NARC. #187 September 2022

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PREVIEWS 4 HIGHLIGHTS Our pick of the best events in September






32 ROB HERON & THE TEA PAD ORCHESTRA The Tea Pad Orchestra weren’t alone in using the lockdown as a time to reflect on their future, but as Rob Heron explains to Lee Fisher, they seem to have emerged newly invigorated and full of ideas Recently I made a mixtape (sorry, ‘playlist’, that’s my age showing…) to encourage a keen young person to join the dark side of alternative music. Aside from the incredible pressure I felt attempting to distil years of musical knowledge into a 30-odd song playlist (do you stick with ‘the hits’ or choose deeper cuts? Is that song a better representation of an entire genre than this one?), the exercise also reminded me what a responsibility we as a publication face in serving our readers. On more than one occasion over the last month I’ve been informed that someone had begun reading the magazine in their teenage years and, thrillingly, I’ve been able to introduce NARC. to a handful of young people – mostly under 16 – who’d never come across it before, and whose eyes visibly lit up at the potential for musical exploration it contained. I’ve never had to second guess the things we contain in our pages, for me and for the wider team too, the music and culture we talk about is an ingrained part of our personalities and our journeys through life, so it’s a pretty exciting thing to know that you (yes, you) dear Constant Readers are on that journey with us – some have been around for years, and some are just starting out. All of you are welcome.

Including live music from Rose City Band, Anna Ash, Mush, Allen Valleys Folk Festival, Scott Matthews, Laura Jurd, The Goa Express, Chloe Castro, Luke James Williams, The Handsome Family, Fay Hield and many more; art exhibitions including Sahej Rahal at BALTIC and Classic Street Style at Side Gallery; comedy galore from Maisie Adam at ARC, Rich Hall at various venues, Jessica Fostekew at Gala Theatre and The Stand, Doug Stanhope at Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Phil Wang at Newcastle Cathedral, Isy Suttie at The Stand and more; theatrical loveliness from Your Voice Your Future at Live Theatre, All The Beds I Have Slept In at Northern Stage, Welcome to the Jungle at ARC, Family Honour at Dance City and loads more!


REVIEWS Editor Claire Dupree Website David Saunders Creative El Roboto Advertising Claire Dupree Stay social, connect with us

Cover Image Amelia Read Live Photography Victoria Wai Contributors Jake Anderson / Tom Astley / James Barker / Jade Broadhead / Paul Brown / Laura Doyle / Lee Fisher / Evie Lake / Lizzie Lovejoy / Ben Lowes-Smith / Hope Lynes / Evie Nicholson / Michael O’Neill / Ikenna Offor / Damian Robinson / Conor Roy / Joseph Spence / Steve Spithray / Dominic Stephenson / Dawn Storey / Adelle Sutheran / Luke Waller / Robin Webb / Ali Welford / Cameron Wright / Matt Young

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VISIT US ONLINE WWW.NARCMAGAZINE.COM NARC. Magazine, Tel: 07748 907 914 Email: Web: 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


Reports from the front row of Yard Act, Class of 2022, Martha Wainwright, When Chai Met Toast, Thomas Truax, Emma Ruth Rundle, Efterklang, Lightning Bolt and many more

55 DEMOS Featuring Thomas Walliker, Mascara’s Lies, Electric Circus, Silk Road and Cactusman


Reviews of local single and EP releases including Charts & Graphs, James Leonard Hewitson, Salsola, Alex James, Simon York West, Arcade Skies, Bobby Latheron & Beth Miller, Rituals, Taliraw, Slowlight Orchestra, Charlotte Forman and TANKENGINE


New releases from Suede, Andrew Bradley, Gemma Cullingford, Christine & The Queens, Bloods, Lande Hekt, Oren Amarchi, Marisa Anderson, Jockstrap, Courting, Pixies, The Mars Volta and many more


Jimmy Beck from KU Bar chats about some of his favourite songs ahead of The Gathering Sounds festival

Next Issue Out 28th September





You don’t get much more iconic in Sunderland than the pairing of spiky rockers The Futureheads and legendary studio and community hub The Bunker. This show serves to celebrate the Bunker’s 40th anniversary and will also feature sets from Thieves of Liberty, noyou, Lottie Willis, Patrick Gosling and more TBA. Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland



SATURDAY 3 RACHAEL MCSHANE & THE CARTOGRAPHERS Singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player,

not to mention creator of gorgeous folk ditties, Rachael McShane alongside her Cartographer bandmates lead a series of workshops in the afternoon which focus on singing, French dance tunes and the playing of traditional Northumbrian tunes, and also perform what’s certain to be a spellbinding concert in the evening. The Globe, Newcastle



LAST TRAIN HOME FESTIVAL A riot of live music takes over Darlington, featuring the likes of The Lovely Eggs, Sunflower Thieves, Luke Royalty, Nel Unlit, Shakk, Joe Ramsey, Rudi Betamax, Analogue Blood, Liz Lawrence, L’Objectif, Northering, Callum Pitt, Kate Bond, Labyrinthine Oceans, Komparrison, Ava In The Dark, Sarah Johnsone, Harriet Bradshaw and many more. The Forum Music Centre, St John’s Church & Theatre Hullaballoo, Darlington




SUNDERLAND INDIE DOUBLE EXHIBITION Curators and artists Sunderland Indie present part two of Earth Requiem, their ambitious creative response to the climate crisis through painting, sculpture, photography, film, music, dance and more; plus A Tale Of A Few Cities commemorates the 150th anniversary of Dickens’ death, led by poet Barry FentimanHall and featuring the work of over 50 writers and artists from the North East and South East of England. Arts Centre Washington




Sage Gateshead continue on their mission to highlight superb local talent in their popular ‘pay what you feel’ showcase. This month’s event features performances from neo-soul artist Kate Bond, plus Sunderland’s remarkable alt. pop songwriter Faye Fantarrow and Stockton’s hotly tipped songwriter Sisi, who has already garnered considerable attention from the likes of Radio 1Xtra and Radio 1. Sage Gateshead


KUBA RYNIEWICZ – PARALLEL STORIES FROM HERE Marking the photographer’s largest solo show in the UK, the exhibition features the artist’s photographic fascinations in a series of images which depict his daily routines and routes, from local neighbourhoods to metro journeys, his family and friends, weaving an unordered narrative of how he sees the world. Runs until 8th October. Newcastle Contemporary Art



CEILING DEMONS & REX SIMONSON North Yorkshire’s art rap innovators Ceiling Demons present a cracking gig which not only showcases their own alternative spoken word style but also serves as the debut show for Rex Simonson – otherwise known as A Certain Ratio-founder Simon Topping and his son, Rex. The Green Room, Stockton


Calling her new show The Optimist is a typical bit of comedic misdirection, given that Jen Brister is a self-proclaimed pessimistic naysayer. Discovering that the pandemic hasn’t changed her one bit and she’s still rubbish in a crisis, the comedian delivers a pitch perfect set of riveting and explosive stand-up. Also at The Stand, Newcastle the following night. Gala Theatre, Durham (17th) / The Stand, Newcastle (18th)



THE WASP Pitched as ‘ITV’s Too Close meets Fatal Attraction’, this psychological thriller stars two fantastic local actors, Christina Berriman Dawson and Jess Johnson, who play characters that grew up at the same time but whose lives went in vastly different directions, questioning how far beyond the playground we carry our childhood experiences. Runs until Saturday 24th September. The Customs House, South Shields



FROM GESTURE TO GEOMETRY Part of Middlesbrough Art Weekender, this exhibition explores contemporary attitudes to both gestural and geometric abstraction and features work from Rachael Clewlow, Sarah Cooney, Lorraine Lawler, Ulla Pedersen, Theresa Poulton and Francesca Simon. An artist talk takes place on Saturday 24th. Runs until Sunday 25th September. Platform A Gallery, Middlesbrough


WCH, Mask, 2021, pastel on paper


I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO NOW? Chilli Studios’ annual exhibition celebrates the immense creativity of the studio’s members and further cements their reputation as a space which empowers individuals to challenge perceptions around mental health. The exhibition includes a diverse display of work by over 50 artists which deal with themes of challenges and creativity. Runs until 1st October. Vane Gallery, Gateshead






Revered on London’s contemporary jazz circuit, this duo provide ample food for thought with their kaleidoscopic fusion of hip-hop, soul, funk, R&B, jazz and Afrobeat. Signed to the legendary Blue Note records, producer NKOK and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM have clocked up Grammy and MOBO nominations for their supple sound. World Headquarters, Newcastle


Image by Colin Armstrong


ROBOCOBRA QUARTET Revered Irish experimenters Robocobra Quartet present a beguiling genre-bending sound which invokes the likes of Fugazi, Talking Heads, Black Midi, Squid and BadBadNotGood thanks to freewheeling arrangements, a spot of improv and perpetually danceable rhythms. They’re supported by North East electro spoken word artist Faithful Johannes, whose compositions are equally as seductive. Cobalt Studios, Newcastle




Theatre company New Wave offer up a tale many readers will be familiar with: the angst-ridden trials and tribulations of teenage self-discovery. Fans of the original coming-of-age rock musical by Duncan Sheik will find much to enjoy in the award-winning score and electrifying tale of morality, sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll! Also on Sunday 25th September. Middlesbrough Town Hall

TUESDAY 27 FIELDWORKING A screening of the short film made during neighbouring NewBridge Project’s residency camp in Teesdale; six artists, an ecologist and two filmmakers were brought together to a former scientific field station to cultivate multifarious practices of artistic fieldwork. Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle


THURSDAY 29 THE TALK OF THE TOWN Self-described as a ‘spoken word supergroup’, Elaine Cusack, Rob Walton and Steve Drayton present a brand new multimedia event which they promise will bring the spoken word scene kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Expect, poetry, prose, music and moving image in a fast-paced performance at an as-yet-undisclosed (Newcastle city centre) location! Newcastle cusackmansions





Words: Ben Lowes-Smith As part of Sage Gateshead’s Innovative New Music programme, Laura Jurd brings her album tour to Hall Two on Wednesday 28th September. Jurd’s music is a beautiful amalgamation of alt.


rock, folk and blues. As a composer she has collaborated with the London Sinfonietta, the Festival of New Trumpet Music, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Ligeti Quartet to name a few. She regularly performs throughout the UK, Europe and beyond with her Mercury-nominated band Dinosaur, having played the likes of North Sea, Montréal and Molde International Jazz festivals among others. She can also be heard playing alongside London jazz band Kansas Smitty’s and leading a number of exciting projects in UK jazz and improvised music. Recent collaborators include

drummer Seb Rochford, pianist Huw Warren and accordionist/sound artist Martin Green. With patronage from BBC Radio 3’s new generation of artists, Jurd’s profile as one of the UK’s finest composers is exponentially growing and Sage Gateshead’s Hall Two provides the perfect surrounds for what promises to be an energetic, memorable performance. Laura Jurd plays Sage Gateshead on Wednesday 28th September.



Image by Marc Brenner



Words: Lizzie Lovejoy Writer and performer Amy Trigg is bringing their debut show, Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me, to Live Theatre in Newcastle from Wednesday 7th-Saturday 10th September ahead of its national tour, which also calls in to Arts Centre Washington on Monday 10th

October and Middlesbrough Town Hall on Wednesday 19th October. Love is already a complicated thing, and the character of Juno is feeling the weight of all of it. Amy Trigg uses a wheelchair and seems like they could be writing from experience when discussing the impact of other people’s comments about Juno’s sex life. Disability has been a long time challenge for the performance industry to understand, and Trigg is breaking down the barriers by focusing exclusively on a character with spina bifida, as well as the usual struggles of a woman in her 20’s. Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me is an exploration of love and loneliness, as well as

how we look at ourselves. Juno views herself as an unfinished project, and we all have work to do developing who we are, but navigating that feeling while dating is hard work! Funny, challenging and heart-warming, this show is a must see for anyone who is trying to work themselves out in a world that isn’t as straightforward as we’d like. Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me is at Live Theatre, Newcastle from Wednesday 7th-Saturday 10th September, Arts Centre Washington on Monday 10th October and Middlesbrough Town Hall on Wednesday 19th October.



Rose City Band, aka Ripley Johnson by the artist



Words: Matt Young Ripley Johnson, guitarist and songwriter (Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo) serves up bucolic country psych with Rose City Band when they come to play The Cluny on Tuesday 6th September. We can expect pedal steel tinged and wistful meditations, played out in a classic, but highly personal, reflection on West Coast Americana. Johnson’s an assured storyteller and a songwriter who traps heart tugging moments and emotions in amber like golden treasure. On his most recent album Earth Trip, written and recorded mid-pandemic, he plaintively covered everything from summers with friends, the vastness of space, curiosity in nature’s cycles and life ‘off the road’. Sounds ‘far out’ right? But it’s deeply immersed in the human experience, in his understanding and questioning; full of wonder and hope lyrically, it shines through with brightly chimed riffs and melodies. The fuzzy feeling of warm sun on the skin, the peace affords you that time to pause. Now very much back in the touring saddle again, Johnson ventures out like a troubadour


comet orbiting the globe to share a set filled with gentle trippy odes to his Pacific North West home, nature, beauty, love and fascination with earth’s shifting rhythms. Rose City Band play The Cluny, Newcastle on Tuesday 6th September.



Words: Matt Young The excitement around the ‘in person’ return of one of the North East’s hugely popular writing festivals is palpable. The sixth instalment of The Word’s Write Festival follows two years spent cloistered online, and now guests and attendees alike are eager to experience the workshops and events in person again throughout September. No matter whether you’re an established writer or an aspiring one, there’s a month-long programme tailored to everyone seeking tips, feedback and advice from a wealth of experienced industry insiders and some of the region’s bestselling authors like LJ Ross, Kate Fox, Stuart MacBride, M.W. Craven and Vera creator Ann Cleeves all featured this year. Working in tandem with New Writing North

there’s a Summer Film School for those aged 12-19. There are also live performances by numerous theatre groups planned throughout the month both for children and adults. The most anticipated festival highlights are often the In Conversation With… presentations with new and well known authors as well as the talks and workshops under the Ready To Get Published banner, where those in the industry offer practical advice on everything from how to attract an agent and how to self-publish and promote your work, all geared towards demystifying the process of writing and publication. There is also a New Writers Showcase and a Writers Retreat, aimed at hearing from the writing community, sharing experiences, providing feedback on your writing and Q&A sessions discussing new writing across a variety of genres. The main venue for full programme is South Shields’ The Word but also encompasses other library buildings. Pre-booking is essential in a lot of cases – check online for the full programme. Write Festival takes place at The Word, South Shields from Wednesday 31st August-Tuesday 30th September.



Words: Laura Doyle When was the last time you heard a fat joke? Speaking as your local friendly fat culture journo who has been at the receiving end of such “humour,” the worst is probably, “You don’t sweat much for a fat lass.” First of all, it’s rude. Secondly, can we stick to one form

of body policing at a time please? Sofie Hagen doesn’t tell fat jokes, even if the title of her stand-up show (which drops in to Stockton’s ARC on Friday 16th September and later at Northern Stage on Tuesday 11th October) would imply otherwise: she tells jokes, and she is fat. And when she’s not telling jokes, Hagen is taking her quest to reclaim the F word seriously. How wild is it to open up a ticket page for a comedy show and be greeted with “fat accessibility information” that gives her fellow fat folks seat dimensions? Now, we can know exactly how uncomfortable we’ll be for the duration of a show, or if we can avoid

Friday 9 September Loudon Wainwright III In Concert Sage One

the dreaded armrest digging into fleshy thighs for 90 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, fat people are just people who enjoy many of the same things as non-fat people, and we’d really appreciate a night out at a comedy show without being the butt of any jokes – even if our posteriors look like they can take it. Sofie Hagen performs at ARC, Stockton on Friday 16th September and Northern Stage, Newcastle on Tuesday 11th October.

Wednesday 21 September Madeleine Peyroux Careless Love Forever World Tour

The Handsome Family plus Daniel Knox

Sage One

Sage Two

Friday 23 September Penguin Cafe

Saturday 10 September Kim Wilde plus special guests China Crisis

Sage Two

Sage One

Saturday 24 September Don McLean plus Elles Bailey

Fay Hield

Sage One

Sage Two

Friday 16 September RJ Thompson

Eddi Reader - 40th Anniversary Tour Sage Two

Sage Two

Saturday 17 September 25th Anniversary Tour: Nearly Dan - The Spirit & Soul of Steely Dan

Wednesday 28 September Laura Jurd: The Big Friendly Album Tour

Sage Two

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Head to on for our full gig listings.

September Gig Highlights







photography: Rachel Deakin

Words: Ali Welford There ain’t no party like a Los Bitchos party… With members spanning three continents and a sound which fuses surf guitar with Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and plenty more besides, this exuberant quartet have already supplied one of the 2022’s jauntiest records in their tequila-swigging

debut Let The Festivities Begin! Imbued with vintage western vibes, devilish charm and a barrel load of sass, it’s a collection crammed with playful and heady instrumental zingers. Listen carefully to the likes of Las Panteras, The Link is About to Die or Pista (Fresh Start), and you may even detect echoes of the ice-cool strut of prime Franz Ferdinand – an impression which only intensifies upon seeing Alex Kapranos’ name among the production credits. While summer winds down, Los Bitchos’ antics are only set to amp-up further – and this time in-person, with a euphoric UK tour in the offing and dancefloors up and down the

22 - 25 SEPT 2022 exhibitions workshops talks performances


country waiting to be straddled. Among them is Newcastle’s Star & Shadow Cinema, where they rock up on Wednesday 21st September with Manchester-based dream pop experimentalists KYŌGEN adding support. If you’re seeking a splash of much-needed midweek colour, look no further…if all parties were this fun, the mere mention of the word wouldn’t fill some of us with creeping existential dread! Los Bitchos and KYŌGEN play Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle on Wednesday 21st September.


Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes



RICH HALL @ VARIOUS RISEFEST @ NORTHUMBRIA VENUES UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION Words: Cameron Wright As one of the stand out stand-up exports from America, the Montana-born comic Rich Hall has been a definitive voice in the British comedy conversation for quite some time. With appearances on QI, Cats Do Countdown, Live at the Apollo and Have I Got News For You, Hall is a certified comedy mainstay whose acerbic and droll wit is as deceptively cutting as it is dry and heartless. Constantly irate and always ruthlessly honest, there is a prowess to his disgruntled styling that many comics try to replicate but few can perfect. Riding high on the wave of his latest memoir, Nailing It, the comedic curmudgeon is back with several shows in the region, including The Witham in Barnard Castle, the Forum in Northallerton, Alnwick Playhouse and Queen’s Hall Hexham, which promise to be a rollercoaster of comedy. While previous tours have blasted an onslaught of bracing improvisation, crushing interactions and pristine slices of satirical, cultural lunacy, the ferocious comic is never far from a musical interlude and a dynamic change of pace. If comedy is about misdirection, there is no act more likely to keep you guessing than the master that is Rich Hall, promising that although you pay for the whole seat, you’ll only need the edge of it. Rich Hall performs at The Witham, Barnard Castle on Wednesday 14th, The Forum Northallerton on Thursday 15th, Alnwick Playhouse on Friday 16th and Queen’s Hall Hexham on Saturday 17th September.

Words: Laura Doyle RISE has dominated the alt. scene in Newcastle every Saturday since 2016, but that wasn’t enough for the team behind the iconic club night. Get ready to take things to the next level with the introduction of an all-new festival, RISEFEST. With a title that demands to be written in all capitals, expect things to get loud and sweaty at Northumbria Students’ Union on Saturday 10th September. Crowd-pullers Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Boston Manor, Vukovi, As December Falls, Modern Error and Creeper have already been added to the debut roster, making the fifty quid ticket price to see so many faves at once well worth the investment. Not forgetting their locale, RISEFEST have made sure to include North East music scene staples, including future metal legends Rituals and alt. rockers Motherland (RISE veterans may even recognise DJ Dave Hodgkiss on guitar for the latter). With more artists set to be announced across the event’s two stages, a kick off time of 10am, and on-site catering to take you all the way through to the final headline acts, you can enjoy Newcastle’s own mini-festival without the hefty price tag, camping and other general messiness. If an all day alt. festival still doesn’t sound like enough to you, then there’s always the original RISE following straight after to satisfy all your after party needs. RISEFEST takes place at Northumbria University Students’ Union on Saturday 10th September.



Words: Adelle Sutheran The good folks at Stockton’s Globe are throwing a bash! The recently renovated venue is back to its former Art Deco glory after a serious facelift, and they’re inviting you to join them in their celebrations. GLOBEfest is a free event (with tickets to be sourced online and from the town’s Visitor Information Centre) which will be buzzing with energy and character that reciprocates that of the fine building. The all day event takes place on Saturday 10th September and will be presented over three stages including multifunctional venue space The Link. Top of the musical agenda will be performances from folk songstress Amelia Coburn, indie songwriter Joe Ramsey, Middlesbrough rapper Shakk, dynamic alt. pop artist Nadedja, indie alternative rockers We Tibetans, singer Marina Gears and soulful balladeer Lost State of Dan among others. More eclectic entertainment comes in the form of magician Andy Larmouth, spoken word performances from the Tees Women Poets, not to mention dance troupe Urban Kaos, drumming from Apollo Arts and storytelling courtesy of Chris Bostock, meaning there’s something for EVERYONE. In addition, there will be plenty of interactive fun to be had including singing, stage make up and puppet making workshops (for adults as well as kids), street performers, heritage cinema, treasure hunts, stalls, food and so much more. GLOBEfest takes place at The Globe in Stockton on Saturday 10th September.









Jessica Fostekew by Matt Stronge



Words: Jake Anderson The ever-so quick-witted Jessica Fostekew’s new show Wench – not to be confused with her previous stand-up hour (and now Amazon Prime show) Hench – received high praise from Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, described as having “frenetic energy”. She’ll be bringing her charm to the North East, stopping off in the region at Durham’s Gala on Thursday 22nd and Newcastle’s The Stand on Sunday 25th September.   Tackling life in a post-Covid world has been popular among British comedians, yet Fostekew is managing to stand out. The material performed has Fostekew struggling, feeling like the only person who still does the Wordle and facing a never-ending battle with her own lack of social skills – something we can all definitely relate to on some level.   The comic isn’t afraid to explore deeper topics;

a highlight of her set includes a dissection into the end of her relationship with the father of her child and her own sexuality. Fostekew also runs a highly successful podcast called Hoovering, in which she interviews celebrities about food, and she’s also a consistently hilarious regular on The Guilty Feminist Podcast. Jessica Fostekew performs at Gala Theatre, Durham’s on Thursday 22nd and The Stand, Newcastle on Sunday 25th September.



Words: Claire Dupree Continuing in their mission to champion women and gender minorities in the region’s music industry, Darlington collective Tracks are putting on a couple of superb events under their Noisy Daughters moniker this month. Keen to encourage more women to get into the technical side of the industry, on Saturday 24th

September they’ll be hosting an Introduction to Live Sound workshop at The Forum Music Centre in Darlington. They’ll be working alongside the Yorkshire Sound Women network to bring freelance artist and technician Jo Kennedy to Darlington to deliver the workshop. Jo’s extensive experience both as an artist performing experimental music, as well as a technical and creative workshop practitioner, will ensure her advice is invaluable. Jo gives some insight into what attendees can expect: “This two-hour workshop will provide a friendly, supportive space for you to get your hands on PA equipment and understand the essentials of live sound. The workshop will empower participants who are maybe wanting to run an open mic night or venue, or a performer wanting to speak with more confidence and authority to venue sound engineers.” The workshop is free to attend, but places must be booked. Check out Tracks’ website for more info. The previous evening will also see a live gig held at the venue, with headliner TBA and support from Darlington’s own alluring alternative songwriter Eve Conway. Noisy Daughters events take place at The Forum Music Centre, Darlington on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th September.



Deadletter by Spela Cedilnik



Words: Dominic Stephenson Newcastle welcomes yet another white-hot prospect from the bubbling South London music scene in the form of DEADLETTER, who perform at Head of Steam on Friday 16th September. Yorkshire-bred and comprised of former members of garage punk outfit Mice On Mars, the six-piece emerged with debut single Good Old Days back in 2020. However, it was their subsequent track, Fit For Work, that really set them apart from their peers; a whimsical yet piercing anecdote on the welfare state. They’ve since honed their sound to the tune of razor-sharp guitar hooks, winding bass-heavy grooves and squealing sax, commanded by quick-witted, sprechgesang vocals. Latest single Pop Culture Connoisseur is a marker of their early progress: a riotous, dance-punk anthem that makes it irresistible to move. The B-side to aforementioned banger, Hero, was also of such quality that it garnered a place on BBC Radio 1’s Introducing playlist. Conquering fertile ground between modern post-punk politicism and the art rockers of the early-00s, the sextet’s biting sound has earned them ranking in the roster of the burgeoning Nice Swan records. Having supported the likes of Viagra Boys and Squid in their previous incarnation, they also have upcoming sold-out shows with Yard Act, alongside this headline tour. Rapidly becoming one of the most coveted bands in the UK, there’s only one place to be when DEADLETTER commence their maiden headline voyage. DEADLETTER play Head of Steam, Newcastle on Friday 16th September.






Words: Michael O’Neill It seems to be an argument as old as time itself. A war that’s been waged on battlefields as vast as inane Twitter threads, clickbait tabloid articles and mundane debates on This Morning: “Can you say anything without offending people nowadays?” My perception? It’s a boring and redundant argument that very quickly falls apart when you try and analyse it. I could expand on it further, but there’s little need to try and deconstruct it when one simple fact remains: Doug Stanhope’s on tour again. Whilst Daily Mail readers continue scream into the void about ‘cancel culture’, the Massachusetts-hailing provocateur is returning to our shores, taking in Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Wednesday 14th September on the way, proving that there’s very little substance to their vitriol. In his three decade-plus stand-up career, Stanhope has (much like his idol Bill Hicks) been widely welcomed in Britain for his close-to-the-bone brand of comedy, which takes aim at the state of culture, politics and religion with a no-holds-barred approach that has won him admirers such as Charlie Brooker, who regularly featured Stanhope in his acclaimed Screenwipe series. Expect to have your jaw thoroughly dropped. Doug Stanhope performs at Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Wednesday 14th September.

Words: Steve Spithray Welcome To The Jungle is a brand new show from Stockton-based writer, director and actor, Umar Butt. Exploring issues around identity, migration, belonging, family and community, Welcome To The Jungle is an epic, intensely personal tale of how two strangers came to meet each other in the middle of the night, on an empty bridge. Umar hopes that the story will help us all find connection with each other and celebrate our differences. “I am so excited to bring this story into people’s lives. We’re telling a global story about connection and family, but one that is very much grounded in Teesside. It’s about you and your neighbour as much as it is about global issues that we’re facing. But while dealing with those issues, it will be fun, and exciting, and full of warmth and heart.” Umar has worked with ARC since 2018 and he aims to use his position as an Associate Artist of ARC to develop work for people of colour. As a first-generation migrant, born in Pakistan, brought up in Glasgow and now an honorary Teessider, Umar is passionate about exploring, learning and sharing global human stories of belonging, family, community and displacement but closer to home. Welcome To The Jungle takes place at ARC, Stockton on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st September.


Image by Sahej Rahal, courtesy of the artist



Words: Lizzie Lovejoy BALTIC’s new exhibition from Sahej Rahal, Mythmachine, is a body of work actively exploring the concept of play and challenging our understanding of what it means to be a player, transforming the space in response to visitors over time.

From Saturday 24th September until September 2023, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the many forms of art that Sahej Rahal has developed, including sculpture, performance, film, installations and AI programmes. The work responds to chance and luck, weaving together new mythologies and questioning contemporary narratives. Sahej Rahal’s focus is as a storyteller, and he has created this virtual playground as a way to blend both fact and fiction as well as of countering preconceptions and altering the present. Influenced by many areas, including








science fiction and the ancient world, there is something familiar and futuristic in the works presented. Mythmachine is an exhibition of research, response and continued alteration, developing and showcasing a possible future of both the human and non-human in innovative ways, including speech, song and rhythm, resulting in a unique exhibition and experiment. Sahej Rahal: Mythmachine is at BALTIC, Gateshead from Saturday 24th SeptemberSunday 3rd September 2023.

Adv. Tickets from £20.50


Adv. Tickets from £22.50


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Adv. Tickets from £23.50


01642 525199

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Scott Matthews



Words: Adelle Sutheran Boldly going where he has not gone before, Scott Matthews will perform tracks from his recent album New Skin, which are bipolar in terms of his previous back catalogue. An album described as being reborn in a new guise, circumstances contrived to force the artist to undergo a fundamental reinvention. Taking the hand that was dealt him and other artists alike (ie. the horrors of Covid) he set about cleverly moulding a thing of ambient and electronic exquisiteness. New Skin is the Ivor Novello award-winning artist’s seventh studio album, and he’ll be regaling audiences at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Tuesday 20th and The Cluny in Newcastle on Wednesday 21st September with tunes from both the new record and the as-yet-unreleased companion album New


Skin: The Acoustic Sessions. The gigs promise an evening which will intertwine both the new and old; the notoriously haunting, clear water lyrics, blues and folk hues synonymous with the likes of Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley and Paul Simon which he has crafted for his audiences over the years. An evening of simple, intense bliss and inventive musical alchemy awaits those who choose to immerse themselves in the sounds of Scott Matthews. Scott Matthews plays Middlesbrough Town Hall on Tuesday 20th and The Cluny, Newcastle on Wednesday 21st September.


HEELAPALOOZA BIG SUMMER BLOWOUT @ PLAY BREW CO Words: Jake Anderson An unfortunate fact, or maybe fortunate with the mini heatwaves we’ve suffered, is that summer is coming to an end. But coming off a stacked and successful

Heelapalooza festival in June, which featured the likes of Dylan Cartlidge, Luke Royalty and Pit Pony, Play Brew Co in Middlesbrough will play host to summer’s fond farewell in Heelapalooza – the Big Summer Blowout, on Friday 9th September. For this show, the emphasis is on quality over quantity, and the selection is immaculate, featuring four of the most striking artists on the North East scene. The hefty line-up includes the chamber-pop inspired, psychedelic sounds of Trunky Juno; the cheery and danceable Marketplace; the deep groves and alternative sounds of Mr Matthew Fisher; as well as the energetic and crowd moving beats and flows of rapper Abi Nyxx. A diverse selection of sounds, ranging from pop and rock to hip-hop that perfectly showcase why the North East scene is so exciting right now, Heelapalooza’s Summer Blowout surely couldn’t get any better...And yet...each attendee will be given a free slice of pizza! Result. Heelapalooza present the Big Summer Blowout at Play Brew Co on Friday 9th September.


Summer, Lower East Side. Weegee © ICP (International Center of Photography)



Words: Joseph Spence Paris, New York and yes, Newcastle! Side Gallery’s Classic Street Style brings together works from the AmberSide collection and is currently on display in the UK’s only gallery dedicated to documentary photography. Running until Sunday 9th October at Newcastle’s Side Gallery, the exhibition draws

together work from three well-regarded photographers, Weegee, Robert Doisneau and Jimmy Forsyth. Viewers can expect to see photographs spanning three decades covering everyday life in three very dissimilar cities; Paris, New York and Newcastle. Weegee’s black and white photographs depict savage crime and everyday life in New York City during the fallout of the Great Depression’s economic strain. Contrastingly, a selection of playful and often poetic photographs by Robert Doisneau are on display; Le chien à roulettes (Dog on wheels) is an example of Doisneau’s keen interest in photographing the unexpected moments in the Parisian streets.

Drawing attention away from New York and Paris, Jimmy Forsyth’s photographs of Newcastle’s West End portrays the socially changing environment and the everyday experience of the area. Side Gallery first exhibited Forsyth’s photographs in 1981, since then the Welsh-born photographer’s images have become a significant and indispensable document of the environment around Newcastle’s Scotswood Road. Classic Street Style: Weegee, Doisneau, Forsyth is at Side Gallery, Newcastle until Sunday 9th October.




Cri du Canard by Elly Lucas



Words: Lee Fisher Although The Cumberland Arms’ big anniversary fortnight is sadly over, there’s scarcely any let-up in their activities. September means Ouseburn Folk Festival, run alongside but separately from the pub by Isiobel Stewart and Jo Hodson. This year it’s taking place over four days from Thursday 15th until Sunday 18th September, things kicking off with a show from lauded folk/bluegrass artist Ana Silvera. Support comes from the magnificent Yakka Doon, with her ‘oak-aged heartcraft from the pit-scarred heathland of County Durham’. Friday begins with a family ceilidh hosted by Ruth Brown and Nathan Armstrong which starts at 5.30pm, runs for an hour and is completely free. That’s followed by a terrace performance from Colibri Cobra, a local collective playing various forms of traditional music from Colombia and Brazil. On Saturday, there’s a Singing For Children

session at midday with Becky Graham, before an evening line-up including local folk collective Pons Aelius, new trio Cri du Canard, who work with the French folk dance repertoire, and Heather Ferrier, the Stockport-born but Newcastle-based accordionist and clog dancer. And finally, Sunday sees the Autumn iteration of The Season Of Song series from Will and Rosie. There will be harmony singing workshops in the afternoon to prepare for a concert that evening, followed by a singaround. Ouseburn Folk Festival takes place at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle from Thursday 15th until Sunday 18th September.



Words: James Barker Pitched as “Americana country rock with a Kate Bush edge”, Anna Ash is all that and more. The Los Angeles-based Michigan-born singersongwriter released her fourth album, Sleeper, earlier this year to rave reviews and is returning for her second UK tour this month, pitching up at Middlesbrough Base Camp on Thursday 8th

and Newcastle’s Globe on Friday 9th September. Ash’s music works across many different genres: folk, rock, jazz, Americana and country, and wields them all into her unique sound. At centre stage is her voice, both tender and soaring. Yet Sleeper is also a richly lyrical album – her songs capture life’s shifting emotions: having regrets but moving forward; dealing with loss (both large and small), but still living in the moment. Never staying in one mood (or tempo) for too long, Ash’s music explores the full range of human emotions. This is music you can just get lost in: the voice, the melodies, the storytelling, and the perfect music for an intimate venue like The Globe. In Newcastle, Ash will be joined by local musician Bridie Jackson, whose voice the Guardian described as ‘remarkable... beautiful yet haunting’. Jackson previously achieved success with her band The Arbour and more recently worked on the community project Unsung Heroes using folk song to tell the untold stories of people in Northumberland. Anna Ash performs at Base Camp, Middlesbrough on Thursday 8th and The Globe, Newcastle on Friday 9th September.



The Death of Anna Mann by Linda Blacker



Words: Lizzie Lovejoy Colin Hoult presents a funny and existential show at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle on Thursday 29th September, with the long-awaited return of the character Anna

Mann. Though perhaps not for long, as the show is themed around her death! Anna Mann is a critically acclaimed actress and singer, as well as a welder, just in case a career change is called for. After a hiatus of five years, she takes to the stage to tell the tale of her life, from the beginning until the bitter end, which is where this show is set. Expect one hour of discussion about life, death and all of the pieces that fill the space inbetween, Anna Mann is not only designed for hilarity but also for self-reflection. This fantastical character exists to be incredibly real

for the entire audience for the show’s duration. After working on Ricky Gervais’ hit TV show After Life, it’s easy to see how Colin Hoult has blended the lines of the morbid and the comedic. Join him as Anna Mann to learn about her life story in depth, as well as reflect a little bit about your own. Who says that introspection and laughter don’t go together? Colin Hoult: The Death of Anna Mann is at The Stand, Newcastle on Thursday 29th September.

KWAME ASAFO-ADJEI / SPOKEN MOVEMENT Saturday 10 September, 7:30pm 20 | 0191 261 0505


Luke James Williams


Durham on Saturday 17th and The Engine Room, North Shields on Sunday 18th September.

LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS @ CLAYPATH DELI/THE MUSIC ENGINE ROOM CHLOE CASTRO @ BOBIK’S Words: Matt Young Returning to the region for a couple of gigs in September at Durham’s Claypath Deli and The Engine Room in North Shields, Luke James Williams showcases his beautifully constructed debut album, Our Blood Is Red. A self-described indie folk party pooper, Williams’ distinctly English vocals actually blend raw, heart breaking tones with gentle sensitivity – think Sufjan Stephens or Nick Drake singing PJ Harvey, and you’ve got some idea. He has a knack for picking phrases and melodies that stay in the mind and fix in the psyche like snapshot memories you’d swear you share too. That gift for latching into a collective experience adds further poignancy to a rich vein of material. Mixing light and dark perfectly, the ugly rubs up against the beautiful but also sweeps in with a grand, soaring pop sensibility at times too, definitely a voice to hear live. Support for both gigs comes in the form of local artists, Durham’s own harmony laden duo FAWNS and Hartlepool hailing Jasmine Weatherill with her lushly melodic folk both feature at Claypath Deli on Saturday 17th, with Jasmine playing another support stint along with North Shields singer/songwriter Aaron Duff’s full band project Hector Gannet adding their atmospheric North East life via Manchester Orchestra’s musical tinged tones at The Engine Room on Sunday 18th September. Luke James Williams plays Claypath Deli,

Words: Ben Lowes-Smith Born in London and now based in the North East, British-Brazilian artist Chloe Castro began writing songs aged 11. After dropping out of school early and working as a waitress, Chloe took her vocals out of the bedroom and pursued her dreams of studying music before going on to reach the Quarter Finals of The Voice UK 2016. She has since been working alongside producer and co-writer Jake Karno to nurture a sound which infuses elements of R&B, trap and soul to create a fresh sound that is all her own. Chloe’s highly original vocals blend luscious melodies and strikingly raw lyrical content to draw you in and clear the way for a new artist in your favourites. After her 2019 single Drunk was picked up and featured on BBC Radio 1 by Huw Stephens, Chloe self-released her debut EP AMID in October 2020 and received radio play from DJ Target on BBC 1XTRA and multiple local stations. Chloe brings her trap-influenced music to Bobik’s on Saturday 3rd September, alongside Mathias Skye, who presents his unique blend of R&B, hip-hop and acoustic music, plus a set from soul singer Maxine. Chloe Castro, Mathias Skye and Maxine play Bobik’s, Newcastle on Saturday 3rd September.


FESTIVAL OF THRIFT @ KIRKLEATHAM MUSEUM Words: Laura Doyle It’s hard to believe that we’ve had ten years of the Festival of Thrift, yet here we are celebrating this landmark event. The last weekend in September will once again see Kirkleatham Museum taken over by thrifters seeking their fill of workshops, market stalls, and entertainment all following the thought-provoking theme of Our Common Wealth. Festival attendees are invited to go beyond the theme’s financial definition and explore what we have in common throughout our rich, but often forgotten, shared cultural heritage as citizens of Planet Earth. Seek new skills with one of the festival’s many affordable (and often free) workshops, including crafting with ceramics, textiles, wood and many more sustainable materials to learn more about living with a smaller environmental impact. Between sessions, seek out some of the festival’s entertainment options and enjoy a variety of performances from comedy concerning the climate crisis, a fashion show featuring designs sourced from recycled materials put together by fashion students across the country, to family friendly dance sessions. And between it all, there’s the opportunity to relax and indulge in the fine cuisines supplied by local vendors. Festival of Thrift takes place at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September.





Words: Ben Lowes-Smith After a very successful tour last Autumn that saw nearly 500 refugee audience members and multiple sell-outs across the UK, Northern Stage welcomes a brand new version of All The Beds I Have Slept In to Stage 2 on Thursday

8th-Friday 9th September, featuring a new refugee cast from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Morocco. Using a simple set of just a bed on stage, the play recalls the hundreds of beds the actors have slept in on their journeys from their homelands to the UK. It explores the kindness of strangers who offered help, from a guard in a Greek detention centre to a passenger at a train station who shared a room in his house; these are the real people who kept the actors moving forward. It also tells the fictional story of Sameer (Syed Haleem Najibi) and Youssof (Mohamad Aljasem) created out of hundreds of

refugee experiences we’ve heard. First meeting in a foster home in London they stay best friends, only Sameer has Right to Remain and Youssof doesn’t, so their lives take very different paths. All The Beds I Have Slept In uses Phosphoros theatre’s trademark wit and energy to reveal the intimacy created between friends when family is absent, and how to stay hopeful in a world that isn’t fair. All The Beds I Have Slept In is at Northern Stage, Newcastle on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September.








Maisie Adam by Matt Crockett



MAISIE ADAM @ ARC/ INDEPENDENT THE STAND CELEBRATE THEIR 16TH BIRTHDAY   Words: Cameron Wright There’s a chaotic charm to Maisie Adam which is undeniably infectious. A Mock The Week alumni, Adam has blazed her way into the comedy scene in the most spectacular way. With hilarious moments on QI, The Last Leg and Would I Lie To You, the comedian is uniquely joyful and entrancing with her every appearance. Drenched in a distinctly Northern veneer, the Best Newcomer Award nominee and Amused Moose National New Comic Award winner has been entrancing a growing fan base with her clumsy and boisterous brand of immediately accessible and persistently relatable anecdotes, which leave audiences cringing and cackling with equal measure. On her latest tour, Buzzed, she is shining with all her might. Addressing her infamous haircut, the lockdown, her engagement and all the things that have her buzzed, the comic brings the tour to Stockton’s ARC on Friday 23rd September and later rocks up at Newcastle’s Stand Comedy Club on Thursday 6th October. With a contagious energy that oozes from every fibre, Adam effortlessly ensnares an audience and delivers a riveting showcase of storytelling, craftsmanship and comedy. Offset by a jaunty swagger and approachable demeanour, Maisie Adam is one of comedy’s brightest stars. Maisie Adam performs at ARC, Stockton on Friday 23rd September and The Stand, Newcastle on Thursday 6th October.

Words: Jake Anderson Saturday 3rd September 2022 marks the 16th birthday of Independent, a cornerstone of the Sunderland music scene. The venue has hosted some of the best gigs in the region over its lifespan, and the excellent team behind the venue are planning on celebrating in style with an evening featuring some fan favourite regulars for free.   The celebration will include a perfect mix of singer-songwriter heart pullers and indie rock head bobbers. Kicking off with Lottie Willis, who will perform personal ballads over piano-based melodies, there’s also poppy sounds from Bodacious (aka CP Thompson); the raw rock and roll of Casual Threats; retro-influenced vibes from Club Paradise; Elizabeth Liddle’s soft vocal and lovely storytelling; wistful tunes from Eve Cole and loud and confident rock ‘n’ rollers Ten Eighty Trees. If you’re still wanting to dance your socks off (although we do recommend your socks should remain on), DJ WFN, VIP LOUGHLIN and Ben Deacon will be DJing a mix of classic and modern bangers through Indie’s three rooms post-10pm.   Independent in Sunderland celebrate their 16th birthday on Saturday 3rd September with sets from Ten Eighty Trees, Lottie Willis, Eve Cole, Club Paradise, Casual Threats, Elizabeth Liddle and Bodacious.



Words: Michael O’Neill Live Theatre’s forthcoming productions of Your Voice, Your Future are a tantalising prospect: eight plays by eight writers and one question: what is the future we want for ourselves and how might the world be reimagined? To get some answers to that question, Live Theatre sought out a cohort of emerging writers/artists from the North East, and found Lydia Brickland, Miles Kinsley, Lizzie Lovejoy, Fleur Nixon, Nic O’Keeffe, Susannah Ronnie, Jenni Winter and Jack Young, who have each been commissioned to create, as the theatre’s creative producer Graeme Thompson states: “stories that reflect a contemporary North East and its future, [providing] a glimpse into life today and a boldly imagined future.” And boy, have they delivered! From Thursday 15th-Sunday 18th September, Your Voice, Your Future takes in prospects as broad as eventful lunch breaks, cabaret, the prospect of a wall dividing England and Scotland, free speech, labels, the rise and fall of a Northern Prime Minister, the pains of coming of age and the emotional journey of returning home after a sore break-up. It’s eclectic, enthralling and a glorious showcase of the wonderfully diverse and fresh talent that the region’s producing. Your Voice, Your Future is at Live Theatre, Newcastle from Thursday 15th-Sunday 18th September.



Coach Party by Hattie Neate



Words: Hope Lynes Taking over the Georgian Theatre just as they’ve taken over this year’s festival season, Coach Party bring their infectious indie sound to Stockton on Sunday 11th September. With appearances across the UK over the summer at the likes of Y Not, Truck and Tramlines, this really feels like Coach Party’s moment. New releases such as Weird Me Out cement a sound for the indie rockers, perfectly blending rock, indie and pop punk into a sound that defines the four-piece, managing to be both nostalgic of the 00’s and refreshing to listen to. Previous tracks such as FLAG (Feel Like A Girl) bring a feminist edge to the band’s lyrics, with lyrics like “wanna hurt you bad just like how you hurt me” reminiscent of the social commentary-style songwriting of the likes of Dream Wife. The band share a record label with Wolf Alice and their influence is felt in Coach Party’s style. The gig is part of the national Revive Live tour, created by Music Venue Trust and The National


Lottery to support independent venues like The Georgian Theatre, as the continuing effects of the pandemic are still being felt. For audiences, this means tickets are subsidised and are ‘buy one get one free’. Support comes from songwriter, multiinstrumentalist and alt. rock producer Soren Bryce under her Tummyache moniker. Coach Party and Tummyache play The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Sunday 11th September.


CATHEDRAL OF COMEDY: PHIL WANG @ NEWCASTLE CATHEDRAL Words: Cameron Wright Kicking off its debut with panel show royalty David O’Doherty, Cathedral of Comedy at St Nicholas Cathedral welcomed an electric night of hilarity from a range of comics, showcasing local talent as well as some of the circuit’s biggest names. On Saturday 24th September the Newcastle landmark will embrace another hilarious night of comedy which also includes a spectacular

line-up. Regular attendants of The Stand will already be well acquainted with Newcastle’s comedy mainstay Hal Branson, who has made quite the name for himself over the years as a hilarious MC. As Branson guides you through the night, Cathedral of Comedy supplies a range of exciting acts, showcasing some of the North’s finest comedy chops such as Lauren Pattison and Anja Atkinson, alongside a myriad of eye-catching up and comer’s like Stephen Bailey. Headlining the night is Phil Wang who, fresh from the success of his Netflix special, has been making the nation roar with laughter through his awkward and self-effacing humour. The entertainment doesn’t stop there though, as alongside an eclectic range of comics punters can also enjoy street food from FAB Bakery and Big Fat Donut Co alongside a fully stocked bar. Let the hilarity commence! Cathedral of Comedy featuring Phil Wang, Stephen Bailey, Lauren Pattison, Anja Atkinson and Hal Branson takes place at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle on Saturday 24th September.



MUSH @ POP RECS LTD. Words: Laura Doyle Some people just find inspiration around every corner, and art rock ensemble Mush are a fine example of this given that their latest record Down Tools is their third full-length release in as many years. Granted, they’ve not been left wanting since their inception in 2015, with a particularly tumultuous political and social

landscape from which they have been able to reap their stories. But at least the previous twelve months haven’t been a complete write-off, giving us a new album with some semblance of a positive vibe. The twang-tastic, twisting grooves of lead single Get On Yer Soapbox sounds like what would happen if you put the DeLorean in a blender and, as a band known for their improvisational approach to music making, it’s unlikely that any live rendition will be a carbon-copy of the recorded version. That doesn’t

matter, though, because it will still be mint. The band pull up at Sunderland’s Pop Recs Ltd on Friday 30th September, where support comes from Wearside lads Roxy Girls. It’s all been a bit quiet in their corner for the past few months, but with a new drummer in place and a rise in support slots on the horizon, it might be time to see some new material coming from the punctual punks soon enough. Mush and Roxy Girls play Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland on Friday 30th September.



01/07/08/13/22/28/29 BONGO’S BINGO




( E A R LY S H O W )






ISY SUTTIE @ THE STAND Words: Adelle Sutheran Funny lass Isy Suttie tours with her new show, Jackpot, in which she’ll regale audiences with stories of thrill seeking and attempts to reframe the hilarities of motherhood and married life. Now she’s got children of her own and a partner who detests surprises, in her return to live stand-up the Peep Show star asks whether

it’s enough to try and find that buzz on mums’ weekends away or on family walks in the woods, and quite why she continues to hunt for it at all costs. Visiting Newcastle’s Stand Comedy Club on Tuesday 20th September, Suttie’s irrepressible charm and easy audience rapport is a boon indeed, and her career so far has been bang on trend for all things funny. Whether you’ve seen her as Dobby in Channel 4’s Peep Show, Esther in Shameless, Ally in Man Down, or on Would I Lie To You, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Hypothetical or Q.I., it’ll come as no

Image by MattCrockett surprise that Suttie has been nominated for three British Comedy Awards and won a gold Sony Award for her BBC Radio 4 series Isy Suttie’s Love Letters. Furthermore the paperback of her acclaimed second book, Jane Is Trying, was released in spring 2022, further proving that while her thrill seeking days may be over, her career is as riveting as ever. Isy Suttie is at The Stand, Newcastle on Tuesday 20th September.



SAT U R DAY 2 2 N D OC T stockton




Blue Orchids



Words: Laura Doyle Starting up a band is one thing – picking out a name for your musical ensemble is another thing entirely. It’s lucky for Blue Orchids that they had acclaimed punk poet John Cooper Clarke to advise the start-up Mancunians on theirs all the way back in 1979 – even if a founding member misremembered “blessed” for “blue” – but no matter, because the name they settled on has become renowned in post-punk circles for generations. Over the course of their 40+ year career, there have been a few starts and stops where life got in the way of music-making. But despite line-up changes and fluctuating productivity Blue Orchids persisted, and they’ll bring their show to Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social Club on Saturday 24th September. They’ve performed alongside the likes of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Velvet Underground’s Nico, and the ripples of their influence has been felt throughout the underground punk scene. The one constant throughout Blue Orchids’ rises and falls is original vocalist Martin Bramah, whose musical vision continues in latest release, Angus Tempus Memoirs. It harks back to the hazy psychedelia of Blue Orchids’ very first record The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), but with a reinvented sound ready for post-punk’s next wave. Let Blue Orchids be your inspiration to prove that it’s never too late to hit your stride. Blue Orchids play Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Saturday 24th September.



Words: Michael O’Neill It’s the Grainger Market, but not as you know it! Newcastle’s iconic market has gained something of a second life in the last few years as a prime destination for fantastic scran and local merchants, proving that there’s still plenty of demand for an alternative experience to the more chain-oriented, corporate sprawl that has engulfed the city centre elsewhere. Inspired by the likes of downtown Boston’s Faneuil Hall and London’s Brixton Market, The Great Market Caper looks to take Grainger Market’s offerings one step further, transforming it into a 2,000-capacity venue boasting great street food, excellent bars, live music and DJs, and a wide programme of other novel entertainment. The Capers will run on the first Saturday of every month from 6pm til midnight, with guest food vendors operating alongside the market’s current mainstays, salsa maestro Chris Pendleton providing free lessons to all comers, comedians from Whitley Bay’s celebrated Felt Nowt, and a line-up of live music and DJs. Saturday 3rd September will see musical performances from the likes of indie folk artist Zac Younger Banks and Gateshead songwriter Hannah Robinson, plus comedy from Gavin Webster, David Hadingham and Rachel Jackson. It’s a welcome addition to the Toon’s cultural happenings, especially given the recent losses we have experienced in the city centre’s creative community. So, with that in mind.. long may the Capers continue!

The Great Market Caper takes place at Grainger Market, Newcastle on Saturday 3rd September.



Words: Lee Fisher If you watched a nature or travel documentary in the eighties or nineties you’ll definitely have heard the music of the Penguin Café Orchestra, but don’t hold that against them. Born from a literal fever-dream, the original PCO saw Simon Jeffes and a truly stellar line-up record a series of truly lovely albums, pulling in elements of chamber music, neo-classical, ambient, minimalism, African, folk and more. PCO ended with Jeffes’ passing in 1997 but around a decade later Jeffes’ son Arthur picked up the baton with Penguin Café, who operate in a similar but distinctive soundworld to the original incarnation and have released a handful of albums (mostly on Erased Tapes). This year they re-released their debut proper, A Matter Of Life, in slightly amended form and are going on tour to promote it. The tour arrives at Sage Gateshead on Friday 23rd September for a show in Hall Two that is bound to be a gently repetitive delight. Penguin Café play Sage Gateshead on Friday 23rd September.



Wrest by Trash Panda, Craig Robertson



Words: Matt Young Imagine if you will you’re a hotly tipped new Scottish band called Wrest. Freshly minted, delivering indie rock that invites comparisons, in the national press and overseas, to beloved bands like Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild and The National. You put out your debut album, Coward of Us All, in 2019 and tour Europe to acclaim and sold out shows. You’re declared Scotland’s best new band and everything is building towards bigger and better things. Then you can’t tour for almost 18 months. The pandemic hit every band and venue hard of course, but it seems particularly cruel for those just connecting with an audience. Thankfully this foursome rode out the storm and recorded a brand new album, End All The Days in the interim. Wrest began touring again last year and it’s here they showcase their soaring, poetic and occasionally unruly songs best. Songs like Kingdom and Second Wind sound ferocious, barely tethered at times, whilst nestled amongst more reflective material, all of it able to hold you spellbound. However lengthy the wait has been to catch Wrest play live again, existing fans and the scores of new ones to follow will undoubtedly feel it’s worth it at their Georgian Theatre gig on Saturday 17th September. They’re a band capable of reaching the highest heights with a fair wind, and their chiming anthems in waiting are there to be sung by massed crowds. Wrest play The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Saturday 17th September.




Words: Dawn Storey It’ll be third time lucky for Fay Hield’s show at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 10th September following two pandemic postponements, but finally she will bring songs from her most recent album, Wrackline, to a Gateshead audience and regale them with her musical tales of magic and myth, storms and selkies. The evening forms part of a Storytellers series of performances (also featuring Loudon Wainwright, Kate Rusby, Eddie Reader and more) which run from September until December at the venue and which promise magical sounds and storytelling, both of which feature on Fay’s new album in abundance. Alongside her own interpretations of traditional tales, her fifth release features some of her own songs for the first time. One of the most interesting folk musicians of recent years – Fay has a PhD and a day job as a lecturer in ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield – she will be accompanied by multi-instrumentalists and long-time bandmates Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron on fiddle, guitar, concertina and more. With her newest release including both light-hearted and darker subject matter, it promises to be an intriguing evening as she explores and enchants with her distinctive voice and her tales of otherworldly spirits and fairies. Fay Hield performs at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 10th September.


THE HANDSOME FAMILY @ SAGE GATESHEAD Words: Lee Fisher We live in a world where The Handsome Family’s breakthrough song Far From Any Road has been used by Guns’N’Roses as walk-on music. This is remarkable both because, well, what the fuck? And also because this ‘breakthrough’ happened twenty years and around ten albums into a career that saw them adored and feted by a few but not exactly household names. Which is a disgrace of global proportions, because Brett and Rennie Sparks have been writing and performing some of the most singular and affecting music around for three decades now. What they do is Gothic country-folk, if you’re being reductionist, but it’s a music that’s full of melancholy and wonder, frogs and ghosts, broken machinery and damaged hearts. And their live performances – either as a duo or with a guest or two – are unique and glorious. So it’s very good indeed that they’re heading back to the British Isles for a lengthy tour that will bring them to Sage Gateshead’s Hall Two on Friday 9th September. They’re not promoting a new release – although apparently that’ll happen next year – but any Handsome Family gig is an event in itself. The Handsome Family play Sage Gateshead on Friday 9th September.




Words: Laura Doyle When you have two left feet, seeing someone tell as intricate a story as the one found in Kwame Asafo-Adjei’s award winning performance Family Honour is spellbinding and mind-boggling. It was originally

performed as a duet to critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Danse Élargie in 2018. Now, it will be shown in an expanded form across the country to spread its provocative question, how far would you go to uphold your family values? On Saturday 10th September Dance City plays host to the Spoken Movement company, who blend contemporary dance styles with a range of musical genres to push the boundaries of hip-hop theatre. Company leader Kwame Asafo-Adjei infuses his lived experiences as a dance artist with a Ghanian background into

his work to share with his audience his perspectives on social tensions that make up the day-to-day for so many. Family Honour is confrontational and thought-provoking, but ultimately might be only 60 minutes out of your day should you seek it out. Remember that what this show represents, while entertainment for some, is the reality for many. Family Honour is performed at Dance City, Newcastle on Saturday 10th September.






Tiwiza, who play Allen Valleys Folk Festival



Words: Michael O’Neill Now in its ninth year, the Allen Valleys Folk Festival is returning to Allendale in Northumberland with what promises to be yet another eclectic and enthralling line-up of artists from all over the globe from Friday 23rd-Sunday 25th September. After being an online-only festival (for obvious reasons) in 2020 and 2021, the festival is returning to the eponymous valleys for a three-day celebration of music, dance and heritage, taking place in a selection indoor venues including The King’s Head, The Golden Lion, the Village Hall and the picturesque St Cuthbert’s Church. As always, the festival promises a broad line-up; festival chairman Peter Aldcroft tells us more: “[The festival boasts] broad appeal with a mix of styles from traditional folk to world music. Saturday headliners include Tiwiza, a band steeped in African tradition but with a modern, driving rock spirit, and Balkan Hot Club, whose pulsating style has been wooing festival goers throughout the UK.” Headliners also include acts such as BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners The Rheingans Sisters (Saturday) and popular Scottish outfit Talisk (Sunday). Other artists to look forward to include Diddley Squat, Belta Reivers, Brothers Gillespie, Claire Hastings, George Welch & Christine Jeans and Chris Ormston among others. You hardly need much of an excuse to visit the beautiful surroundings of Northumberland, but this sure is a fine excuse at that! Allen Valleys Folk Festival takes place at various venues in Allendale from Friday

23rd-Sunday 25th September.



Words: Michael O’Neill After a challenging couple of years for the industry, it’s been heartening to see so many iconic festivals finally making a full comeback this summer. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the fun was all over with the impending summer’s end, but Hartlepool’s legendary Folk Festival is making a long overdue full comeback after an understandably challenging two years. From Friday 30th September-Sunday 2nd October the festival will return to its previous multi-venue form, with the main stage returning to the 1200-capacity Borough Hall, and shows also being played at the nearby Royal Museum of the Royal Navy, and even on board the HMS Trincomalee (the oldest war ship in Europe!). As always, the line-up is a staggering who’s-who of the burgeoning folk universe, with headliners including Edward II, Flook, Urban Folk Quarter, Daoirí Farrell, Melrose Quartet, Urban Folk Quartet, Hannah James & Toby Kuhn, Nick Hart, Sam Carter, The Shackleton Trio, Sam Baxter, Ríoghnach Connolly and Banter, alongside a staggeringly extensive selection of other artists, and entertainment including plays, interactive workshops, dance events and even cabaret! Hartlepool Folk Festival takes place from Friday 30th September-Sunday 2nd October at various venues in Hartlepool.



Words: Jake Anderson Six-piece ensemble The Goa Express are rocking their way through their leg of the Revive Live UK Tour which will take them to Stockton’s iconic Georgian Theatre on Thursday 8th September. The band released a new single earlier in the year, titled Everybody In The UK.  The track tackles a subject all young people relate to; growing up, and how it’s okay to not want to. The track follows the new wave of heartland rock coming from the indie scene, blending the two into a guitar-driven, up-tempo, instantly chant-able banger. Having six members has given the band a lot of freedom with each song’s sound, resulting in a kaleidoscopic sound with each instrument popping through the mix. This special tour isn’t for any release, but rather a part of the national scheme by the Music Venue Trust and National Lottery Fund to help support independent music scenes and venues. As a part of the scheme, ticket bundles are available for National Lottery players in which gig-goers get a free plus one, so you can take your favourite gig buddy or that mate who urgently needs to update their playlists! The Goa Express play the Georgian Theatre in Stockton on Thursday 8th September.



ROB HERON & THE TEA PAD ORCHESTRA THE TEA PAD ORCHESTRA WEREN’T ALONE IN USING THE LOCKDOWN AS A TIME TO REFLECT ON THEIR FUTURE, BUT AS ROB HERON EXPLAINS TO LEE FISHER, THEY SEEM TO HAVE EMERGED NEWLY INVIGORATED AND FULL OF IDEAS IMAGE BY AMELIA READ The cover of the new Tea Pad Orchestra album features front man Rob Heron in rodeo clown make-up and western threads looking morose amidst the dregs of a party. The bunting behind him spells out The Party Is Over and you could wonder if they’re trying to tell us something. “Originally the song was just about not going home after a party and feeling crap, and obviously lots of the songs are about booze


anyway.” Heron explains. “But I thought it would it be fun to make people wonder if it was going to be our last album, to raise that question. Or is it because some of us have had children? Whether it’ll actually be our last record, I don’t know – I thought the last one was going to be. Also, I wanted a photo cover, our albums have always had cartoon covers. One night I was half-asleep and dreaming and had the image in my head of



me dressed as a clown.” The Party Is Over grew out of lockdown in a curious way, the title track originally recorded for a solo EP Heron released. “I’d always wanted to re-record it so if I hadn’t written it in lockdown, we might never have recorded another album. It’s the only song I had ready. I’d kind of thought that a solo adventure might be worthwhile after lockdown but then missed playing gigs with the band…” Wanting a new album to accompany a tour was another more practical incentive. Heron admits he can only write on a deadline. “When we had the studio booked, I panicked, started writing a song a week and it gets easier. I can’t be bothered to finish half-baked songs so they end up as notes and might get used later, even squashed together with other bits. But the best songs, I think, were the ones I literally wrote the week before recording. A Call To Mother’s Arms was written about half an hour before going into the studio.” I wondered if Heron worked up arrangements with the band, but it seems he has them fully formed in his head. “Obviously new things will come out of playing it together. Ted [Harbot, bass player] actually has a lot of strong ideas in the studio.” And did he have a clear idea about the sound going in? “I knew I wanted to have no songs that had the classic Tea Pad chord progression in it, that goes UM-DEH-UM-DEH-UMDEH-UM-DEH, like a major key ragtime thing, I wanted it to be more minor key, more country, less twee. Less of the bow-tie


wearing, vintage tea dance style that we might have been mistaken for ten years ago.” The band have always been creative in the way they’ve evolved, each new album harking back to previous releases to satisfy long-time fans, but always adding something new. This time there’s the full-on folk of A Call To Mother’s Arms (“I’m a bit worried about that one scaring off the rockabillies!”) and the first single, She Hypnotised Me, a proper R&B stomper that’s coming out as a 7” with a James Brown-style funk B-side. And they clearly had a lot of fun with The Horse That You Rode In On, another song written at the last minute. “What makes that song is just the whole feel, the guitar and the whip sound, every Morricone cliché possible – without those elements it’s not that great a song but it turned out really well.” Recorded at Blank with John Martindale, the album uses guests more prominently than before. Ruth Lyon (Holy Moly & The Crackers) plays a big part in both singles – “she really nailed her two songs, made them really different” – and House Of The Black Gardenia added some New Orleans second-line flavour to closing track The Doctor Told Me. I wondered if Heron considered making another album in completely one style but he’s not sure. “Part of me would love the band to sound more like She Hypnotised Me but a whole album of that could get boring too. I like that we can do that, then a weird country song, then a zydeco one…” The Autumn sees the band touring the UK, ending up with a special Christmas show at Newcastle’s Cluny on Saturday 17th December, a show that will feature as many album guests as possible and a few surprises. “I still get excited about touring – especially in Europe, it’s like a holiday. Touring in the UK in the Autumn, staying in Travelodges, how good can it be, but if the gigs are great it’s still fun. And I think these gigs are all going to be great.” The Party Is Over is released by Tea Pad Recordings on 30th September. The band play The Forum Music Centre in Darlington on Friday 7th October and The Cluny, Newcastle on Saturday 17th December.




Image by picturesbybish

DONALD JENKINS LIZZIE LOVEJOY TALKS TO THE SPOKEN WORD ARTIST ABOUT HIS TRANSITION INTO HIP-HOP ON HIS DEBUT EP Words carry power in every medium. Donald Jenkins has previously explored this through spoken word, but now is branching out into rap and hip-hop. This new journey comes in the form of a soon to be released EP, entitled Late Bloomer, in which he discusses age, the culture of his genre and the politics of our future. “There’s an ongoing discussion in hip-hop about whether or not it’s an ‘old’ person’s game, whether it’s acceptable to have a 30 or a 40 year old rapper.” Donald commented when discussing his own journey into music. “It’s uncommon for someone my age [44] to start rapping… So [describing myself as a Late Bloomer] is just me kind of pre-empting that. But hopefully, I come with some life experience and I’ve got something to say as a result of it.” Donald explains why he tackles the subject of our future on his EP. “I’m concerned about how we’re breeding generations of people who seem totally disengaged from the political process. We are split into different groups, and we’re arguing over identity politics, but we find very little common ground to unite us…None can agree on what is real. I feel that we need to be more politically aware, but at the same time, it’s also about me as well. I have to acknowledge that it’s okay and fair enough for me to argue and move on.” As an artist who creates music in the hip-hop genre, Donald continues to break down why he does not consider himself part



of contemporary hip-hop culture. “People need to be aware, if they’re going to be a part of hip-hop culture, they should also have some idea of the roots, acknowledge its root as a Black music form that people like me are in a position of privilege to be part of.” Donald’s music not only carries the consistent and smooth beat typical of hip-hop, but also electronic sounding elements reminiscent of retro gaming, creating a blended genre of electric rap. One thing not lost throughout the rhythm of his words is his Geordie accent, which adds local familiarity to the worries he shares lyrically. Some may already be familiar with Donald as the initiator of spoken word night Born Lippy. He discusses the transition into rap: “I just love words! I got involved in spoken word about 15 years ago, and discovered another thing in addition to hip-hop. I’ve always listened to hip-hop and when I first started doing spoken word I saw myself as possibly trying to do rap, although not very well and not very good! It was mostly about adapting and changing something to reach a new audience that might not engage with my poetry. “It was a learning curve, because it is different, there’s a lot of different skills involved. Spoken word is all about long pauses and breaks, whereas rap is a lot faster when you’re trying to fit within structures of beat. It’s been a great exploration of extending my own ability as someone who loves manipulating words, looking at how that can be expanded.” Donald Jenkins launches his debut EP, Late Bloomer, at Zerox in Newcastle on Friday 9th September with support from Kema Kay, HB, Tom 23 and DJs Pegz and Riddla.



Image by Moments Photography North East

ELIZABETH LIDDLE CAMERON WRIGHT TALKS TO THE NORTH EAST SONGWRITER ABOUT DRAWING ON HER PASSIONS TO PRODUCE HER REMARKABLE DEBUT EP “All music is inspired by something. Every artist is inspired by something before them, everyone’s been touched by music somehow.” Looking back through the thick tapestry of music in order to stand on the shoulders of giants, Elizabeth Liddle is the North East’s newest answer for anyone clambering for a taste of a bygone era, quipping that “moving with the times may be good, but being yourself is essential, I’m completely raised on ‘that’ so it’s what I am.” ‘That’ is the sound of the 70s. The delicate vocals of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the supple melodies of Simon and Garfunkel, and the devastating honesty of Joni Mitchell all trickle into the pool of inspiration that Liddle is born from. “Every year my Auntie would buy me a few albums from the history books that would strike a chord with me, be it Bob Dylan or Jeff Buckley, and they would be on rotation for the rest of the year.” Forming the basic silhouette of her debut EP, Somewhere, this homage to 70s stylings produces a series of intimate, piano-driven tracks, revolving around Liddle’s pure and emotive vocals. Her influences are demonstrated in a multitude of ways, both directly and indirectly; the EP features the stunning bright tones of a Hammond organ, instantly catapulting the listener back through time, yet it’s the more subtle ways the era has inspired the artist that really texture the EP. “Writing about myself is terrifying. The whole process feels extremely vulnerable and exposed, but I know all my favourite artists have done it before me and it’s their honesty that resonates with


people to this day. Writing exactly what I was going through in that place and time, keeping it sincere and real, that storytelling is what the 70s is to me.” Following the release of Liddle’s EP in late August, the artist prepares for her headline slot at The Cluny 2 on Sunday 11th September. Promising an intimate experience, the singer once again looks to her heroes for inspiration. “If you’ve ever seen the beautiful Carole King concert from her living room, you’ll know what I’m going for! It’s going to be An Evening With Elizabeth Liddle. We’ll move through a mixture of different sounds, with a few tracks just me and my piano, as that’s how I write, but then also a number with my guitarist Billy Smith, as well as some featuring the full band. It’ll be a lovely, intimate night of music, I think despite growing crowds, that type of intimacy is something I always strive to maintain.” With every detail Liddle discusses, she exudes a giddy excitement. From depicting the EP’s cover art and its throng of Easter eggs hidden amongst it, to her upcoming music videos, concerts or vinyl releases, her enthusiasm is a testament to her passion and dedication for creating something as earnest, rich and ensnaring as the music that captivated her heart. Lighting up at the opportunity to dive down the various alleys of musical conversation, it is tangibly apparent that this is an artist making music from the heart, steeped in adoration and reverence for the building blocks she utilises in her sound. The delicate and affecting musical flare of Elizabeth Liddle’s Somewhere is a subtle affair that captures something special and shouldn’t be missed. Elizabeth Liddle plays The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Sunday 11th September. The Somewhere EP is out now.




L-R, T-B: Nicole Mitchell, Maniscalco Bigoni Solborg, Farida Amadou by Laurent Orseau, Taupe


WITH NEWCASTLE’S LAUDED JAZZ AND IMPROV FESTIVAL EXPANDING ONCE AGAIN THIS YEAR, LEE FISHER SPOKE TO FESTIVAL PRODUCER WESLEY STEPHENSON TO FIND OUT WHAT HE HAS IN STORE Festivals at all levels have obviously had a rough couple of years – some have been lost, others greatly diminished – and you have to tip your hat to those that are still doing things right. Like the Newcastle Festival Of Jazz & Improvised Music: born in 2017, there was a lockdown hiatus in 2020 (although this was an opportunity to set up a record label) and a necessarily slimmed down and UK-centric iteration last year. Producer Wesley Stephenson is the first to admit it’s been tough. “It’s hard at the moment, given the unpredictability of audiences and finance, but it’s always been hard since I started this line of work, so in some respects not much has changed, we remain resilient. You have to just improvise with the situation as it presents itself, do your very best, and what needs to transpire will inevitably do so.” This year the festival is back to full strength and running across two weekends – the ‘warm-up’ weekend from Friday 23rd-Sunday 25th September and then the main event on the weekend following. The warm-up shows are shifting from the festival’s traditional base at The Lit & Phil up to Jesmond, with an evening in St George’s Church and then two in Bobik’s. There are dozens of artists appearing across the two weekends, so I wondered if there was an organising ethos behind the bookings. “It’s all pretty much intuition,” Stephenson explains. “I tend to put a few artists I’m especially passionate about in place and then just start to build the events around them, the festival tells me what it wants to be, it’s probably more an oblique strategy than anything else.” Stephenson is particularly pleased to have booked artist, academic



and activist Nicole Mitchell. “I think having Nicole Mitchell at the festival is the unmissable opportunity for audiences, the former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). It’s deliberately positioning a brilliant creator within the wider context of the festival, to communicate the lineage of jazz and improvised music artistically, conceptually and geographically.” Mitchell will play twice – solo (Friday 30th) on a bill that also includes Emanuele Maniscalco, Francesco Bigoni and Mark Solborg playing as a trio and a quartet including Binker Golding, Alexander Hawkins, John Pope and Paul Hession, and then in a duo with Alexander Hawkins (Saturday 1st October). It’s tough picking highlights from a programme this strong but the performance at St George’s Church on Friday 23rd sounds intriguing: Pendulums: Music for Bellringers, Improvisers & Electronics sees seven artists, live visuals and some local bellringers creating something very special. The following night at Bobik’s has a strong local showing – the magnificent Archipelago joined by improvising guitarist SA Malley (Crane, The Unit AMA) and Glasgow’s excellent Taupe. Thursday 29th sees a strong bill headed up by Anthropology, an eight-piece collective featuring absolute legends Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas (both of whom appear in other guises across the weekend, including as Black Top with our very own Mariam Rezaei on Saturday 1st October). There are so many more great artists appearing solo or in combination – Pete Wareham, Binker Golding, Dilutey Juice, Farida Amadou and Leafcutter John, to name just five – so check out the online digital programme for the full rundown. The Newcastle Festival Of Jazz & Improvised Music takes place from Friday 23rd-Sunday 25th September and Thursday 29th September–Sunday 2nd October.





“Call me what you want! I’m a bloke in a frock. He/she/it/queen...” So begins my acquaintance with Monarchy, ‘clubland creature’, drag artist and the co-host of Base Camp’s brand new monthly Queer cabaret night, L!PSTICK. Monarchy speaks candidly about their journey, both in terms of their sexuality and their drag persona. “My character started in secret, I was occasionally dabbling with makeup at my best friend’s house at the age of 15, all while still presenting hyper masculine to the outside world, often scratching my crotch in an Adidas tracksuit and spitting on the playing field at the local park.” Having discovered legendary Middlesbrough club Tiny, and eventually finding the confidence to express themselves in drag, Monarchy met fine art student Leah Roberts, and a kinship was formed over their shared experiences. “Dance floors and drag dungeons are places where people find themselves and can escape the reality of life for a night.” Monarchy enthuses. Leah explains how hard she found it to be seen as a woman of colour in the art industry. “Setting up this experience with Monarchy has given me the chance to be able to spread my wings and express who I am as an individual! Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has opened my eyes up to feel supported within and finally have my very own chosen family!” After bonding over a shared passion for diverse nightlife, the duo decided to start up their own event, and L!PSTICK was born. “L!PSTICK is a big fat fucking Queer party for everyone. Not just middle aged white gay men and certainly not for straight stag-doers that just want to gawp at drag queens and make women who seek comfort in Queer spaces uncomfortable.” In L!PSTICK, Monarchy and Leah have created an alternative, diverse Queer rave in the heart of Middlesbrough, which will see not just drag performances but also live singers, spoken word poetry and all kinds of other art, with an open mic element to encourage anyone to have a go.

L!PSTICK IS A BIG FAT FUCKING QUEER PARTY FOR EVERYONE Monarchy reveals more about the debut event’s line-up: “Everybody loves Penni Tration, she’s a Drag Idol judge and will be our DJ and co-host for the main show, alongside myself. Celeste St Claire ‘The Queen of Hartlepool’ is one of the funniest girls about, she is a fab performer and is renowned for her death drops. We also have Loren Heatley – they aren’t a drag artist, they can ACTUALLY sing – Loren’s vocals are incredible. We’ll have some spoken word from Leah, her poetry is DEEP and emotional. Spoken word and poetry is something I feel like every show has room for, it’s a chance for people to feel moved and reflect on life. And there’s drag artist Jester Mess – Jester is what we are all about at L!PSTICK, a trans man and a drag artist isn’t a daily occurrence for many in the town, and this together is unheard of in our area; inclusivity is what we are about, and displaying all types of drag rather than just a big blonde bitch.” Monarchy and Leah’s passion for the event extends way beyond having a great time, and Monarchy describes the vital importance of access to spaces like this for the Queer community. “I am yet to meet a gay person who has not been affected or discriminated against in some way for their sexuality, and places like this provide us with freedom. My friends are so much more than people I see day to day, they are like a family, and that’s what we want L!PSTICK to be – not just a family, a tribe.” L!PSTICK takes place at Base Camp, Middlesbrough on Saturday 10th September.







L-R, T-B,: Amy Thatcher & Fran Knowles, Flook by Naoki Fujioka, Ryan Young, Tim Dalling

Beyond The Moor’s inaugural day-long event at Gosforth Civic Theatre will take place on Saturday 24th September and aims to showcase the best in contemporary folk music, locally and nationally. The event has been programmed by GCT’s Bernard Wright and Kari Macleod, both of whom have been active in the folk scene and met while studying on Newcastle University’s Folk & Traditional Music degree. Kari explains their desire to kickstart what they hope will be a regular event. “Newcastle, and the whole of the North East, is a region rich in culture and history; the songs and stories told by the folk and roots musicians it produces here reflect this. It’s an endless well of inspiration when you start digging into some of the traditional songs and music going back generations. It’s a lovely scene to be part of because not only is the music great, the people involved are some of the most welcoming and friendly folk you’ll ever meet. We just need more venues to keep booking and supporting the performers and storytellers to ensure this rich culture doesn’t die out.” “We were also conscious to keep the bill varied and diverse, showcasing a broad range of styles within the folk scene.” Bernard explains. “It was great to have the opportunity to bring in some established national acts and create a really exciting line-up.” Headlining the first ever edition of the festival will be RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 Folk award nominees Flook. Taking inspiration from their roots in the Irish and English traditions, Flook have an enviable trademark sound which weaves traditionally-rooted tunes over precise acoustic grooves, with a rare blend of fiery technical brilliance, delicate ensemble interaction and a bold, adventurous musical imagination. They are paired at the top of the bill with Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, one of the best-known and most experienced folk duos on the circuit. Outstanding musicianship, a lifelong grounding in traditional singing and instrumental playing, acclaimed original

IT’S AN ENDLESS WELL OF INSPIRATION WHEN YOU START DIGGING INTO SOME OF THE TRADITIONAL SONGS AND MUSIC GOING BACK GENERATIONS compositions and most noticeably a visceral chemistry between these two make Kerr and Fagan a perennial favourite. They’ll be joined on the line-up by Withered Hand, Ryan Young & David Foley, Holly & The Reivers, Amy Thatcher & Fran Knowles and Tim Dalling. Tim (who has been described as a cross between Led Zeppelin and Ivor Cutler) will also be leading a workshop enabling participants to explore new ways of generating song ideas. Gosforth Civic Theatre’s folk club gigs have seen an increase in popularity and there’s a tangible thirst for more platforms for contemporary folk and roots music in the region. Newcastle and the North East’s folk scene is strong and vibrant, and Beyond The Moor seeks to harness this by pairing it with genuine world class touring bands. Bernard explains that the venue isn’t just about great music. “GCT is run by disability arts charity Liberdade and our venue is a friendly, welcoming space. Community and accessibility are at the heart of the organisation. On the day we will have some delicious street food on offer alongside our usual cafe/bar, and of course it’s not a folk festival without some tasty craft beer and real ales.” Beyond The Moor festival takes place at Gosforth Civic Theatre on Saturday 24th September.




Matthew Evangelist portrait, Lindisfarne Gospels, c. 700 (Cotton MS Nero D IV) (c) British Library Board

THE LINDISFARNE GOSPELS STEVE SPITHRAY DISCOVERS CONTEMPORARY INVESTIGATIONS INTO CENTURIES OF HISTORY AS THE LINDISFARNE GOSPELS RETURN TO THE REGION The Lindisfarne Gospels are the most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon England and will go on display at Laing Art Gallery in September. Created on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, and on loan from the British Library, the book represents the golden age of design and craftsmanship in Northumbria. Video design specialists, NOVAK, have created an animated audio video installation that will immerse audiences within the stunning design of the manuscript and the environments that shaped the book’s creation. The Lindisfarne Gospels are presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne monastery in 698 and produced the Gospels around 715 believed to be in honour of St. Cuthbert. By 1066 the Gospels had found their way to Durham Cathedral before being removed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and eventually ending up in the British Museum then the British Library in 1973. NOVAK’s immersive digital experience will be the first gallery that visitors will encounter and will establish the wider context for the Gospels around its meaning in the world today and its relationship with themes of personal, regional and national identity. The installation aims to provide audiences with an experiential journey that transports them from the birthplace of the Gospels to the farthest shores of the Mediterranean. Adam Finlay, Studio Director at NOVAK is thrilled to be involved in such an inspiring display. “The manuscript is such an amazing example of devotion, design and craftsmanship, which embodies the very rich and expansive history of the North East of England but with connections far beyond the region. It is a great privilege to explore and interpret this fascinating story in a new and exciting way.” The exhibition will also include a stunning selection of early medieval treasures brought together from across Britain, representing both personal and collective religious experiences


NOVAK’S IMMERSIVE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE WILL ESTABLISH THE WIDER CONTEXT FOR THE GOSPELS AROUND ITS MEANING IN THE WORLD TODAY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THEMES OF PERSONAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY in the 8th Century. A selection of paintings, drawings and photographs will further explore how art and spirituality have developed in the centuries since the Lindisfarne Gospels were created. A highlight of the exhibition will be a new work by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, while a series of talks by the likes of Geoff Miller (Dean of Newcastle), NOVAK’s Adam Finlay, local historian John Woodhurst, artist Ruth Ewan and the British Library’s head of medieval manuscripts Dr Claire Breay amongst others will take place at the venue throughout the Autumn and will cover everything from the Gospels’ spiritual significance, the early history of the monastery and some behind the scenes detail about how the Gospels are displayed and curated from the Laing staff themselves. Elsewhere in the region a series of other events in association with the Laing display include In The Footsteps of Eadfrith at Art Block in Seaham, A Northumberland Menagerie by artist Bethan Maddocks at Hexham Old Gaol, artist Paul Rooney’s contemporary soundscape installation at Lindisfarne Castle and The Art of Words at St Mary’s Church on Holy Island with many more events throughout the region. The Lindisfarne Gospels will be on show at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle from Saturday 17th September-Saturday 3rd December.





Image by Ebru Yildiz

“Of course I write diss tracks…where else am I going to put my anger?” Experimental punk icon Shilpa Ray’s fourth album, Portrait Of A Lady, marks, in many ways, the beginning and the end of a personal journey through past abuse. Spurred on by wider discourses surrounding #MeToo and the Trump administration, Ray found herself being incessantly reminded of trauma from her past, which is especially true of her song Lawsuits And Suicide: “I wrote the song after reading an article about a famous guy that had been outed and one victim said that the man would text her all of the time threatening her with lawsuits or suicide. I remember in my 20s, when I was in an abusive relationship, the same line was given to me.” Ray’s quick to label it a diss track, pointed anger towards that man who tried to ruin her life. “You can’t express anger in most societies, there’s a lot of judgement on that. So how do you do it? How can you do it productively? I’ve got to put it somewhere.” A stronghold of hip-hop, Ray’s use of diss tracks is tied to her love for the frank specificity of the genre: “There’s something very benign about rock and indie rock – everyone seems to be having a great time and I don’t identify with that. I like to say things exactly as they are. Even with metal, they can be singing about flowers but it’s gruff so you just assume it’s angry. With hip-hop, the lyrics are very pointed.” Portrait Of A Lady is full of rage, glamour and weight, all encapsulated into curt and epochal songs which are titled spectacularly, ranging from Heteronormative Horseshit Blues to the seismic Manic Pixie Dream Cunt: “It’s crazy, all of the insane things that happen in the US and that’s the kind of word that’s censored?” Every track defies the amount of space possible for a song to take up, which Ray ascribes to her massive, and seemingly uncontainable, voice. However, it’s also down to the tropes and familiar ideas she pulls into her orbit; in Manic Pixie

EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE HAVING A GREAT TIME AND I DON’T IDENTIFY WITH THAT. I LIKE TO SAY THINGS EXACTLY AS THEY ARE Dream Cunt she yowls “Go gaslighting” to the distorted tune of “Go grease lightning”, and littered throughout are callbacks to glorified movie training montages from the 80s. “The 80s was winning, power and triumph set to synthesisers. Even the slower songs weren’t soft, they were Power Ballads.” And so, in Bootlickers Of The Patriarchy, Ray creates a Maniac-esque tempoed dance track aimed for processing and hitting back at female betrayal. Her songs are curt, polished and focused, however Ray isn’t dismissive of the time and mess that has gone into sharpening her thoughts and self-confidence: “I wish I was stronger back then, but the truth of the matter is you’re going to go through trauma repeatedly. The difference is, you learn how to say no faster.” It’s a sentiment that she now carries into all aspects of her life, recently taking to Twitter to ask if she’ll ever get better at cutting out toxic bandmates sooner: “Negative people and energy tend to get the strange paths in our culture, we think we have to accommodate them and bend over backwards. You’re told time and time again to take it for the sake of art – it’s bizarre and torturous. I’m trying to stop buying into the male bravado and arrogance, that’s on me. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Shilpa Ray plays The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Sunday 25th September. Portrait Of A Lady is out now.




L-R, T-B: The Lottery Winners, Art D’Ecco by Elijah Schultz, Wooze, CVC

THE GATHERING SOUNDS DAMIAN ROBINSON CHATS WITH JIMMY BECK ABOUT THE FESTIVAL DESIGNED TO SPOTLIGHT YOUR NEW FAVOURITE BAND Formed in 2018 by KU Promotions, this year’s Gathering Sounds festival takes place on Saturday 24th September and it’s shaping up to be the most exciting. “We choose a date that was deliberately at the halfway point after Stockton Calling,” confirms Jimmy Beck, Managing Director of KU Promotions. “Stockton’s got a really thriving live music scene and having spoken to music lovers they all kept telling me that they didn’t want to wait a full twelve months for the next all-day event, they wanted something sooner.” Jimmy has a different vision for The Gathering Sounds and its line-up. “We’re in a number of the same great venues but The Gathering Sounds is more for emerging bands whereas at Stockton Calling perhaps bands already have a certain type of profile.” Jimmy enthuses that The Gathering Sounds is all about championing bands with huge potential. “We see the festival as being perfect for the types of bands who are almost at the point of being able to do stand-alone shows at some of the venues. What that gives us is an opportunity for the acts to actually be bigger than the venues by the time the festival comes around.” Jimmy reiterates that the festival serves as an ideal opportunity for music lovers to do some early talent spotting. “There are bands on the line-up who, for me, could go on to do really well and gain a really high profile. The Gathering Sounds gives



people a chance to see those bands just as they’re at the point of being well known, and in some cases this might be the last time you get to see these bands in such intimate venues.” Venues taking part include ARC, KU Bar, The Georgian Theatre, Storytellers and new venue The Social Room, with guest promoters including This Feeling and Hull’s Under The Influence ensuring an exciting breadth of programming. Topping the bill at ARC are impassioned rockers The K’s, who’ll be joined by joyous psych rockers CVC, local indie funk heroes Moon Wax, Newcastle songwriter Kieran Bowe and Teesside indie band Nice Guy. Irrepressible popsters The Lottery Winners headline KU, alongside Sunderland lad-done-good Tom A Smith, R&B artist Dayna Leadbitter and alt. rockers Dead Pony. The Georgian Theatre plays host to garage rockers The Bug Club, Canadian indie rock singer Art d’Ecco, Teesside favourites SWEARS and pop songwriter Faye Fantarrow. Post-punks Stone, Hull alt. rock band Low Hummer and newbies Priestgate are all pitching up at The Social Room courtesy of promoters Under The Influence, while This Feeling bring pop four-piece The Native, cosmic indie band Spangled and genre-blurring singer Ruby J to The Storytellers. Across the venues you can also expect to see the likes of Sleep Well Beast, The Lulas, The Chase, The Kairos, Ward, Gone Tomorrow, Velma, Crush, Reardon Love, Bear Park, Sun Beam, Michael Gallagher, Over Pass, The Lilacs, The Voyd, Candid and El Rey. “I think this may be the best line-up we’ve seen,” confirms Jimmy. “You might be looking at this line-up in a few years thinking ‘wow, they all played The Gathering Sounds once’.” The Gathering Sounds Festival takes place at various venues in Stockton on Saturday 24th September.





For those of us that spend our time in the independent venues of Newcastle, Gonzo Dog should be a name that is instantly recognisable. Composed of Guthrie and DJ Carbomb, their live performances have become iconic and their sound is a combative, dark, electronic collage that’s both bark and bite. Guthrie focuses solely on the writing and vocals, naming themselves after their grandma’s maiden name, whereas DJ Carbomb focuses on the instrumentals. When asked about the origins of the DJ Carbomb moniker, their response was a witty: “I am a DJ.” The duo’s dynamic is unique, they both play two very different but important roles but understand each creatively. “Me and Guthrie disagree entirely on music, I hate a lot of things he loves and vice versa.” DJ Carbomb explains. “I send him a file and a few days later he sends back a vocal. We never speak beyond this.” Guthrie’s succinct response is: “I don’t like him.” The duo dropped a stunning array of sounds on their self-titled 2021 New Year’s Day release and have gone on to further perfect their unique style with their newest EP – HARM. “We did the first collection of tracks in a couple days,” DJ Carbomb explains. “Most of the instrumentals were made in one night. These five tracks have been sat on and refined for months.” Guthrie expands upon this further: “We had much more time in an actual studio. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been possible without Garry from SQUARMS, he’s helped us out loads with recording and production and is an all-round angel.”   SQUARMS and Gonzo Dog perform gigs together frequently, and these live performances are an important aspect of the Gonzo Dog identity. Guthrie unpredictably manoeuvres around the stage during their performances, always keeping the audience on their toes, then ends by “rolling around on the

IT’S ABOUT NOT KNOWING WHERE TO CALL HOME SO MAKING YOURSELF COMFORTABLE WHEREVER YOU ARE INSTEAD floor”, as DJ Carbomb remarked.   But the performances are not as improvisational as one might think, DJ Carbomb puts a lot of thought into how the duo will move around on stage, and Guthrie pinpoints the energy they wish to capture: “A lot of it is thinking about the gig aspect of things. Gigs and studio work are still of equal importance and work goes into both, in different ways.” The EP itself features banger after banger, whether it’s the rich texture of the noisy and disruptive FUTURE or the sampling on stand-offish track LILLIES OF THE VALLEY, but the stand-out is HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, which uses an acoustic piece Guthrie created for the turbomafia music YouTube channel, featuring the musician playing the piece on top of a hillside. Guthrie explained this particular track further: “It’s about not knowing where to call home so making yourself comfortable wherever you are instead. It reminds me a lot of where I grew up, that’s why we filmed the acoustic version in Ouston [County Durham]. The guitar piece at the end fits this nostalgic feeling so it made sense to be at the end of this track. I always find it nice to stick a bit of guitar in as a breather from the electronic stuff.” GONZO DOG launch HARM at Cobalt Studios on Saturday 1st October, with support from SQUARMS and SMUJ.






Create/Disrupt is a programme from The NewBridge Project designed to bring outsider creatives to the forefront and provide opportunities for working-class artists to thrive. Led by Izzy Finch, they spoke about how this initiative is necessary in our current climate. “I believe that access to the arts is a right and not a privilege. We know that arts work, for most of us, is extremely financially precarious. We constantly have this balance between that of a starving artist and that of someone who’s trying to keep their head above water, someone who shines bright under high pressure situations and has several irons in the fire all the time. It’s awful, but that’s the place that we’ve been led. I feel we must continue to challenge working conditions and protect civil and cultural rights for the growing number of people that occupy this new class of the precariat. “Those who are privileged or financially independent, are able to seek out opportunities of working in the arts, they can afford to undertake low paid internships and roles.” Izzy goes on to say. “The balance is off, and what we see as the arts and who can have access to it is a privilege. We can’t accept or perpetuate the ideology that the arts are a privilege. A career can’t be sustained on gratitude and passion alone.” Create/Disrupt offers work space, community interaction and other varied creative opportunities for arts workers who have not come through traditional routes, such as University. “University is valuable for some people, but I don’t think it’s the be all and end all for creative industries.” Izzy comments. “We have to really examine who’s formed that and where that school of thought came from…When I was a young person, I was too busy just surviving. That’s probably common for a lot of people.” Programmes like Create/Disrupt provide the chance for creatives to engage with each other and continue to learn in community-based ways as well as through practice. Izzy feels


WE CAN’T ACCEPT OR PERPETUATE THE IDEOLOGY THAT THE ARTS ARE A PRIVILEGE. A CAREER CAN’T BE SUSTAINED ON GRATITUDE AND PASSION ALONE that engagement and alternative education is important for new creatives, at any age. “If you find yourself hungry for knowledge, and if you find yourself seeking out opportunities where you can learn more about anything, whether it’s creative or not, you have to seize that feeling and seize that moment. If you have that burning desire to create knowledge yourself, if you’re finding yourself in conversations, then we have to make the most of that feeling and seek out people and organisations, and ask them for things. To see organisations and individuals as useful resources of knowledge or experiences that you can go to.” Izzy not only challenges social inequality through their own work, but invites creative workers to connect and do the same, building a more accessible space for the North East creative community. “With Create/Disrupt I’m really looking for a diverse cohort, and if people aren’t sure if it’s for them, get in touch. If any working class artists who have felt the burden of precarity want to link, I’m always keen to build a network of solidarity in the North East.” NewBridge Project is based at The Shieldfield Centre, Newcastle. The deadline for applying to be part of the next cohort of artists for Create/Disrupt, which is supported by North of Tyne Combined Authority, is Monday 10th October.




Image by H Hawkline

ALI WELFORD TALKS TO THE ECLECTIC ARTIST ABOUT HER RECENT ALBUM, CHART MISFORTUNES AND ADULTING ON TOUR Two sales. That’s all that stood between Katy J Pearson and a place in the UK’s top 40 following the July release of her stellar sophomore album, Sound Of The Morning. “My label didn’t want to tell me – they thought I’d be upset!” she laughs. Certainly, it takes more than a couple of absent purchases to wear this Bristol-based songwriter down. A delightful interviewee, she raises the stat as just another sprightly anecdote, sandwiched between musings on the magic of antibiotics and her terror while learning to drive on dual carriageways. “I found it quite funny really,” she recalls. “It’s amazing to have got that far anyway as an independent artist. It’s always validating to write songs and actually have people think they’re good!” Chart misfortune notwithstanding, the new record marks a significant breakthrough for Pearson, whose best-laid plans have rarely progressed without a hitch. After attempting an initial play in music with her short-lived band Ardyn, she seemingly found her calling on debut solo album Return; winning hearts, minds and significant critical acclaim – only for its release to fall during the cursed year of 2020. “Because the first record came out during lockdown, I felt desperate to have another body of work to go on tour with,” she recalls. “I love Return, but there are songs on there that are five and six years old; I felt that for my own mental health I needed something new to mix with.” Lusciously arranged, packed with ebullient hooks and


spearheaded by Pearson’s distinctive vocal chime, Sound Of The Morning has struck an even brighter chord, drawing legions of fresh admirers and going down a storm during appearances at Glastonbury, Green Man and Latitude. Having begun the album’s press release by stating ‘Katy J Pearson would like you to know that she is not a country singer’, the fact it’s also dispelled some of the more rankling preconceptions has only sweetened the deal. “There are so many things you get pigeonholed as – especially as a female artist – but my styles and songwriting are very eclectic. This time I thought ‘Fuck it: I want to write rock songs. I want to write pop songs. I want to write country songs. I want to write them all! Why can’t they all be on one album?’ I didn’t necessarily realise I had that freedom on the first record.” So does Sound Of The Morning represent the holy grail – the archetypal ‘album she’s always wanted to make?’ “Not really, to be honest. I don’t think I’ll ever fully know what my sound is,” she admits. “I’m a songwriter first, then I think about how things should sound stylistically afterwards. It’s the way I’ve always done things – it’s fun and liberating, but also a massive headfuck!” Rarely short of inspiration, Pearson is already plotting Sound Of The Morning’s follow-up – but first there’s the small matter of an extensive, largely sold-out September UK tour. “I’ve been playing with this band for three years now, and I definitely feel my gigs have progressed to another level,” she states. “I used to love partying on tour, but this time we’re doing it sober – I’m 26, and I just can’t hack it! It’s a crazy job, but I’m doing okay. I have regular counselling…I think that helps me!” Katy J Pearson plays The Cluny, Newcastle on Sunday 18th September. Sound Of The Morning is out now.


Jamali Maddix King Crud

Saturday 22 October, 8pm Tickets: £16

As seen on Taskmaster, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and Hate Thy Neighbour for Vice. HHHH Sunday Times HHHH Independent HHHH Chortle Restricted age: 16+

03000 266 600 46



L-R, T-B: Hurrian Cult Legacy, Kovert, John Dole, NOVYI LEF


CAMERON WRIGHT DISCUSSES THE EVER-EVOLVING ELECTRONIC MUSIC COMMUNITY WITH FESTIVAL PIONEER STEVEN CHELL Pining for a weekend that offers something a little different? Craving the live experience, but can’t find anything that fulfils that hunger for exciting, new electronic music? Northern Electric have exactly the treat for you. Born out of necessity, the multi-venue event taking place on Friday 2nd–Saturday 3rd September is the brainchild of Steven Chell who had noticed the distinct lack of representation for the genre. “When I was gigging in a band, we’d have gigs lined up every week and never ran into any problems finding an audience. When I transitioned into creating electronic music, I had nothing. I didn’t know where or how to gig and there weren’t the same opportunities, thus the festival was born.” As a promoter with a decade in the industry, Chell was eager to keep his toes in the water and utilise his abilities to create a safe haven for like minded artists. Often slipping under the radar, the northern electronic scene is thriving, as the festival ably demonstrates. Several years into its evolution, each event has seen an array of talents from new faces to respected stalwarts alike take to the stage and parade their art. Acts like the hypnotic Potaito are new to the scene, whereas headliners Vigilance State have long cemented a reputation for high energy, explosive sets. Elsewhere on the bill, expect to find the abrasive and engaging debut of SpaceBros, elaborate and cerebral stylings of Danica Dares, cross-genre duo Badger, ambient three piece Worry Party, the irreverent and melodic sounds of Amateur Trepanning, Newcastle electronic duo NOVYI LEF, the darkwave electronica of Holy Braille and producer and electronic artist M Data among many others. “It’s definitely a celebration of grassroots artists. Celebrating local people, be it a kid in his room with a computer or someone more experienced. It’s about giving people a platform, but really it’s about who you meet along the journey.” Chell’s

THERE’S AN INGRAINED GEARHEAD ENTHUSIASM, DISSECTING AND DISCUSSING THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF EACH SOUND fervent and tenacious determination for building up a sense of community is clearly the steering motive behind the process, steadfast in his goal to cultivate something pure and purposeful. “At it’s heart, it’s building up a network. It’s giving people a place to communicate, find opportunities, make friends and feel seen. All punters are welcome and anyone passionate about music will enjoy it, but there’s something special about electronic fans; there’s an ingrained gearhead enthusiasm, dissecting and discussing the technical aspects of each sound. Northern Electric Festival helps start that conversation.” The festival will feature artists across two venues, The Cumberland Arms and Little Buildings, climaxing in a late night of techno and rave in Little Buildings. The festival has made a deliberate promise to itself this year to explore the full wingspan of the genre. “Exploring is all about flavour. That’s what we’re trying to give people. New flavours and new colours. It’s the unknown, it’s the anticipation of knowing any act could provide your next eureka moment.” With new artists emerging every year, Chell is constantly urging new artists to find their path and raise their voice, in whatever way they feel, nurturing a myriad of paths for new creatives. Northern Electric Festival takes place at The Cumberland Arms and Little Buildings in Newcastle on Friday 2nd-Saturday 3rd September.





DAWN STOREY CHATS WITH THE INDIE POP SONGWRITER AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST ABOUT HIS NEW ALBUM Prolific local singer-songwriter RJ Thompson has a new album on the horizon and he’s excited to get back on the road for his first headline shows in three years. Born out of isolation and wishful thinking during the pandemic, some songs on Yearbook began with Thompson imagining places, people and social events while stuck indoors. “Because most of it was written during lockdowns, I was romanticising a much bigger world outside of my window. On tracks like Feel Alive, Super 8 and Rescue You I was dreaming of Californian road trips; on Cutting Room Floor I was dreaming of New Orleans brass bands and street parties; on Skywriter, a world where everyone communicates by writing messages in the sky. You can hear all of those bigger ideas. What started as simple songs have been built up into something that I view as a cinematic album, with string sections and brass bands. There’s so much to see and hear.” Perhaps unconsciously this wish to be back amongst the outside world also fed into his continuing fascination with using apps and modern technology to fully immerse the listener. “I’m a firm believer in creating an experience around the music, to extend the world around an album.” He agrees. “On [previous album] Lifeline I came up with a concept whereby, using my augmented reality app, the record sleeve would change depending on where you are in the world and the time of day or weather. It really seemed to capture people’s imagination. It was quite a simple thing to do, but it was all done retrospectively. We had an old photo of me as a child on the front cover, and had to create about 15 alternative versions of the same image to



display.” This time around, he’s taken things one step further by developing the music and the artwork together, in order to provide a much deeper experience. “We built a room and spent a week filming over 300 versions of the front cover, simulating different times of the day, weathers and times of the year. So when people view the record sleeve through the app, it will show a cover that is relevant to where they are in the world, and everyone should have a different experience.” These unique visuals are the perfect accompaniment to the new songs which are bursting with life and colour, from the Springsteen-style sounds and saxophone in Super 8 to the irresistible synths which open latest single Rescue You and give a Killers-esque vibe which continues right through to its immediately memorable chorus. As well as working on the new album, Thompson recently took time out to record some live songs at Abbey Road studios, the videos for which can be found online. Unsurprisingly, he describes it as an unbelievable experience. “To stand on the spot where Lennon sang Strawberry Fields, or play the piano that McCartney played on Lady Madonna, it doesn’t get much better than that. The band felt so relaxed the moment we got there. It felt natural and, as cheesy as it sounds, it felt like the room pulled some of that history into the recordings we made.” Thompson’s upcoming dates include a show at Sage Gateshead on Friday 16th September which will feature his full, seven-piece band. “I’m really looking forward to the whole tour, but Gateshead will be special. It was our last live performance before lockdown, three years ago now! I’m going to be previewing most of the new album and also it will be my first chance to play tracks from Lifeline live too.” RJ Thompson plays Sage Gateshead on Friday 16th September. Yearbook is released on 7th October.



Scott King

MIDDLESBROUGH ART WEEKENDER STEVE SPITHRAY CHATS WITH LIAM SLEVIN ABOUT THEMES OF POWER, AI AND EMPOWERMENT AT THE CONTEMPORARY ART FESTIVAL Middlesbrough Art Weekender is back for its fifth edition in September. The festival utilises a number of spaces throughout the town so, as well as The Auxiliary gallery space, it will also incorporate Commerce House and Zetland House in the old financial sector of town, as well as using a number of empty units in Hill Street Shopping Centre. I asked organiser Liam Slevin about this year’s ‘power POWER’ theme, particularly the thinking behind the lowercase/ uppercase styling. “When people talk about power, it’s often in relation to the powerful versus the powerless, which stops any action to change things, so it’s a kind of stutter. You have to say it twice and you have to say it quiet and loud, the praxis of addressing power, both quietly and indirectly, or directly and more forcefully. It’s a repetition.” The line-up this year is as diverse as we have come to expect. Liam talked me through some of his favourite bits: “Rachel Maclean’s work is always impressive; Eimear Walshe is a brilliant Irish artist looking at land contestation under British rule in Ireland and its lasting negative legacy; Scott King, an ex-art and creative director with the likes of i-D and Sleazenation magazine, will be bringing his performance of the Debrist Manifesto to Middlesbrough…” Event organisers are also working with Sound Art Brighton and commissioned them to create an audio piece that will broadcast through the CCTV system in Middlesbrough, some of which have speakers attached to the cameras. “The piece is called Levelling Up”, Liam told me. “But probably wouldn’t be supported by the Tory Party. We are also working with A/B Smith, another artist using CCTV and AI. It’s all very creepy, but it’s technology that a lot of us are opting into.” Middlesbrough Art Weekender has always sought to be inclusive in featuring local artists and this year is no different. “We’ve commissioned Bobby Benjamin to work with the Gordon Matta-Clark archive to create a new piece. The archive focusses on a project Matta-Clark did about real estate. He

WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT POWER, IT’S OFTEN IN RELATION TO THE POWERFUL VERSUS THE POWERLESS, WHICH STOPS ANY ACTION TO CHANGE THINGS bought up small parcels of land in New York, like kerbs or alleys no wider than a fence post. The archive of this is some drawings, photos and all the absurd bureaucracy involved in owning these slivers of real estate. I’m very excited about seeing Bobby respond to these ideas. Stephen Irving, Bobby’s co-director at Pineapple Black, is also showing in North East Open Call.” North East Open Call is another vital part of the festival and gives a bit more insight into how local artists are chosen among more established names. “For us it’s how a work relates to the festival thematic. We just talk and start populating a list. It then becomes how the works relate to each other. Hannah Cooke, a German artist, was a very late addition to the festival line-up. A past exhibiting artist, Karina Smigla Bobinski, posted about her work and it was perfect, becoming a linchpin in an exhibition that we didn’t realise we needed.” The festival organisers have also added mini-MAW, aimed at young people, and Liam was enthusiastic about the newest addition. “This should have been with us from the start. The creative and critical thinking skills that art can develop is well documented and very much needed in the world that is developing around us. We need to be doing more, especially when the ‘arts’ are getting ripped out of formal education.” Middlesbrough Art Weekender takes place across various venues from Thursday 22nd -Sunday 25th September.




Knightsbridge Art Club present an exhibition in a variety of mediums. Runs until 7th September // The Exchange, North Shields


Exquisite guitar and sublime vocals // Harbour View, Roker


Nostalgic pop rockers, with support from Tired of Fighting and Gone Tomorrow // NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton


Vibrant folk from Toronto // Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle


London-based post-punks, who put on a riotous live show // Newcastle University Students’ Union


Frenetic and chaotic indie punks, supported by Muckle and Silk Road // Bobik’s, Newcastle


Anja Percival & Joanne Bourne: This Common Place

The printmakers take inspiration from their everyday surroundings to explore the different atmospheres that light creates in our environments – translating the seemingly mundane into something unmistakably beautiful. Runs until Friday 30th September // Newcastle Arts Centre


WEDNESDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER JESUS JONES Alt. rock band // The Cluny, Newcastle

TIDE LINES Anthemic Scottish folk // Independent, Sunderland

THURSDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER ATARI DOLL The iconic local rock band reunite with a new line-up, support from Cazimi and To Nowhere // Trillians, Newcastle

ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER Early music meets punk! Support from Francis Golm // Toft House, Middlesbrough

CHRIS JAMES & MARTIN FLETCHER Blues guitar and harmonica performers // Harbour View, Roker

CLT DRP Electro punk trio with support from Tokky Horror // The Cluny, Newcastle

GATHERING OF STRANGERS Anthemic rock band // Bobik’s, Newcastle

RANDY FELTFACE Australia’s most entertaining non-human comedian // The Stand, Newcastle

SIMON YORK WEST Debut single release show, supported by Hannah Robinson // The Central Bar, Gateshead

FRIDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER BLACK KIDS American indie rockers // World Headquarters, Newcastle


A lush evening of songs and storytelling from Nev Clay and special guest John Egdell // The Vaux Room, Ship Isis, Sunderland

Improvising trio featuring an exclusive performance with collaborator Alasdair Roberts // Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle



Local death metal band, supported by Erebor and Burn The Valley // The Studio, Hartlepool


New wave punks // The Cluny, Newcastle


Viper jazz, dirty blues and swing, with support from Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra // The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle


New local alt. indie five-piece // Independent, Sunderland


Stand-up comedy from Alex Boardman, Steve Harris and MC Aaron Twitchen // Middlesbrough Town HallDavid Newey Songwriter and guitarist, supported by Imogen Bose-Ward and Philip Jonathan // The Central Bar, Gateshead


North East alt. rock, supported by Rare Breed, Polyvinyl and Thought Trumpet // NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton


John Kippin & Nicola Neate: IN this DAY and AGE – The Outer Hebrides

Celebrating the launch of a new book by the artist-photographer duo which focuses on their four-year project which has seen them living in North Uist, one of a remote group of six islands that form part of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland // National Glass Centre, Sunderland


Shortlist Exhibition Recognising images that capture the spirit and heart of the North East // Biscuit Factory, Newcastle


Improvised comedy // The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle


Dynamic and versatile comedian // The Customs House, South Shields


Instrumental three-piece whose sound is typified by heavy guitars and technical drums. Support from The Unit Ama // Little Buildings, Newcastle


Psychedelic space rockers // The Cluny, Newcastle

SLOW DECADES Alt. indie collective, supported by Marc Bird // The Central Bar, Gateshead

SPILT MILK Indie rockers from Gateshead // The Cluny, Newcastle

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS Scottish indie rockers // Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland


Jazz/blues with a late 40s feel // Harbour View, Roker


Melodious folk, co-headline show with Heather Ferrier // The Central Bar, Gateshead


Manchester-based songwriter, poet and storyteller, support from Faye MacCalman // The Globe, Newcastle



Squeeze co-founder // The Fire Station, SunderlandWEDNESDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER

The Middlesbrough-born folk and acoustic songwriter and multi-instrumentalist launches her new EP, Written In The Sand // Twisted Lip, Middlesbrough




Rearranged date. Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley’s epic tale about journeys and discoveries // Arts Centre Washington


Neo-soul songwriter, supported by Rushbonds // Bobik’s, Newcastle


Expect chaos, joy and laughter from the master comedian // ARC, Stockton


A funny, heart-warming, gin-soaked exploration of modern day motherhood // Northern Stage, Newcastle


High energy metal, with support from Desolation, Avarice and Nation in Ruin // Base Camp, Middlesbrough


Celebrated songwriter and guitarist // The Cluny, Newcastle


Sci-fi tinged surf music, supported by Moron-o-Phonics // The Globe, Newcastle


Stand-up and improv from The Discount Comedy Checkout plus supports // The Georgian Theatre, Stockton


Mancunian rockers // Newcastle University Students’ Union


Hit comedian and compere // The Customs House, South Shields


An evening of musings on modern life, honest gags, riffs and chat from the celebrated punk poet // The Fire Station, Sunderland


Indie rock with elements of lo-fi bedroom pop // Bobik’s, Newcastle


Sublime slacker pop // Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland


Promising more jokes, comedy anecdotes and inappropriate and arguably disturbing jokes // Utilita Arena, Newcastle

JAY ELECTRONICA Rescheduled date for the American rapper and producer // The Cluny, Newcastle

JEFFREY LEWIS & THE VOLTAGE Superb underground indie rocker // Cobalt Studios, Newcastle

Uplifting and romantic jazz sounds // Sage GatesheadTHURSDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER



North Shields

Irish folk artist // Wylam Brewery, Newcastle

Psychedelic folk rock // The Engine Room,


Piano and vocal-based blues // Harbour View, Roker



The Exchange

Part of Middlesbrough Art Weekender, artist Layla Khoo has created a range of objects incorporating elements of Middlesbrough’s industrial and creative heritage which she’ll ‘exchange’ with members of the public in return for a day of volunteer work at a variety of charitable causes in Middlesbrough. Running until 25th September // Commerce House, Middlesbrough


Improvised comedy at its best! // The Stand, Newcastle

The Australian queen of comedy presents her new show Fine, Thanks // O2 City Hall, Newcastle

THURSDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE A visually-stunning film, who deftly creates a hazy, saturated, romantic and almost dream-like vision of Hong Kong of yesteryear // Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle



Liverpool post-punks, with support from Happy 2000 // The Cluny, Newcastle

Folk singer and fiddle player // The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

THE MICK CANTWELL TRIO Good time blues // Harbour View, Roker


Featuring Martin Mor, Ross Leslie, Mike Wardley and MC Pete Otway // Bishop Auckland Town Hall


This pairing between Sage Gateshead and Fenwick’s bistro Arthur’s will see a supper club-style event featuring alt. pop songwriter Nadedja and soulful popsters Lyras // Arthur’s, Newcastle


Songwriter, storyteller and harmonica virtuoso // The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle


FRIDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER BETH MACARI Soulful pop songwriter // NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton


Hadaway And Write Blowin’ A Hooley Theatre present an

Legendary North East alternative rock band // NE Volume Music Bar, Stockton

evening of new short plays from


opportunity to get a first look at

A comedian with impeccable style and wit // ARC, Stockton


Felt Nowt present a night of stand-up comedy from Lost Voice Guy, Seymour Mace, Julian Lee and host Sammy Dobson // Salt Market Social, North Shields

The second instalment of Sage Gateshead and Fenwick’s bistro Arthur’s supper club-style events, featuring hotly tipped songwriter Faye Fantarrow and jazz quartet Knats // Arthur’s, Newcastle



Improvised comedy // The Central Bar, Gateshead


One of the best joke writers of his generation // The Stand, Newcastle

exciting North East writers, providing an bite-size local stories that champion regional talent and identity // The Exchange, North Shields

THE SKAPONES North East ska and 2-Tone band, with support from Nomad Anthem and Set Your Sights // The Durham Ox, Bishop Auckland

THE URBAN VOODOO MACHINE Genre-spanning roots, blues and rock mayhem! // The Georgian Theatre, Stockton



Efterklang by Victoria Wai

MINAMI DEUTSCH, SMOTE @ THE CLUNY 2, NEWCASTLE (24.08.22) Words: Dominic Stephenson Opening this succulent psych spectacle were local psychedelia enthusiasts Smote. Unfurling with feedback-drenched drone, the quartet wasted no time in summoning a potent broth. Their rhythmic core is shrouded in layers of sonic riffs, yet the primeval percussion is the vertebrae of their sound. There was also the inclusion of flute, an increasingly popular instrument in the arsenal of psych folk aficionados. Perfectly capable of stirring up whirlwinds of noise, it’s a matter of time before they’re demanding headline shows of their own. To familiarise myself with Minami Deutsch’s work, I’d spent the week before listening to their records. This proved to be futile, such is the Japanese kosmische peddlers’ ability to amplify their tunes to crepuscular heights. Inspired by Krautrock icons of the past and nurtured by labelmates Kikagaku Moyo, a creeping motorik groove sets the tone for founder and lead vocalist Kyotaro Miula’s insouciant vocals to hover above the stage. The self-professed “repetition freaks” swirled into rich, jangling layers, which built into mesmerising swells of hammering drums and fuzzy guitar. The caustic yet irresistible bass is omnipresent and ensured heads were bopping throughout. The mouth-watering set melded into a scorching finale, as the four-piece cascaded into a frantic, space rock vortex. Never mind face-melting, this was face-incinerating. Clearly an underrated gem of the international psych scene, this scintillating showing illustrated the attention they urgently deserve.

EFTERKLANG, THE EARLY PURPLE @ GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE, NEWCASTLE (24.08.22) Words: Damian Robinson If every show after this is as enticing as tonight’s, then The Early Purple have a heck of a career in front of them. Playing their debut show, the seven-piece band (a North East supergroup of sorts) bring a huge layer of confidence to their blend of folk rock, landing in a space somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Vetiver. Standout track, and recent single, Old Eagle combines drum patterns of Mick Fleetwood (featuring lots of floor tom) with an understated and subtle sound which is both mellow and harmonious. They’d make a great headliner but they’re an even better warm up for


Danish act Efterklang, whose blend of Bon Iver falsettos, gentle electronics and folk arrangements create a unique wall of sound. Standouts Cutting Ice To Snow and the lovely duet of Black Summer, set a high bar of musicality before the final song, Åbent Sår (Open Wound), steals the night. Starting with an open invitation to move furniture from the venue’s floor, the track starts as a sit-down singalong before bursting into electronic refrains of Living Other Lives as the audience join in with a mass dance along. Joyous and collective, it’s an exceptional moment to watch. Using performance movements as way to showcase their messages of hope and humanity, Efterklang certainly led by example tonight.

LIGHTNING BOLT, EARL OF HELL @ THE CLUNY, NEWCASTLE (13.08.22) Words: Ali Welford Legends of the noise punk underground, Brians Chipperdale and Gibson guarantee unabated sweat-drenched havoc wherever and wherever they play. Naturally then, Lightning Bolt’s first Newcastle show in 16 years comes on one of those nights when arriving at The Cluny feels like entering a tropical greenhouse – and with more space for slam-dancing, the fact they don’t play in the round (as has long been their custom) only intensifies the swelter. Spare a particular thought for Chipperdale: trapped behind his trademark mic-bearing balaclava, the drummer’s relentless firecracker assault amounts in these conditions to a genuine physical feat. Come the end, he’s among the first out the door, reacquainting his lungs with the joys of fresh (albeit not especially cool) air mere seconds after surfing his shattered body to the venue’s rear. The hour previous is a dizzying, discombobulating blur; Chippendale’s free, rapid-fire hitting and barely intelligible vocal distortions conspiring alongside Gibson’s extraordinary lurching bass tones in a truly bewildering battery of the senses. It’s a display powered by fierce innovation, punishing volume and frightful velocity, and sharply at odds with the earlier fare from openers Earl of Hell. The Edinburgh five-piece’s meaty fuzz-laden stoner rock is a solid proposition, yet their conventional riff-making offers little to quench an audience thirsting for the unbridled chaos that’s to follow. Merciful, perhaps – if there’s one thing this show doesn’t need, it’s warming up further!


Martha Wainwright by Victoria Wai

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT, ROSANNA REID @ WYLAM BREWERY, NEWCASTLE (07.08.22) Words: Ben Lowes-Smith Rosanna Reid’s low-key country music is a delight – a perfectly suited foil to Wainwright’s jazzier, more sprawling numbers. She has the demeanour of someone with a stinking hangover, which makes her charming, low-key songs about love, loss and horticulture more vulnerable and impactful. The set ends on a sweet, beautiful moment, as she dedicates a song to her heavily pregnant wife. Martha Wainwright’s return to Newcastle is greeted rapturously, despite a minor technical issue that is dealt with beautifully; you know you are in the company of a consummate professional. Wainwright draws largely from 2021’s Love Will Be Reborn, detailing a painful and difficult divorce. The music is cathartic but not as dour as the subject matter would suggest, as Wainwright sketches with light and shade. She keeps it very much in the family too; reading from her new memoir and playing songs by her mother Kate, her father Loudon and her brother Rufus to substantiate the memoir. Finishing with a Joni Mitchell cover, the evening is a celebration of the music that has informed and continues to inspire Wainwright in her practice.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE @ GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE, NEWCASTLE (13.08.22) Words: Tom Astley Emma Ruth Rundle’s solo performance on an energy-sapping evening in mid-August gave a stark reminder of the power of live music, and the real, albeit fleeting, connection that takes place between performer and audience at a live event. In a gig that had been rescheduled because of you-know-what, Emma Ruth Rundle gave a masterclass of intimate, genuine musical performance. Moving between upright piano and nylon string guitar on a sparse stage, she ran without ceremony through the entirety of 2021’s near-perfect album Engines Of Hell. Those familiar with Rundle’s work – and this album in particular – will be aware of just how good these haunting songs are. But what was really interesting is how well they worked as a live event. Whole portions of the set were played at barely a whisper, accompanied by the lightest brushstroke of a finger on nylon string guitars, de-tuned to just barely audible, with the strings barely holding their own tension. Even at this volume, the songs filled the humid heat of the room, and left no space for audience noise, not

even a murmur. Running through the album is a clear reflection of that haunted isolation of the ‘dark time’ of Covid, as Rundle described it on stage, and the memories it dredged up. But unlike much of the well-intentioned ‘lockdown art’, this album, reflected in this exquisite performance, feels like it has something more long lasting, more important to say about the re-opened world.

THE PRANCEY DOG ALL-DAYER @ THE CUMBERLAND ARMS, NEWCASTLE (13.08.22) Words: Lee Fisher Closing a fortnight celebrating 20 years of the Hodson family’s stewardship of the world’s best pub (IDST), this all-dayer also celebrated 60 years of promoter Chris ‘Prancey Dog’ Trew. On the sunbaked terrace, Yakka Doon gave us a typically powerful and melancholy set, Welford’s flowing guitar and deeply affecting voice like a punch in the gut on Demolish The House, and closer Shake Holes had her in especially troubled and troubling form. Actual National Treasure Nev Clay was especially chatty, but still got through more songs than usual. There’s a lot of laughter to be had, but you’re missing the point if you don’t appreciate the intensely insightful and deeply human quality to the lyrics, the prosaic details of crisp packets, cheap beer and long-forgotten cornershops revealing universal truths. A closing Cuddy’s Cave with Ben Lowes-Smith on guitar was an absolute delight. Then it was inside for the debut of Haunted Hair, the new incarnation of GGAllan Partridge and surely the best thing any of them have done yet. A brief set of new songs and covers, this was a garage-punk-gothabillygirlgang-horrorshow of magnificent proportions, complete with overdriven keyboards, troglodyte drums and Banshees guitar. Haunted Hair are your new favourite band. I’ve written three Moron-O-Phonics reviews in the last three months, and my appreciation of how effortlessly they turn out absolute anthems increases every time. Bad Amputee are contenders for the best band in Newcastle, bringing a defiantly English flavour to their slowcore sound; they need to get a new record out, stat. Thomas Truax gets a lot of acclaim but ultimately, despite his obvious talents, it still feels like wilful eccentricity. He’s David Byrne in a junk shop, They Might Be Giants via Harry Partch, and it leaves me cold. That aside, it was a brilliant day out and a real tribute to North Eastern exceptionalism.



Moon Wax by Victoria Wai

WHEN CHAI MET TOAST, BENJAMIN AMOS @ BOBIK’S, NEWCASTLE (08.08.22) Words: Damian Robinson A strong early set by singer-songwriter Benjamin Amos, specialising in acoustic ballads with a focus on the fragility of life, is the perfect set up for the sheer pop joy that is When Chai Met Toast. Almost gleaming with the delight at playing music together, let alone playing to an almost sold-out Bobik’s, the band are a delight to watch; their joy at playing is so infectious that everything else about their performance is almost an afterthought. As it happens though, the afterthoughts are well worth a mention; the band have a series of great songs (Yellow Paper Daisy and Nee Aara standing out), and they play with a superb technical nature – imagine Crowded House meets Jack Johnson, with harmonies that Crosby Stills and Nash would die for. Flipping from an acoustic set up, to an electric pop sound, When Chai Met Toast’s ability to combine Western pop sentiments with Hindi textures and atmospherics is consistently impressive as they vary their set up across the evening; electrifying certain songs in places, joining up three-part harmonies in others, and removing their rhythm sections all together in gentler moments. They may well be the happiest band I’ve ever seen play live. And when you’re around happy people, who love what they do, it can’t help but make you enjoy spending time with them.

CLASS OF 2022 @ MIDDLESBROUGH TOWN HALL (06.08.22) Words: Steve Spithray Middlesbrough Council’s organisational skills aside, allowing an all-day gig outside the registry office window while weddings were taking place, could not dampen Twisterella’s exemplary programming of Class of 2022 in the Town Hall courtyard. Reverse headliner Jodie Nicholson (with a full band now adding subtle embellishments to her evocative folk-tinged indie pop) and a strong afternoon line-up got people out early into the rarefied quadrangle sun. Now with a full backing band of her own, Jen Dixon bounced through her set of guitar pop, finishing with a polished and confident Speed of Light. Illness meant Mt. Misery’s set was rearranged into rounds of singer Andrew Smith vs Rick from Dressed Like Wolves. Rick opted to play a selection of typically lo-fi newies including Busted Laptop, while


Andrew smiled his way through an endearingly awkward set of Mt. Misery favourites including delightful renditions of Spinning Top and Dreaming Days Are Over. Rapper Shakk’s chill but socially aware vibe meant 24/7 and Butterfly Trees were both highlights of the day, while later on songwriter Joe Ramsey was followed by a suitably energetic Twist Helix and Moon Wax deserve to be mainstays of the festival circuit for their feel-good indie funk. A marked drop in temperature meant a thinning crowd for headliners ZELA, which was a shame because Sleep Real Bad, in particular tonight, is the sort of slick but dangerous electro pop currently sending them spiralling upwards in the popularity stakes.

YARD ACT, BABA ALI @ THE CLUNY, NEWCASTLE (27.07.22) Words: Conor Roy Local promoters Wandering Oak have always been ahead of the curve but I don’t think even they could have predicted what would happen in Yard Act’s career when they announced the Leeds-based post-punk outfit at The Cluny way back in March of 2021. For a band who have since received endless critical acclaim, a Mercury prize nomination, number two in the album charts and two Glastonbury slots, this intimate evening felt nothing short of a victory lap. Zen F.C label mates Baba Ali opened the show. The London-based duo delivered captivating 80s-esque synth funk armed with a reverbdrenched guitar, a drum machine, all manner of synth accoutrement and a sound reminiscent of New Order. Yard Act take to the stage diving head-first into crowd favourite and immigration satire Fixer Upper. James Smith, vocalist and apparent stand-up comic, has the crowd in the palm of his hand. His charisma radiates and it’s clear that as he deals with heckle after heckle he’s carving his own path that sits somewhere along the spectrum between John Cooper Clarke and Mark E. Smith. Asking if anyone had an exciting day and receiving a reply that someone had made a “black pudding teriyaki stir fry” completely derails the gig in the best possible way. Shows like this don’t come around very often, the entire set was hit after hit and I’d confidently file this away under one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.




Cactusman – Pour Me My First Drink

Following a hiatus, Cactusman return with a perfectly realised country track, capturing that lilting melancholic melodic country sound perfectly, demonstrating a clear affinity with the genre. All the key elements are there, from close harmony choruses, bright mandolin tremolo flowering from the end of the chorus, rhythmic

Thomas Walliker – Birds & The Bees

Thomas Walliker’s track Birds & The Bees crafts a sound that is familiar and compelling, taking well-worn elements, expertly collated, to create a track that draws the listener in. Slap back reverb and a springy electric guitar, subtle electric organ, synth strings and a shuffle 6/8 rhythm immediately situate the track within a haunted 50s aesthetic. Lyrically, the vibe echoes the laconic, glottal stop lost love style of the Arctic Monkeys. Put together, and not only because of the use of the title in Walliker’s maudlin lyrics, this track also has a flavour of Joji’s Dancing In The Dark, offering a late-night end-of-the-world feel.

Mascara’s Lies – Noughts And Crosses

Two-piece rock group Mascara’s Lies have produced a really interesting and ambitious track in Noughts And Crosses, replete with enough to keep you listening multiple times. The stand out sound is the pounding fuzz bass

acoustic guitar, bass pedalling from one to five, lyrics that long for something lost, wading through regrets caused by the demon drink (another staple of the country sound). If a slice of unapologetic country sound is what you’re fixing to mix with your bourbon tonight, hoss, then this track is perfect.

which anchors the track through the verses, and brings to mind Muse, though the vocal delivery is more Alex Turner’s grounded everyman than Matt Bellamy’s squawked rock god. There’s an interesting array of sounds in the mix – from synth and acoustic guitar, though a little more electric guitar in the chorus mix wouldn’t go amiss in my opinion. The chorus melody is a real ear worm, and a little more punch would help to really emphasise that firework release of Muse’s better tracks.

Electric Circus – The Road

Electric Circus’s The Road is a driving song about driving, and comes with all the constituent elements of a hard rock headbanger, all put together in a manner that is as successful as it is loud. With a nod to bands like ZZ Top, along the road we hear frenetic pounding drums, a quasi 12 bar riff on exquisitely overdriven guitars, a bass and drum break in just the right place with some crackle of radio static (a sound that DAB radios have essentially erased), a howling

(albeit curtailed) guitar solo, and a belted final chorus up the octave. The production is crisp and clear, and the whole track is in and out in under three minutes, meaning it’ll have to be on repeat for any long drive.

Silk Road – Sid Mahogany

Angular and unexpected, Sid Mahogany captures the character of the titular Sid, an enigmatic and grandiose guitarist whose disappearance from a band practice inspired the track. Silk Road intend to confound on this track, in the same way a band like Primus would, offering discordant melodies interlacing with syncopated and meandering chord progressions. Here tempo, temperament and dynamic changes catch the listener off guard – careening from a laid back jazz, to howled yelps over distortion to atonal solos. This track is anything but easy listening, but if you’re after something jarring and complex that you have to invest multiple listens into, poring over the left turns and nuances, then this track is for you.




TANKENGINE TANKENGINE TANKENGINE TANKENGINE EP Words: Cameron Wright After their debut TANKENGINE and its follow up TANKENGINE TANKENGINE, the Newcastle art rock band release their third EP, aptly titled TANKENGINE TANKENGINE TANKENGINE. Opening with a seven-minute behemoth, anchored by a brooding bass and relentless drums, there’s a sense of meditated anarchism that seeps out of the tracks. Splashes of colour spark across the band’s opening statement as it slithers across its run time with a serpentine menace. Without reaching any apex, it isn’t until the second track where the band’s brutalist roots become more prominent. The EP isn’t a stranger to explosions of mania, with the finale becoming an incendiary conclusion to the release. Bookended with the two strongest tracks, TANKENGINE TANKENGINE TANKENGINE showcases a band with staggering potential. Released: 23.09.22

ALEX JAMES TELL ME Words: Jake Anderson Tell Me is the newest single from one of the North East’s most inspirational performers. The band don’t release often, but the alt. rockers always make themselves known when they do. Driven by a catchy hook, Tell Me features thundering riffs and heavy drums that would no doubt sound incredible live. And while the chorus is quite infectious, the writing can at times come off a bit cheesy and anthemic, which some of us will like and gravitate towards, but it never detracts from the quality of the instrumentation being presented. Frontperson Alex James explains that music helps him live a high quality life with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and hopes his success will encourage others with disabilities to express themselves through music. Released: 02.09.22



Image by Oana Clarke-Wills

Words: Matt Young After years of performing music in her native Czech, accomplished artist, cellist, composer and singer Taliraw relocated to Newcastle, leaving behind her former band and intent on starting again from scratch. Mixing in a range of styles from lo-fi, hip-hop, pop and ambient, she’s keen to tell her stories as authentically and honestly as possible, drawing from musical and cultural sources. El Camino, the lead single from her upcoming English Weather EP, plays out like a dreamy snapshot of the personal frustrations of daily life. Expectations of others, family pressure, rapped refrains on working two jobs, social anxiety, wanting to be free of worry. Despite the reflective lyrics the swirling music builds and uplifts, offering hope, light and that freedom she seeks. Released: 15.09.22

RITUALS SHOW ME THE SIGNS EP Words: Michael O’Neill High-flying modern metallers Rituals return with their long-anticipated sophomore release, fresh from the huge burst of acclaim that followed their debut, Awake. Even on first listen, it becomes abundantly clear why that aforementioned release afforded them support and acclaim from Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and Powerplay, with the pulverising blend of riffs, dynamics and power coalescing to result in one hell of a trip. The brief length of the EP shows a very clear respect for quality over quantity, with the likes of lead single In Devastation providing a brilliant showcase for the quartet’s strengths. They consider this release to be the purest distillation of their evolution as songwriters, and it radiates through every hammer-on. Released: 02.09.22

CHARLOTTE FORMAN WATCHING THE BIRDS SING Words: Cameron Wright With a gentle rhythm section driving the song from the offset, the punches of guitars and syncopated drum grooves act as the first piece of interest on this new track from Charlotte Forman. When the vocals slide in, there is a real presence held by the Durhambased singer. A full bodied vocal performance eases over the jaunty swing of the track, carrying a relaxed candour throughout which matches the charisma and swagger of the instrumental beautifully. A trumpet strolls in as a welcome addition to the number, and you are left wondering what stopped the artist committing to a fully indulgent brass section, as the track lends itself perfectly to that sunshine-fuelled nostalgia of love, innocence and dance. Released: 09.09.22

BOBBY LATHERON & BETH MILLER EX Words: Michael O’Neill A supreme slab of hi-NRG pop, Ex succeeds at being a pristine slab of sass pop bursting at the seams with personality and wit whilst brilliantly echoing the classic hallmarks of uptempo, double entendre laden funk pop. Like all good pop, it says all it needs to say in a breezy three minutes, but the sheer charm comes from the wit of the (brutally honest) lyrics which are a classicist ode to the freedom of untying oneself from the burden of a shit relationship. Latheron’s super songwriting is brilliantly bolstered with the aid of Beth Miller’s powerhouse vocals, which are served sublimely by Carl Pemberton’s pristine production, resulting in a sugar-coated and addictive slab of sheer wonder. Released: 02.09.22

SALSOLA HEARTBREAKER Words: Jake Anderson Teessiders Salsola blur the lines between genres on Heartbreaker. Warm with its sonics, the single oozes with a good-time summer vibe, featuring a luscious soul-inspired vocal performance that glides over a groove-driven indie pop instrumental, which is easily the strongest aspect of the track. The prominence of the vocals ties everything together and is what kept me returning for repeated listens. Each instrument pops as it should, with my favourite moments being the relaxed momentum of the drums and the strong presence of guitar during the final stretch. It’s a fresh sound for the North East scene, brewing together multiple sonic avenues and resulting in a band that have comfortably found their sound. Check them out at The Green Room, Stockton on Friday 16th September. Released: 16.09.22

SLOWLIGHT QUARTET FULL BEAM, ALAN Words: Matt Young Jazz funk. To some those words may strike fear, akin to hearing your doctor saying ‘malignant tumour’. But listen closely, Slowlight Quartet have added synths. Returning after a long hiatus the North East formed quartet spread around the globe in 2017 but have recently reignited their love of playing together and find themselves inspired musically by Snarky Puppy or Vels Trio. This instrumental shines with synth and bass riffs, with brass stab reminders of 80s pop bands swirling around and providing a backdrop for the drums and soloists to add their own colour, before a hazy cinematic outro collapses everything. There are some uneven moments in the mix but it’s an interesting reintroduction for the band as they seek to carve out their own niche. Released: 30.09.22

SIMON YORK WEST SOMETHING GOOD Words: Hope Lynes The tragic story of George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life is beautifully told in a tale with a positive outlook. Something Good wraps up the plot of the movie into a quaint, folky track that feels relatable and honest, with an outlook that could reflect onto anyone listening. Simon York West has created a tender and reflexive track perfectly timed for Autumn. This debut single shows promise for the future of the multi-instrumentalist’s solo project, demonstrating his ability to use a film as inspiration and make a piece of music that is completely unique and humble. The backing soundscape is beautifully produced, as even though the lyrics take forefront in this piece, the beauty of the slow guitars and folk instruments create a meaningful acoustic experience. Released: 07.09.22

ARCADE SKIES LID ON A SCREAM Words: Hope Lynes The title of this track is pleasantly misleading; instead of putting a lid on anything, the song uses a series of melodies to take the listener in different dimensions minute by minute. The ambient synth of this track takes from the developments of Arcade Skies’ first and second EPs. The artist’s first EP epitomised an 80’s electronic style, whereas the second developed more experimentally, and Lid On A Scream perfectly blends the two styles into a multifunctional piece, one that you could both dance and relax to. Ultimately, this is a well produced track that I would recommend to dance fans and 80’s nostalgics, and is a very versatile piece of production from the local independent producer. Released: 02.09.22

CHARTS & GRAPHS INTRUDER ALERT Words: Tom Astley Charts & Graphs cite 80s luminaries Gang of Four and Talking Heads as influences on new track Intruder Alert, and there is certainly some of that knowing musicality in this new track, featuring a real earworm of a just-slightly overdriven guitar riff and a bass line pummelling in its simplicity. In the slightly more angular chorus, which on the second repetition gives some really nice chordal colour, the song really comes into its own. There is more than a flavour of late-noughties indie sound here too, the slight crack and lo-fi distortion in the lead vocals bringing to mind The Strokes/ The Hives style production. Catch them live in their support of Jesus Jones at the Cluny on Wednesday 7th Sept. Released: 09.09.22

JAMES LEONARD HEWITSON SIDEWAYS Words: Tom Astley Hewitson writes of new track Sideways that it is about ‘being detached from society during the pandemic’, a familiar foundation for so much introspective art in the last couple of years. So its really rewarding to hear Hewitson’s take on this theme incorporate euphoric synth pad sounds, dancing 16ths on the hi-hat and tumbling toms. There’s an unavoidably 80s pomp in some of the synth sounds, the laid-back vocals a little Human League, the intriguing chord pattern in the verse a little ABC. I’d even go as far as to say – especially in the breakdown chorus poetic-heartfelt lyrics about love, and wispy female backing vocals – there’s even a shade of Prefab Sprout, which is a comparison I do not throw about lightly. Released: 01.09.22



5/5 Suede by Dean Chalkley

SUEDE AUTOFICTION (BMG) Words: Paul Brown The nostalgia reunion circuit sure has been one of rock’s guiltiest pleasures these last couple of decades. None of us will say no to dancing in a field in July, can in hand, to our favourite band playing the hits from 30 years ago, but I’ll maintain to my dying day that it’s cheating if they don’t also make new music. And therein is our problem, dear reader – the new music so often is just not as good and frequently serves as an unwelcome reminder of why a band split in the first place. Which is why I was particularly nervous when my beloved Suede returned with new music in 2013, having meekly limped off stage ten years earlier following the underwhelming A New Morning, and its less likeable predecessor Head Music. Joyously though, comeback album Bloodsports was the sound of a band revitalised by nearly 10 years apart, and they’ve subsequently kept getting stronger, with each post-reformation record enhancing the back catalogue rather than chipping away at the legacy. Autofiction has been positioned as Suede’s ‘five blokes in a room, going back to basics’ album, which is true to the extent that it’s rich in urgency and energy, probably more so than anything they’ve produced since Coming Up. It’s also an impeccably melodic record, and beautifully captured for all the talk of rawness surrounding it. Brett Anderson’s voice has always been a massive part of Suede’s sound, and the decades have seen it mature (almost) as gracefully as Bowie’s. For decades, when they’ve got it right, Suede’s brilliance has lain in capturing the grit and grime of the world and presenting it all back to us to savour via the medium of sky-scraping rock compositions. And they’ve nailed it wonderfully again on Autofiction, which is never better than in those moments when Anderson is hurtling at full throttle, foot on the monitor, like he does on Personality Disorder and 15 Again. Indeed, towards the middle of the record, he proudly exclaims, “That boy on the stage, well he can’t control it”. And long may that continue. Released: 16.09.22

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH Lambchop – The Bible (City Slang, 30.09) // DITZ – The Great Regression (Alcopop! Records, 16.09) // Shygirl – Nymph (Because Music, 30.09) //The Soft Moon – Exister (Sacred Bones, 23.09) //Tension Span – The Future Died Yesterday (Neurot Recordings, 30.09) // Blancmange – Private View (London Records, 30.09) // Horace Andy – Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound, 16.09) // Lissie – Carving Canyons (Lionboy Records, 16.09) // The Paranoyds – Talk Talk Talk (Third Man Records, 09.09) //Beth Orton – Weather Alive (Partisan Records, 23.09) // Editors – EBM (Play It Again Sam, 23.09) // The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field (Carpark Records, 16.09) // Two Door Cinema Club – Keep On Smiling (Lower Third, 02.09) //The Proclaimers – Dentures Out (Cooking Vinyl, 16.09) // No Age – People Helping Out (Drag City, 16.09) // Dr John – Things Happen That Way (Rounder Records, 23.09) // Plastic Mermaids – It’s Not Comfortable To Grow (Sunday Best Recordings, 30.09) //Air Waves – That Dance (Fire Records, 09.09) // The Comet Is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse! Records, 23.09) // OFF! - Free LSD (Fat Possum, 30.09)


Words: Jake Anderson Since the pandemic, Andrew Bradley has returned to the North East music scene with a vengeance. Releasing three EPs in 2020, a debut album in 2021, and now his sophomore album, the artist is clearly undergoing a purple patch of creativity. Parasomniac is more of that hypnagogic pop that the artist known for, incorporating eerie, lo-fi vocals piercing through haunting, misty, synth-layered instrumentals, and it’s a sound that Bradley has mastered. At just 36-minutes long it seems short for an album, but every second is used efficiently as Bradley dissects topics relating to his nightmares and mental health. Its brevity is enhanced by the refined structure of the album, as nothing outstays its welcome and nothing feels short-lived. There’s a perfect balance between hazy, sombre songs and light, melancholic tunes. Released: 01.09.22

3.5 / 5 COURTING GUITAR MUSIC (PLAY IT AGAIN SAM) Words: Evie Nicholson Guitar Music seems like an oddly reductive title for Liverpool-based indie rock virtuosos, Courting. Releasing their debut album in a musical landscape dominated by cynical post-punk grittiness, Guitar Music stands out. Although tracks like Tennis echo their earlier successful releases like Popshop, in general Courting have broadened their sound to include a more glitchy, angular industrial pop. Tracks like Crass achieve this brilliantly. Occasionally, the album can feel chaotic and disjointed, as though Courting can’t decide what their sound is and so opt for a kind of postmodern satire of Guitar Music instead (see Twin Cities). As a cohesive body of work, Guitar Music makes little sense. But as a series of interesting, witty and, at points, moving tracks it passes with flying colours. Released: 23.09.22



3.5 / 5




Words: Evie Nicholson Having seen electronic pop duo Jockstrap perform their debut album at World Headquarters a few months back, I’ve been greatly anticipating its release. It’s difficult to summarise what it is about or strives to do, because built in to Jockstrap’s vision of music is the desire to disrupt established conventions, sentiments and genres. Already released tracks like Glasgow and Concrete Over Water open with Georgia Ellery’s vulnerable half-operatic half-Joni Mitchellesque vocals before they escalate toward new-age electronic heights with Taylor Skye’s production. The band aim to challenge the pillars of pop through creating surreal but fundamentally fun music. Blurring alternative and pop, low beats and high, acoustic and electronic, ...Jennifer B cements Jockstrap’s reputation as one of the most complex and exciting artists at the moment. Released: 09.09.22

3.5 / 5 GEMMA CULLINGFORD TONGUE TIED (ELMO RECORDINGS) Words: Ali Welford Serially underrated Norfolk duo Sink Ya Teeth have barely lain dormant for two years, yet their resident synth maestro has wasted little time setting out her stall as a solo artist. Upping the ante from last year’s Let Me Speak, this second outing finds Cullingford exploring our relationships and the myriad of emotions underpinning them – from the fluid optimism of Holding Dreams to New Day’s pensive reflection and the scarcely concealed lust powering Bass Face. Sonically, the record sources cues from a broad assortment of electronic eras, its pulsing synth and stylish bass grooves doing the heavy lifting amidst a foundation of post-punk rigidity and Cullingford’s understated yet course-setting vocal. A progressive step built from familiar touchstones, Tongue Tied proves another rewarding solitary venture. Released: 02.09.22

Words: Ikenna Offor Markedly more accessible than its predecessor, though no less heady, Sudan Archives’ ambitious sophomore effort charts a freewheeling jaunt through sublime soundscapes resplendent with alt. flourishes, brooding atmospherics and esoteric eclecticism. Texturally fragmented yet tonally cohesive, Natural Brown Prom Queen intuitively traces an alt. futurist lineage that reaches back from Erykah Badu and Outkast right on through to FKA Twigs and Kendrick Lamar. Despite its sonic ambiguity, the record unspools with deceptive ease, lyrically veering between unfeigned vulnerability and libidinous rapture – a dichotomy best reified by the cooed domestic entreaties of both Flue and Milk Me, and Homesick’s unabashed sex positivity. With ‘Hot Girl Summer’ on its way out, it’s a safe bet that this’ll keep temperatures up in the fall. Released: 09.09.22

Words: Ali Welford Another winning entry on the young yet impressive Tulle Collective roster, this debut presents a Manchester-cum-Dublin-cumBelfast outfit steadfast in their commitment to skeletal aesthetics. Featuring current and former members of PINS, Girls Names and September Girls, Grave Goods already sport their share of post punk credentials – and with them the wisdom to shun a regulation 45 minutes, knowing their wares can be communicated in half that time. With scant room for subtlety, what’s left are seven cynical yet philosophical stabs at the pointlessness of existence, hewn from fiercely minimal frameworks with rawness and angularity at their very core. Perhaps the highest compliment is that Tuesday. Nothing Exists has the feel of a well-crafted demo; incisive, unembellished and fizzling with claustrophobic vigour which ruthlessly distils Grave Goods’ constituent parts. Released: 09.09.22

3.5 / 5




Words: Ali Welford For bilingual readers, Christine And The Queens’ third record isn’t an ode to North Yorkshire stargazing, rather the exploits of the artist’s new alias, the eponymous Redcar. This latest character heralds the French star’s most expansive, high-concept undertaking to date – though frequently you’re left with the impression he was created with the ambitious contemporaneous live production in mind as opposed to a traditional studio effort. Indeed, for all its outstanding high points (the exultant Tu sais ce qu’il me faut; the ethereal Cocteaus-echoing My Birdman), Redcar – perhaps by design – lacks the immediacy and universality of its predecessors. The eight-and-a-half-minute Combien de temps epitomises its disposition; a plodding, none-too-subtle hint that this project’s true calling awaits on the live stage. Released: 23.09.22

Words: Luke Waller Were it not for Pixies, the face of alternative rock would be unrecognisable. Champions of loud choruses and gentle verses amongst myriad other idiosyncrasies, and without whom Radiohead may have gone uninspired and Nirvana ungalvanised, Pixies and their 60s-inspired punk live on, now releasing a fourth album since their reformation. Doggerel is, unfortunately, no match for the unrestrained chaos and earworm-ish tunes of their magnus opi Doolittle and Surfer Rosa. The spaghetti western overtones of leading single Vault of Heaven somewhat echo the surfer rock of Here Comes Your Man; bass-charged opener Nomatterday seems born of the same self-deprecatory ideascapes of Joker. Doggerel remains true to the things that make Pixies who they are, but lacks two things: an obvious nadir and a true climax. Released: 30.09.22









Words: Laura Doyle You’re not seeing things – Colchester-based punk rock quartet Pet Needs really do have another album out, barely 18 months after the release of their debut Fractured Party Music. Primetime Entertainment still seethes with the rambunctious wit that made its predecessor so entertaining. But in a move that’s somehow equal parts daring and expected, their tightly-wound emotions interlaced with addictive punk beats have take a decidedly introspective turn. Spirals embodies the frantic mental strain of an emotional breakdown (with heavy breakdowns aplenty to match the mood), while album opener Lost Again emphasises the importance of self-care. Throughout it all, Pet Needs maintain their joyous experimentation: even Ibiza in Winter, a song of desperation and exhaustion, makes room for singer Johnny Marriott’s vocal play. Released: 09.09.22

Words: Jade Broadhead Sometime Muncie Girl Lande Hekt’s second LP feels more like an album than Going To Hell’s collection of songs, a cohesion that results in an ultimately uplifting, if often melancholic, record. Dreamy opener Half With You joyfully explores Lande’s coming out and there’s a beautiful positivity to Take A Break, even if that break was an enforced one. Lande’s solo work is less punky than her band, with Backstreet Snow smothered in 80’s American indie, whilst the intro to the gender exploration of Cut My Hair is – perhaps knowingly – lifted from James’ Born Of Frustration. Ballad Always Hurt laments on the sadness that Lande has felt throughout her life, but First Girlfriend offers plenty of hope for an artist truly finding her voice. Released: 23.09.22

Words: Lee Fisher Oren Ambarchi – peripatetic improviser and voracious collaborator – has been in fantastic form for a few years now, and Shebang! is a worthy addition to his catalogue. Starting out with tentative, rippling guitar and finishing some 35 minutes later with an extended passage that feels like a beautiful release, a much-needed deep breath, Shebang! calls to mind everything from The Necks to Pat Metheny’s As Wichita Falls to Silent Way-era Miles, but still sounds unmistakably part of Ambarchi’s journey. There are contributions from the likes of pedal steel legend BJ Cole and the gloriously ubiquitous Jim O’Rourke, with Ambarchi’s guitar working in mysterious ways throughout. Shebang! is a lesson in sustained, shimmering tension and demands your time and a good pair of headphones. Released: 30.09.22


4.5 / 5





Words: Jade Broadhead Sydney-based Bloods’ debut is half pop punk melodious gems like the Blondie-esque Thinking Of You Thinking Of Me, and half in-your-face three chord punk blasts such as BOSS! Cherry is The Replacements at their brattiest best whilst Southern Light is all Veruca Salt 90’s girl-fronted grunge. An undoubted highlight is I Like You, a perfect pop song that lifts the riff from The Breeders’ Cannonball and calls on the services of Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace on vocals. There’s no harm in wearing your influences on your sleeve, and Bloods still manage to serve up the odd surprise like on opening track Radical, a re-imagined Chilean protest song, and on the beautiful acoustic lullaby, Chasing Constellations. Released: 23.09.22


Words: Robin Webb An epic long-form release of moody textures, satin and velour which lingers and swaggers, cocktail in one hand, a smoking PPK in the other, and gets you right between the eyes. This is to be your swan song. Sonically down-tempo, glistening in neon blotched raindrops at the dead of night, brooding alleys in a murky past, a soundtrack to nothing. Jade Vincent, Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes have coalesced together again to create an encyclopaedia of imaginary Morricone-esque spaghetti thrillers in a noir universe of dying breaths and world weary heartache. There’s so much to highlight in this luxuriant opus; Dusty, Brel, Hazelwood, Lynch only gives the merest of glimpses into the complexity on display, it’s an experience worth taking. Released: 02.09.22

Words: Lee Fisher Often pigeonholed alongside the American Primitive style of Fahey, Basho and the rest, there’s a great deal more to Marisa Anderson’s music than that might suggest, and Still Here gives full expression to her restless and affecting spirit. Coming after a couple of excellent collaborations (with Jim White and William Tyler respectively) and with a track included here – the lovely, limpid Night Air – ending up as a Matmos sample, Still Here is possibly her best yet. Whether duetting with herself as on the plangent, powerful The Fire This Time, bringing a new level of ache to Mexican folk classic La Llorona or tapping into something particularly and sweetly melancholy on Beat The Drum Slowly, Still Here is a gentle, absorbing delight. Released: 23.09.22


3.5 / 5






Words: Matt Young In lockdown 2020, with three young children at home, Santigold somehow forged the space necessary to craft a brand new album, Spirituals, centred around rediscovering herself as an artist, something she’d set aside whilst in survival mode with family prioritised and the world raged with the pandemic, California wildfires and social justice protests. Lyrically it signposts a more beautiful future, an escape from that present. Collaborating remotely with the likes of Rostram, Dre Skull, Nick Zinner and SBTRKT amongst the long list of producers and contributors, Santigold mixes dance pop vibes with more expressive forms for her art. Closing tracks Ain’t Ready and Fall First both stand out notably, but Spirituals is buoyed throughout with oceans of hope and builds to a joyful, rousing climax. Released: 09.09.22

Words: Luke Waller If the Viking and pagan metal of Turisas, Týr and Amon Amarth no longer strikes fear into your very heart, venture eastwards to the fabled steppes of Genghis Khan and lend your ear to the formidable force that is The Hu – if ye dare. Amidst the strange and enigmatic tones of traditional möring qughurs and tovshuurs, incomprehensibly deep guttural throat singing and battle cries conjure up the legendary spirit of the Mongol hordes, one of human history’s most mystery-shrouded episodes; a forbidding power which grew to become the largest contiguous empire the world has ever seen. Between warlike epic Black Thunder, the crowd-pleasing anthem of This Is Mongol, and Mongols-round-the-campfire songs Triangle and Mother Nature, Rumble Of Thunder is not an album to underestimate, nor one to miss. Released: 02.09.22

Words: Tom Astley If you like The Mars Volta, you can’t have missed that they have a new album out. You’ve probably heard singles and thought ‘well, that sounds pretty pop.’ Yeah. The rest of the album is too. It’s ‘accessible’, if that’s what you want from your progressive rock. Songs have verses and choruses that sound like they are the same song. Songs run for three minutes. There’s very little that’s weird aside from the occasional conservative bit of reverse guitar, occasional Spanish lyrics and Latin cross rhythms, but melded with a more funk, 70s RnB soundworld, which it makes the album sound in places more like Silk Sonic than Frances The Mute. Which, after a couple of listens, and in the right mindset…is good. Released: 16.09.22



Hi, I’m Jimmy Beck, co-owner and promoter at KU in Stockton. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the venue, which also means I’ve been booking live shows for two decades which is pretty mad! In that time we have had some very special nights at the venue and we’ve seen some bands play our gaff loading out of small cars and go on to play the main stages at festivals. Like most venues we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve loved every minute of it. Coming up on Saturday 24th September is the fourth instalment of The Gathering Sounds – a multi-stage event in Stockton which started in 2018 to showcase new and exciting talent. Choosing just a few artists from the event for this mixtape was really difficult, but after much deliberation I’ve narrowed it down to this bunch.

TOM A SMITH NEVER GOOD ENOUGH We’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tom since he was a young lad. We were tipped off about a kid who was ‘wowing’ crowds at Kendal Calling and I had to see what the fuss was about. Initially I got him in to support acts like Twisted Wheel – even then he was very confident and a gifted guitar player and you just knew he was going to make his mark in later years. It’s great to see him rubbing shoulders with the stars and playing festivals like Glastonbury, and it’s very well deserved. When I first heard Never Good Enough I was blown away by the quality of it, the smooth tempo sets it aside from his other music. It’s a very sincere song and extremely catchy and I’m sure it will become a set list staple.

DEAD PONY SHARP TONGUES Dead Pony are rising stars on the Glasgow indie punk scene. We thought they were excellent when they first performed in Stockton as Crystal. After a name change and a few years later they went down a storm again as Dead Pony on the This Feeling stage. They return to

the festival after a huge year performing at big events like Glastonbury, Tramlines, Kendal Calling and the small matter of a BBC Maida Vale session for Jack Saunders.

STONE LET’S DANCE TO THE REAL THING The Liverpool crew are one of the hottest bands in the UK right now and have been included in many a top tip list since they broke through. At Stockton Calling we witnessed that the hype was very real as they played a set with one the biggest mosh pits I’ve seen in KU, backed up with noisy anthems and enough energy to light a city. We were overwhelmed when they confirmed for Under The Influence stage.

CVC DOCKING THE PAY I can’t champion this band enough – I’ve been telling everyone to make a point of going to see them if they are playing anywhere near them. I stumbled across the Welsh six-piece towards the end of last year and booked them in straight away. When they played they didn’t disappoint one bit! The first

thing you notice is their chemistry on stage, it really pulls you into their show and the music is an explosion of psych, rock, blues and big hooks – expect big things from these!

THE BUG CLUB THE FIXER An unbelievable garage band from South Wales who play a fast and furious live set of catchy, fuzzy punk songs. They have a big sound for a trio, with a lot going on. We’re really looking forward to seeing them play The Georgian Theatre stage this year!

THE K’S GLASS TOWNS I’m finishing off the Mixtape with the ARC headliner and one of the biggest unsigned bands in the country right now, The K’s. They are selling out venues and playing the main festival stages in the UK and abroad. They absolutely own the stage when they play, with the songs to back it up. To top it off, they are a really nice bunch of lads to work with. You have to literally turn the leccy off to stop them playing, which is what I love about them and so do the fans!





Wor Castle, Your Castle and highlight that we have movie nights, tours, talks, theatre, opera nights and workshops.


2nd Film - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 3rd Workshop - The Lord of the Rings inspired Tea Pot Making with Muddy Fingers Pottery 3rd & 4th Music - Dido & Aeneas - Opera by Harlekin Studio 6th Talk - Sanctified with Blood: Conflict & Violence in the Age of the Crusades 9th Film - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 16th Film - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 23rd Talk - Living Autopsy with Dr Suzy Lishman CBE 27th Theatre - Don’t go into the Cellar: Restless Graves & other Ghostly Tales 30th Film - The Lost Boys


8th Film - The Rocky Horror Picture Show 8th Talk - The Resurrection Men: Body Snatchers in the 19th Century 15th Talk - Dissection & Display of Bodies 16th Film - Taste of Fear 21th Film - Hocus Pocus 22nd Film - Nosferatu the Vampyre 22nd Talk - Witchcraft, Magic & Money in the Nineteenth-Century North East 28th Film - The Exorcist 31st Tour - All Hallow’s Eve Exclusive Tour




12-16 October 2022 Immerse yourself in sound and light for a spectacular journey through earth, sea and sky at Durham Cathedral this autumn.

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