FEATURE: Nathalie Stern – A Look Back At 2017 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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2017 has been a rather interesting year. We’ve been lucky enough to fill our pages with some incredible creative talent, so we asked a few of them to share some thoughts on the year just gone. We caught up with super talented musician Nathalie Stern, to take a little look back through the highs and lows of her year…

So, how was your 2017?
This year was incredible as I spent 2 months in Austin, Texas, which has been my favourite place on Earth since I first visited 10 years ago. I went with a good friend of mine and we had visits from boyfriends, family and friends while we were out there. In fact, we crossed paths with your Editor Claire Dupree and Paul Jeans and went for  lunch at this amazing veggie place around the corner from our house!
In the time we were there, we met some amazing people who have become close friends, and we saw and did some very cool stuff. I played a few solo shows as well as an improv gig with Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater) and Gretchen Phillips (local riot grrrl heroine). That was really quite unexpected as I thought I was meant to support them, but fortune and miscommunication had me joining their band instead! That was a definite highlight.

What was your best moment?
While in Texas, a group of us went to nature reserve on the Mexican border called Big Bend. We spent a few nights in a basic chalet surrounded by a landscape that looked like Mars: all bare red rock around us and hardly any other human beings around. We saw a tarantula crawl out from under the porch and out to some rocks nearby, we spotted a scorpion just next to the cabin, and one of us managed to have a shower with a very gnarly looking 5 inch centipede! While it felt like the desert was trying to kill us, it was an absolutely amazing experience and I will definitely go back one day.

And your worst moment?
I think a lot of people’s worst moment was the US presidential election this year. What a farce…

Your favourite band of the year?
I don’t have to look across the pond for this one: my favourite is Gem Andrews Band. Gem is such a high calibre song writer and performer and she deserves every bit of fame and good fortune that comes her way. She just released her third album and continues to rocket to new heights. Her band (comprised of local luminaries Nicky Rushton, Sarah van Jellie, Bernard Wright, Sue McLaren and Bristol-based Susanne Lambert) brings magical sparkle the songs, and they’re an absolute must-see.

Your favourite song of the year?
This one literally became my favourite song!: Rain and Snow by Little Mazarn. I met them in Austin and have been eagerly awaiting their debut release which came out 15thDecember. The song is an old Appalachian murder ballad from way back and this particular version is so delicately beautiful.

Favourite TV of the year?
Love series 2. So good – so sad – so funny – so observant. Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust are absolutely adorable.
I also really enjoyed G.L.O.W (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling) with Alison Brie and Marc Maron.
My most recent obsession is a holy trinity of Elisabeth Moss shows: Top Of The Lake, The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men.
Obviously Stranger Things 2 deserves a mention too.

Your favourite film?
There was so much controversy about the new Blade Runner film that I went in with fairly low expectations, and I was totally mesmerised by it. I loved it.  
I watched Pretty In Pink for the first time in about 25 years the other day and that was a real joy.

Favourite venue of the year?
I’m gonna say Northumbria Uni only because I’ve seen some awesome gigs there this year: Anthrax, Mastodon, Red Fang, Russian Circles and Blue Öyster Cult.

What was your favourite gig of the year?
I saw Melvins and Redd Kross at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds a couple of months ago and they kicked major ass.

What gifts are on your letter to Santa this year?
I really fancied the hard cover collections of Saga, which is a great comic book series. But I had it on good authority from Santa that he has something else in mind, so I bought them myself! I do know that he’s bringing me a couple of Polish sheepskin slippers for Hanukkah as he has done for the last 20 years. It’s too good a tradition to break.

And finally, what has 2018 got in store for you?
I say this every year, but I’m recording! For real, this time. So that should result in a shiny new record next year and maybe some touring. I’m looking forward to it!

Nathalie Stern plays with Noize Choir at Empty Shop in Durham on Sunday 17th December.

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