Off The Beat #24

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Fortnightly Music Reviews from the streets of Teesside and beyond

Stockton Calling 2024, various venues, Stockton-on-Tees

30 March 2024

Chris Bartley joins me as special guest reviewer to cover the amazing Stockton Calling Festival. Once again the town centre was brought alive with music; a staggering eighty bands across ten venues. And a poignant tribute to local legend Tom Butchart in the renaming of The Social Room stage to the Tom Butchart Stage. It seemed fitting for Tom to be remembered in this way, he is Mr Sound It Out Records after all, with a vast knowledge and passion for music, championing so many Teesside bands.

It is so sad that since COVID that many music festivals have struggled financially or had to stop altogether. It makes us appreciate how blessed we are to have Stockton Calling going from strength to strength and the 2024 line up was possibly the most varied and diverse so far.

My first port of call was The Green Room and the sight of Maeve and the Trains taking the stage. Maeve in a £10 wedding dress bought from Oxfam Darlington (fact) and the drummer with a papal tiara. It would be fair to say I was hooked immediately and they didn't disappoint. A super cover of The Chats 'Mam stole me darts' and a tribute (not) to the beautiful game 'Ronaldo (I don't like football)'. Truly sublime.

It is nearly two years since I saw Sarah Johnsone at Darlington's Last Train Home festival and she has continued to go from strength to strength and didn't disappoint at the Ku Bar. A really soulful performance

covering all of her career from first single 'Tonight' to the more recent 'Sofia'.

Next up was the magnificent West Lothian band Dictator. With songs called 'Rubik's Cube' (including an audience challenge to complete it before the song finished) and 'Stan Smith' (possibly about the legendary tennis player), their inventive samples and Primal Scream riffs went down so well with the Storyteller crowd.

Getdown Services

At Ku Bar, Reverend and the Makers guitarist Ed Cosens previewed some songs from his forthcoming second solo LP 'Somewhere between dark and light' ('Doghouse' and 'Suckerpunch'). Beautiful songs with powerful reflective lyrics. Another great Sheffield songwriter alongside Alex Turner and Richard Hawley. Can't wait to hear the new album.

The final port of call was The Georgian Theatre and the apocalyptic disco musings of Bristol's Getdown Services. From a lockdown project that just grew and grew, Josh Law and Ben Sadler have been called LCD Soundsystem meets Sleaford Mods in some quarters which I sort of understand but they were such a joy seeing them live. With songs about evil landlords and Jamie Oliver, they had The Georgian crowd in the palm of their hands and finished with a rousing sing-along of Yazoo's 'Only you'.

Another epic day in Stockton.

Words: Chris Bartley

Pictures: Tracy Hyman

Off The Beat with Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman
Maeve and the Trains

A hot and sweaty start in Ku Bar, packed out for the first band of the day. Driving rhythms and punchy bass riffs, Dossers set the standard with their punk rock power tunes. Energy cranked up to eleven.

Next up is Bob Fischer opening the new Tom Butchart Stage with a tribute to Tom before the musical offerings commence with up and coming local band Jam Tub, a band very much on an upward trajectory. Alternative, gnarly punk rock blended with indie sensibilities, Jam Tub are anything but smooth and boring. One to watch as it’s still early days (they formed last year!).

The opening for the ARC2 stage is Hull’s Brodie Milner. Intricate guitar riffs are overlaid by more understated and pensive spoken word lyrics. Edgy and compelling. At times beautiful yet melancholic vocals float across gentle instrumentation. Lucky for us Brodie is coming back in October for Twisterella Festival.

After a visit to take a few pictures of Maeve and the Trains, I popped in to find out what the curiously named Tina Sandwich was all about. That’s the great thing about a festival, discovering new bands by chance. From the fast-paced synth-pop of ‘Fast Cars (and Movie Stars)’ to the more quirky, wonky riffs of ’Sick Girl’, Tina Sandwich hooks you in, building towards a noise-fuelled climax.

The Chase had every single person dancing in main ARC venue. Their infectious energy and fast paced

rock, ska, gypsy-jazz and punk. The jumping stomper ‘Trumpet’ had the dancefloor bouncing, and there’s even a stage dive from a willing fan.

Over at ARC headliners The Zutons smash out hit after hit, plus a new song or two. Downstairs a quick stop at the ARC2 stage and I was blown away by the punk energy and presence of DEADLETTER. Singer Zac intensely leaning over the front row to sing at us. Sax highlights and percussion elevate the tunes.

After a quick pit stop at Ku Bar to catch the anthemic choruses of Corella before ending the nights at The Tom Butchart Stage for the phenomenal psych rockers CVC. Lush harmonies, sumptuous guitar solos, soulful and laid back and clearly enjoying themselves. And what a finish they gave us. Bring on next year.

Words: Tracy Hyman

Off The Beat with
Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman
The Zutons CVC

DEADLETTER

Off The Beat with Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman CVC Tina Sandwich Corella Dossers Jam Tub Off The Beat with Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman
Off The Beat with
No Ripcord, The Lunaires, Seventh Heaven 5 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees The Kidz Are Alright! 6 April £8 + bf for 1 adult and 1 child, £4.50 + bf for additional Under 2s are free 12pm The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees The Amazing Spacefrogs, Mascara’s Lies, Dead by July, Chieftain 6 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Karl Phillips and the Rejects, Deadbeat at Dawn, All Out Attack 6 April £8 + bf 7pm The Green Room, Stockton-on-Tees George Boomsma, Jasmine Weatherill 6 April £8 + bf 7.30pm Toft House, Middlesbrough Classical Café 7 April £5 3pm The Crypt, Middlesbrough Town Hall Blues in the Bar: Gabriel Moreno & Jason McNiff 7 April £10 + bf 3pm The Georgian Theatre Bar, Stockton-on-Tees NE Thing Goes: Precinct, Hardball, Sin City Rockers, The Happening 10 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Razz 11 April FREE 6pm Rhythms Music Bar, Middlesbrough Live and Local: Falchion, Compression Session, J.W. Darwin 11 April £4 + bf 7.30pm The Forum, Darlington The Ransoms, Cherry Velvet, Evading Straights, The Casbahs 12 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Van Houten, Mt. Misery 12 April £10 + bf 7.30pm Play Brew Co. Middlesbrough Eli & The Blues Prophets 12 April £12 + bf 7.30pm The Forum, Darlington Listings subject to change, please check with the venue’s website for full information before booking.
Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman

Listings subject to change, please check with the venue’s website for full information before booking.

Off The Beat with Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman
Eaglesfest II: Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom (of The Burning Hell), Shotgun Jimmie, Withered Hand & Kathryn Williams, Mad Ones and many more 13 April £21 + bf 12pm The Waiting Room and The P&E Working Men’s Club, Eaglescliffe Lonely Goat Presents: Beatnik, The Tarrows, Mr Bigfoot, Origin Sun, Perfect Chicken 13 April From £5 + bf 4.30pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Nick Klein, Nic Krog, 1621, Sally Loves Sharpies 13 April £8.50 Cost of living £3 or £0.01 7pm Disgraceland, Middlesbrough Ponyland 13 April From £8 + bf 7pm The Studio, Hartlepool John P Taylor Band 13 April £12 + bf £15 otd 7.30pm The Forum, Darlington The Horne Section’s Hit Show 16 April £27.50 12+ 7pm Middlesbrough Town Hall Pet Needs 16 April £14 + bf 7.30pm The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees NE Thing Goes: Leazes, Beta-Bob, Cora Manchester, Formanmusic 17 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Theatre of Hate 17 April £22.50 + bf 7.30pm The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees The River Thieves, The Dead Seat, J.W. Darwin 18 April £5 + bf 6pm NE Volume Bar, Stockton-on-Tees Paul Potts 18 April £25.50 £47.50 meet and greet 6.30pm The Crypt, Middlesbrough Town Hall Millie Manders and The Shut-up, Voodoo Radio 18 April £15 + bf 7.30pm The Forum, Darlington

Stockton Calling

30 March 2024

Deershed Festival

26 July - 29 July 2024

The Gathering Sounds

28 September 2024

Listings subject to change, please check with the venue’s website for full information before booking.

Off The Beat with Robert Nichols and Tracy Hyman

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