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

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As summer approaches, there’s always a host of great events happening across the North East, and one of these is our very own NARC. Fest. Taking place across the Ouseburn area of Newcastle on Saturday 1st July, NARC. Fest is the musical arm of the annual community Ouseburn Festival, which celebrates creativity and culture in the Valley. This year there are seven stages of musical goodness for you to take in, all with stellar line-ups. Best of all, it’s completely free. So, let’s see what this year’s musical extravaganza has in store, and don’t forget to put 1st July in your diaries!

The Tyne Bar
Curated by Confusion is Next, The Tyne Bar’s outdoor stage is the place to go for your annual NARC. Fest dose of the best noisy alt acts. London-based HORSEFIGHT are galloping up north to headline: expect unbridled energy, spiky vocals and huge riffs from the quartet that features former Yourcodenameis:Milo front man and current Young Legionnaire/Losers member Paul Mullen and his Young Legionnaire band mate Dean Pearson. Glaswegian trio Donnie Willow are currently making waves on the scene, blending elements of math-rock, post-hardcore and metal to explosive effect. Self-proclaimed purveyors of ‘low down and dirty doom punk’, Newcastle trio Cheap Lunch must be experienced live to fully appreciate their dark, fuzzy racket, and Weakdaze’s live shows never fail to be passionate affairs with plenty of sing-alongs. Kicking things off are rowdy Geordie trio Parks – their snotty hardcore punk has a grungy twist – think Gallows meets Mudhoney.

The Tanners Arms
Local promoter Endless Window can always be relied upon to present the best in cutting-edge sounds, and their diverse line-up includes two headliners and one act making their first live appearance in over a decade. Richmond hip-hop icons Ceiling Demons are guaranteed to deliver a memorable performance and with the band preparing their debut full-length for release this autumn, this might be your last chance to catch them in such an intimate environment. Sharing headline duties are mesmerizing Euro Wave auteurs Transfigure who are steadily building up a significant national and international fan base with their dark pop melodies. Sheffield duo Duck blend punk thrills and electronic beats to make them Yorkshire’s own answer to Le Tigre. h773m will provide an intense and brilliant exploration of old-school rave’s seedy underbelly, and electronic two-piece The Fishery Commission make a very welcome return to open the stage after an eleven-year hiatus.

The Free Trade Inn
The theme of Tiny Lights’ cracking line-up is noisy DIY pop music, and quite fittingly it will be headlined by Teesside fuzzbombs Mouses, whose songs live right in that glorious sweet-spot of fantastically catchy and gratifyingly heavy. Mouses will be preceded by Glasgow-based band Life Model, whose beautifully visceral blend of shoegaze and noise-pop gains new fans every time they visit Tyneside. Ultra-urgent, hyper-energetic power-pop duo The Noise & the Naive will be major contributors to what will be consistently hefty noise levels around the Free Trade on the evening, while the mesmerising Competition will open the stage with his darkly alluring experimental pop music.

The Cluny
If you want to catch one of UK indie’s serious ones to watch, head to The Cluny for headliners PLAZA who are championed by the likes of Huw Stephen’s for their intelligent song writing and chaotic live shows. Newcomers Penguin are also ones to keep a very close eye on with their protopunk-influenced alt rock, and Callum Pitt will hypnotise with his finger-picked folk riffs and stunning falsetto voice which echoes Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. After a ten-year wander in the wilderness, The Kentucky Derbies are back with their brand of impeccably crafted pop, featuring overdriven guitars, hook-heavy melodies and rich harmonies.

The Cluny 2
Once again, the excellent Jazz North East return to curate the bill at The Cluny 2, and they’ve bagged themselves the Mercury Award nominated Roller Trio as headliners. Expect evocative songs and electronic soundscapes that are delivered with a captivating swagger. Comprising of trumpet, guitar, drums and lots of effects pedal, MoHaWi features three of the North East’s finest jazz musicians, while improvisers D’Silva/Pope/Alderson will provide fierce, uncompromising free jazz. Opening this excellent line-up is Hapsburg Braganza, the solo project from Midnight Doctors band leader Phil Begg.

The Cumberland Arms
For your dose of all things psychedelic and soaring, head over to The Cumberland Arms stage, programmed by local shoegaze/post-kraut trio Parastatic. Headliners Behold a Pale Horse cover a huge amount of ground in their sets, from krautrock to sample-led soundscapes to full on psychedelic rock. Manchester three-piece Silver Vials will make you lose yourself in their looping, meandering guitar lines, synthy drones and motorik beats, and Tchotchke produce oodles of shoegazey goodness with a touch of Sonic Youth’s indie-rock and plenty of lush melodies. Kicking things off is Hector Gannet, the new solo project from ex-The Middens front man Aaron Duff with his astute but witty commentary on modern life.

Little Buildings
Champions of the local music scene, Little Buildings Rehearsal Rooms is the place to be for an intimate and noisy affair. Toon expats Sick Joy make a grungy, alt-rock racket that echoes Nirvana, Pixies & Smashing Pumpkins, and their headline set here is a chance to catch them in cosy surrounds before they go on to play much bigger venues. Bares’ urgent and energetic brand of anthemic indie punk can always be relied upon to get the party going, and local trio Duchess will tug on your heartstrings and soothe your ears with their sweet, soaring melodies after an aural assault from grunge trio Creature.

If you’re still craving more after all this, head over to Ernest, where No Wow will provide our official after-show party!

NARC. Fest takes place on Saturday 1st July across the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. Entry is free for all venues.

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