FEATURE: Evolution Emerging | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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As spirited and creative as our wonderful region is, sustaining an artistic enterprise up here is tough these days. As such, the continued existence of Evolution Emerging is to the enormous credit of organisers Generator, as well as the bands and punters who for seven years have made this one of the most exciting and diverse events on the calendar.

This year Generator have entered into partnership with Ouseburn Valley developers Carillion Igloo with the aim of growing the festival, as well as protecting and enhancing the area’s status as our most vital and vibrant cultural hub.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday 23rd May and could be the best yet, with Radio 1 favourites Lisbon following in the footsteps of The Lake Poets and Let’s Buy Happiness by returning as guest headliners at The Cluny after a triumphant appearance two years ago. They’re joined at the top of the bill by Hyde & Beast, who will be bringing their insanely joyous 60s-hued pop to The Cluny 2.

Over at The Tyne Bar, Shields fill the third headliner slot on the stage which has been responsible for many of the best Evo Emerging moments down the years, and which might well steal the show again. Peerless Durham punks Martha join Shields, as well brilliantly indefinable youths Schultz, and atmospheric Teessiders Figmennt, with instrumental metallers Kylver opening the show.

a night packed with the region’s best new artists

Although the mothballed Star & Shadow will be a big miss, there are still plenty of reasons to drag your carcass up Stepney Bank. The Tanners has a cracking line-up, opened by post-punkers Massa Confusa, who are followed by nerdcore heroes Skull Puppies, Ilser and Bi:Lingual. Just across the road at Retreat @ St Dominics, there’s a lively and youthful bill on offer with Sun Dance, Shoot The Poet, Hazels, Street Party In Soho and Keep Breathing making appearances.

On your way up (or indeed down) the hill, it’s well worth popping your head into the intimate setting of Blank Studios, which boasts a satisfyingly disparate line-up opened by Symmatik, followed by an acoustic one-two of Joe Allan and Keiandra, before the night is closed by electronic artist ako. It’s similarly appealing down at Ernest, with the lush songs of Lesley Roley, Melissa Rose and Joe Ramsey followed by one of the region’s most underrated acts, What We Call Progress.

The two Cluny venues aren’t just about the awesome headliners I mentioned earlier – there’s a pretty stellar supporting cast too. The main room is opened by the hotly-tipped Coquin Migale, who are followed by Glass Caves, Samantha Durnan and alt-poppers Alexander before Lisbon take to the stage. The Cluny 2 is also rich on treats before Hyde & Beast, in the shape of Beth Macari, the magnificent Dressed Like Wolves, Orange County and Charlie Dancer.

The newest addition to Evo Emerging is the Little Buildings rehearsal space on the way to the Tyne Bar, where you can catch Canyons, Lord Swans, The Broken Broadcast and Antlez. Don’t forget the Cumberland Arms either, which will have Nano Kino, The Sons of Bido Lito, Cape Cub and The Great Curve in its cosy confines.

So, it’s a night packed with the region’s best new artists. Whether you’re planning your route meticulously or just letting the night guide you, you’re sure to find plenty to love.

Evolution Emerging takes place at various venues across the Ouseburn Valley on Saturday 23rd May. Tickets cost £5 in advance.

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