlight a unique voice which really intrigues the listener into the story being told. Diogenes comes from Arcane Soakes’ just dropped album Send Help Yesterday, and sits amongst an impressive discography which is worth delving into. www.instagram.com/arcanesoakes

Machiner – The Between

Recorded in Hartlepool, this synthy track has an American edge to it, alongside a nostalgia which makes it feel both well produced and classic. I can see this going down very well with the Stranger Things audience, thanks to its 80’s sci-fi soundtrack style. The guitars pick up after a minute, along with the vocals. This introduces a really interesting and mixed soundscape which changes multiple times throughout the five minute track. The key element of this piece is how well produced it is, evoking different genres of synthwave, classic rock, Goth core, and soft rave to appeal to multiple audiences. www.machiner.bandcamp.com


ALBUMS 4/5 JULIA JACKLIN PRE PLEASURE (TRANSGRESSIVE RECORDS)

4/5 Image by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

HOT CHIP FREAKOUT/RELEASE (DOMINO) Words: Jonathan Coll It feels like the country is in a difficult place at the moment, however the good news is that Alexis Taylor and his outrageously talented band of musicians have released their eighth studio album. The even better news is that it’s their best work since 2015’s excellent Why Make Sense. The album kicks off with Down, a funk-inspired tune which samples Universal Togetherness Band’s classic More Than Enough. The sound is reminiscent of their earlier albums, but with the added polish and production value that only years at the top of the industry can bring. It’s also the first single released from the album, with an accompanying music video which is as striking as you’d expect. From an utterly joyous opening, the album never really slows down. Second track Eleanor is the sort of indie bop which ought to be thundering out of the speakers at Glastonbury’s Park stage by this time next year, whereas title track Freakout/Release is something else entirely. Much more absurd and slightly more industrial, it’s songs like this that mean the album strikes an exciting balance between the band’s anthemic instrumentals and Taylor’s slightly neurotic lyricism. Joe Goddard takes over vocal duties on Miss The Bliss, which is good news for those of us who enjoy his turns as the star man in the 2 Bears and other side projects. However the album really hits its stride with Broken and Time, which are such typically excellent Hot Chip tracks that their soothing familiarity feels like putting on an old jumper. There are also a couple of features from guest artists Lou Hayter and Cadence Weapon, with the latter’s turn on The Evil That Men Do providing the album’s only real downtempo tune. It’s a nice change of pace before the outstanding Guilty and Out Of My Depth round things off. By the eighth album of a band’s life it’s difficult to have a great deal new to say. But if you’re a fan of Hot Chip you’ll certainly enjoy their latest album. If you’re not a fan of theirs, well, you’ll probably enjoy it too. Released: 19.08.22 www.hot-chip.co.uk

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH Michael Price – Whitsun (The Control Room, 12.08) // Andrew Combs – Sundays (Loose Music, 19.08) // SRSQ – Ever Changing (Dais, 19.08) // THICK – Happy Now (Epitaph, 19.08) // CLAMM – Care (Meat Machine, 19.08) // Pianos Become The Teeth – Drift (Epitaph, 26.08) // Kamikaze Palm Tree – Mint Chip (Drag City, 12.08) // Boris – Heavy Rocks (Relapse Records, 12.08) // Dub War – Westgate Under Fire (Earache Records, 05.08) // Joe Appleford – Dystopian Dreams, Utopian Nightmares (AWAL, 19.08) // Pale Waves – Unwanted (Dirty Hit, 12.08) // Art More – S/T (ANTI-, 05.08) // Spielbergs – Vestli (Big Scary Monsters, 19.08) // Tony Molina – In The Fade (Run For Cover Records, 12.08) // Szun Waves – Earth Pattern (Leaf Label, 19.08) // Why Bonnie – 90 In November (Keeled Scales, 19.08) // Simon Juliff – Stars (Dog Meat Records, 12.08) // Blue Luminaire – Terroir (Bella Union, 12.08) // Bandaid Brigade – Sex Is Terrifying (Xtra Mile Recordings, 26.08) // Li Yilei – Secondary Self (LTR Records, 26.08) // Rat Tally – In My Car (6131 Records, 12.08) // Andrew Tuttle – Fleeting Adventures

Words: Ali Welford Conveying her authentic self has never been an issue for Australian artist Julian Jacklin, whose unflinching lyrical flair culminated in one of the most devastating singer-songwriter albums of recent times in 2019’s Crushing. Mulling the time and effort invested in maintaining connections as opposed to the desolation of them falling apart, PRE PLEASURE nevertheless supplies its own sequence of gut-punches – not least when betraying the same emotional scars worn so nakedly on its predecessor. As such, while the magical string-laden closer End Of A Friendship stands testament to Jacklin’s sonic expansion, it’s the hymnal Too In Love To Die which strikes the most potent note; masterfully conveying early-relationship fear and insecurity from somebody only too aware they’ve been down this road before. Released: 26.08.22 www.juliajacklin.com

3.5 / 5 RUSSIAN CIRCLES GNOSIS (SARGENT HOUSE) Words: Ali Welford Given the pent-up, housebound nature of its creation, it’s perhaps unsurprising that album number eight is the nearest Russian Circles have strayed to full-blooded post-metal fury. This yield to primal instinct may signal a lack of variety in lesser hands, yet the Chicago instrumentalists negotiate the switch with characteristic aplomb. The likes of Conduit and Vlastimil, for instance are cacophonous ragers bursting with both muscle and low-end catharsis, while Betreyal’s frenetic blast beats offer an invigorating dose of the trio’s lesser-spotted blackened leanings. Ironically, where one might expect such a record to sign-off in a blaze of thunder, it’s left to cinematic closer Bloom to provide an unmistakable moment of hope – our sole extended peep through Gnosis’ weighty volcanic cloud. Released: 19.08.22 www.russiancirclesband.com

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ALBUMS

4/5

4/5

4/5

THEE SACRED SOULS THEE SACRED SOULS (PENROSE/DAPTONE)

ESMERINE EVERYTHING WAS FOREVER UNTIL IT WAS NO MORE (CONSTELLATION)

LIFE NORTH EAST COASTAL TOWN (LIQUID LABEL)

Words: Lee Fisher Penrose is the So Cal-based Daptone imprint that has slipped out a bunch of really great sun-kissed 7”s over the last couple of years, and now Thee Sacred Souls debut album, which as expected is an absolute delight. This is classic seventies soul done right – that usual Daptone approach of being authentic without being a hollow facsimile. Opening track (and their debut single) tells you all you need: a sultry slow jam with gorgeous horn stabs and a spoken passage that is so perfect it’s almost daft. “I was meditating on love and you and roses…”. The band have that tight-but-loose thing going on, vocalist Josh Lane sings like one of the greats. Lie back, soak it in and pretend you’re in Imperial Beach. Released: 26.08.22 www.daptonerecords.com

Words: Lee Fisher This Quebecois collective – part of the GY!BE diaspora – have passed me by until now, which is a damn shame. This album is in the post-rock/post-classical/minimal vein you might expect but with some unusual instrumentation and a really unique feel. If the occasional track feels a little New Age candle shop, for the most part this is gorgeous stuff. Take Hymn For Rob or Wakesleep, brief and melancholy gems, piano and cello hitting you right in the feels with the simplest of melodies. Imaginary Pasts is more rousing but no less affecting, and closer Numbers Stations has a slowburn, cinematic feel with brooding strings that are simultaneously creepy but beautiful. One to lose yourself in, but stay away from the candles. Released: 26.08.22 www.esmerine.com

Words: Lee Hammond The long-awaited third album from LIFE immediately demonstrates progression in their sound. Friends Without Names opens North East Coastal Town in dark and brooding fashion, but they quickly break from this. Big Moon Lake and Incomplete feel like familiar territory, but it’s Duck Egg Blue where these different sounds are taken to a new level. Spacious and ambient, yet no less powerful, an intriguing new facet to LIFE. North East Coastal Town is packed with driving chant-along tracks — that you’d expect — but Duck Egg Blue and in particular All You Are show a different and welcome side to LIFE. They’ve not lost any of their power or intensity, only augmented it, and have grown into a more rounded sound. Released: 19.08.22 www.lifeband.co.uk

4/5

3/5

4/5

KOKOROKO COULD WE BE MORE (BROWNSWOOD RECORDINGS)

CASS MCCOMBS HEARTMIND (ANTI-)

PHOEBE GREEN LUCKY ME (CHESS CLUB RECORDS)

Words: Ikenna Offor Expansive and ambitiously omnivorous, Kokoroko’s long-awaited debut is brilliantly consistent in its jazz-kissed reimagining of Afrobeat, which nimbly weaves a diasporic melange of influences into lush grooves and uplifting chorales. Melodically sinuous yet intrinsically rooted in classic-hued textures, Could We Be More pivots on the London-based eight-piece’s deft maximation of their dynamic capacity for bucking tradition with an infectious youthful verve. Adroitly harnessing the collective’s zesty flair for fine-pearled effervescence into a seamless mosaic, this record oozes rich-toned musicality – Ewà Inú and We Give Thanks both revel in ebullient Yoruba flavours, whilst War Dance is by turns roof-raisingly febrile and simmeringly soulful; elsewhere, Something’s Going On’s ostensibly ominous moniker belies the propulsive potency of its swoonsome polyrhythms. Get familiar! Released: 05.08.22 www.kokorokomusic.co.uk

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Words: Elodie A. Roy Cass McCombs’s tenth studio album has a heavy, stormy quality about it. While McCombs’ early songs were slow and infinitely spacious, these eight new tracks – recorded between Brooklyn and Burbank – feel almost suffocating. His voice has retained its soft, magical dreaminess; yet he sings faster and almost mechanically, barely stopping to catch his breath. The music, a gentle 1970s country rock medley, unfolds as indifferently as a familiar road. Lyrically, McCombs still brilliantly portrays suffering souls, thwarted lovers and minor crooks. But now there is a sense of distance, a disjuncture between his voice and the stories it carries. The cover of the album shows an empty rowing boat floating on glittering water. Despite the appearance of serenity, there is something indefinably sinister about the scene. Released: 19.08.22 www.cassmccombs.com

Words: Lizzie Lovejoy Phoebe Green has created an album that is torn between a club-classic of the early 2000’s and an introspective post-modern dissection of the human experience. I found myself revisiting first break-up memories with this quietly emotional album that somehow made me believe dancing was the only cure. This hip-hop, synth pop blend of behavioural analysis creates thirteen bass-filled tracks where her soft voice carries with a gentle kind of strength. Green describes the song Crying In The Club as ‘sad bop, and I think that perfectly encapsulates the entire album. Break My Heart eases the listener into both the self-reflective themes and the power of a beat, but the penultimate track Leach pulls out all the stops with fast needles and haunting vocals. Released: 19.08.22 www.phoebegreenmusic.bandcamp.com


ALBUMS

4/5

5/5

4/5

WILLIAM ORBIT THE PAINTER (WARNER RECORDS)

OSEES A FOUL FORM (CASTLE FACE RECORDS)

THE LOUNGE SOCIETY TIRED OF LIBERTY (SPEEDY WUNDERGROUND)

Words: Damian Robinson Super techno/pop producer, and king of ambient, William Orbit returns for his first album in eight years and perhaps his first intentionally poppy in a decade in a half. Multilayered and filled with the type of dance-floor-meets-chill-out-room textures of Orbit’s greatest pop moments, The Painter provides wickedly enticing sonic canvasses for numerous collaborators (Katie Melua, Beth Orton, Ali Love) to layer interesting vocals and narratives on top of. Always at his best when operating in the role of producer and serving others, the wonder of The Painter is not Orbit’s ability to craft ambient pop gems, but rather his skill in not needing to show off and steal the limelight. Pop’s big names will be knocking on his door very soon. Released: 26.08.22 www.williamorbit.com

Words: Robin Webb I’m not one given to say the blue words often but…This fucking rocks! Uber prolific John Dwyer returns in the Osees for the umpteenth release recently, and boy does it kick one’s butt. Visceral, squelchy, fuzzed-up punk that sounds basement, was recorded in a basement and is so far underground it knocks the devil out of bed, yet is ballistic enough it’ll still knock the roof off. If you want comparisons try Dead Kennedys at their most anarchic (skate punks will be cock-a-hoop) or Rudimentary Peni, who they actually cover for the closing track Sacrifice. The Osees always chop and change as they see fit, but by crikey I want to hear more of this proper punk! Released: 12.08.22 www.theohsees.com

Words: Stephen Oliver The Lounge Society have been creating a buzz on the live circuit for some time and their debut shows much of their promise. The Lounge Society describe themselves as a collective entity, with no core-leader, everything from the sources of inspiration to the lyrics themselves, is handled collaboratively. This leads to a range of guitar-based indie songs that gives this album pleasant variety. Even within a single track, such as closer Generation Game, there is a change in tempo and ambience which provokes the listener to stay involved. At times, the frenetic drumming carries a real sense of urgency before slowing down and becoming more reflective. Lyrically the band have embraced a storytelling side ensuring each track has a purpose too. Released: 26.08.22 www.facebook.com/theloungesociety

4/5

4.5 / 5

4/5

THE CHATS GET FUCKED (BARGAIN BIN RECORDS)

LAURAN HIBBERD GARAGEBAND SUPERSTAR (VIRGIN MUSIC)

ERASURE DAY-GLO (BASED ON A TRUE STORY) (MUTE)

Words: Robin Webb Headed up by the gasket busting 6L GTR, inspired by a number plate and supported by an irreverent animated promo, this is an album of enlightened blistering pub punk rock. Imagine Dr Feelgood meets The Ramones. Tracks like the speeding Southport Superman, with its rock ‘n’ roll guts on the outside, and The Price Of Smokes, a post-punk rant at the cost of tabs with an anarchic call to end parliament at the gallows. Tracks are ridiculously reflective of street sentiment; Paid Late was written after discovering an ATM with “the absolute shit beaten out of it”. Get Fucked is stacked full of serious humour, insightful to the affliction of social ills from a front-facing perspective, and I can’t wait to see them live. Released: 19.08.22 www.thechatslovebeer.com

Words: Stephen Oliver Prolific songwriter Lauran Hibberd has finally put together an album that is full of smart and sometimes sarcastic lyrics, over the top of bouncy guitar-led pop rock. It is a formula that works: Lauran sings about life and the tsunami of happy music crashes over the listener. The result is a winning combination that should prove popular. By the same token I am sure that it will annoy the music snobs and I love it more for that. Apart from the last track, each dose of Lauran’s thoughts run under four-minutes, and so it never overstays its welcome. With infectious energy, catchy lyrics and a crisp production from Larry Hibbitt, Lauran has created a confident debut. Released: 19.08.22 www.lauranhibberd.com

Words: Stephen Oliver Day-Glo (Based On A True Story) is an album of brand new tracks, each created using elements of their previous release The Neon. Vince Clarke has reworked the files created for that last album and created something that has more in common with German EBM outfit And One. Andy Bell has then recorded new vocals to add to these tracks. This is no remix album, as the reworkings have created a new set of songs, resulting in atmospheric tracks which are laced with vocals that sometimes have an ethereal quality. This is less about creating catchy top 40 hits and more about letting the musicianship shine through, meaning that Day-Glo is an interesting and unique chapter in the Erasure catalogue. Release: 12.08.22 www.erasureinfo.com

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MIXTAPE WORDS: HENRY CARDEN

Hello! Henry here. I’m a music manager and festival promoter based in Teesside. My management roster includes Cattle & Cane, Dylan Cartlidge, Jodie Nicholson, Mt. Misery and a brand new artist called Blue Lupin. I also do some mentoring/artist development and have worked with Llovers, Komparrison, Sarah Johnsone, Eve Conway and Eyeconic among others in that capacity. Alongside that, I co-promote Twisterella Festival and put on the odd gig here and there… If you’re not already familiar with it, Twisterella is an award-winning (I know, right!?) multi-venue music festival which takes place every October in the heart of Middlesbrough. This year, we’ve got the likes of Benefits, The Royston Club, Swim School, Panic Shack, Bull, Prima Queen and Sick Joy heading to Teesside on Saturday 8th October. Excitingly, we’re also doing our first ever outdoor summer Twisterella event, with the Class of 2022 at Middlesbrough Town Hall Courtyard on Saturday 6th August featuring eight of our favourite regional acts: ZELA, Jodie Nicholson, Moon Wax, Twist Helix, Joe Ramsey, Shakk, Mt. Misery and Jen Dixon. Here’s a few tracks I can’t wait to hear live at the show. www.twisterella.co.uk www.quietcrown.co.uk www.twitter.com/henrycarden

SHAKK & EYECONIC IT’S A VIBE Shakk has to be one of the North East’s best kept secrets and I really hope that changes soon. He doesn’t deserve to be a secret! This track picked up Clash Track of the Day and a play on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, which I’m hopeful is a sign of things to come for Shakk. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Eyeconic might join him for this one, but even if not, this catchy homage to 90s garage is sure to get the crowd moving.

JODIE NICHOLSON MOVE I’ll always have an immense soft-spot for this track, as it was the first new song that Jodie and I worked on together. It was recorded remotely during lockdown with an amazing producer called Tim Bran. He was in his studio in London and Jodie was in her house in Hurworth. The result is an incredible track that has opened up so many doors for Jodie. We released it at

a time where playing live or even leaving the house wasn’t really possible, so we had to be quite creative with our release strategy. Fast forward two years and it’s had nearly 300,000 streams on Spotify and 20 national radio plays across BBC Radio 6Music and BBC Radio 1. I couldn’t be prouder of Jodie with this one and it sounds so good with her full band line-up!

MOON WAX IT’S REAL There’s something joyous about watching Moon Wax live. They’re the perfect summer band and they’re all ridiculously talented musicians – I can play a few different instruments to a reasonable-ish standard, but when I watch Moon Wax play, I sometimes just start laughing at how effortless they make everything seem. Billy the guitarist/frontman is ‘Boro’s answer to Nile Rodgers. Unbelievable stuff.

JOE RAMSEY ANOTHER DAY “Should I be as happy as I am right now?” – such a great lyric, written in the context of actually having some good things happen during lockdown. A song essentially about the guilt of enjoying life during the pandemic, for me, this is Joe’s best track and it always sound ace live with Rossy on the drums giving it so much energy and life.

MT. MISERY SSA So, I’m using my managerial privilege with this one! It’s an unreleased track and I don’t actually know what this song is called, but the file they sent me is called SSA-MASTER V1.MP3 so let’s run with SSA. It’s going to feature on a 12” vinyl compilation released by the wonderful Prefect Records later this year and it’s probably my favourite ever Mt. Misery track. It’s like Teenage Fanclub meets The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. What a combination.

SERIES 4 ONLINE NOW PERFORMANCES AND CHAT WITH NORTH EAST ARTISTS WATCH VIA 54

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DALÍ CHRIST ON THE CROSS

EL GRECO

Saturday 9 July – Sunday 4 December 2022 The Spanish Gallery Bishop Auckland Tickets available from aucklandproject.org Salvador Dalí 1904–1989, Christ of St John of the Cross, 1951, oil on canvas © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

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