Saturday 15th April marks the eighth Stockton Calling Festival, which will see over seventy acts play across nine venues in Stockton Town Centre in one day. Since its beginnings, Stockton Calling has grown to be one of the yearly highlights in the North East’s musical calendar, and having sold out in advance the last few years this year looks set to be no different, so it’s advisable to snap up tickets in advance. With so many musical gems on offer, here’s our handy little rundown on what to expect.
Revered modern arts venue ARC is headlined by Liverpool Britpop legends Cast. Scotland’s Neon Waltz have been hailed as one of the finest British up-and-comers, while the Britpop theme is continued with Chris Helme who rose to prominence as part of The Seahorses. Cape Cub has fast become one of the North East’s must-see acts with his sublime sounds and Pontefract alt-rockers Glass Caves will provide soaring tunes aplenty. Teesside troupe Abel Raise the Cain have drawn comparisons to Arcade Fire with their epic post rock and opener Tom Joshua will have the room spellbound with his delicate folk.
THE GREEN ROOM
NARC. takes over the Green Room stage, and topping the bill is one of the North East’s most hyped acts of recent years, Eat Fast, who won’t disappoint with their infectious garage-pop riot. A blistering blend of emotional and technical brilliance, expect a brilliant set from Hartlepool’s Future Horizon’s, followed by the post-punk of Casual Threats and the atmospheric psych-tinged rock of Newcastle quintet Kobadelta. Hartlepudlian James Leonard Hewitson currently has everyone talking about his witty indie pop, Mongeese provide progressive dynamics and Ridley Woof are purveyors of inventive, soulful pop. Rounding up the bill are razor-sharp alt-pop trio Slurs and Teesside’s own Samantha Durnan who will sooth the soul with her enchanting voice.
This year, Ku is headlined by Sheffield heroes Milburn. The Shimmer band ooze attitude with their explosive rock ‘n’ roll psychedelia, Freak has been described as a ‘one-man Nirvana’, while Newcastle’s The Pale White have been gathering followers with sell-out shows across the North East. Hartlepool’s Plaza lush indie anthems have seen them become ones to watch, and completing the proceedings are Irish hot prospect The Academic, cute-punk Middlesbrough quartet Plastic and Teesside indie newbies Pink Tide.
THE GEORGIAN THEATRE
Stockton’s longest serving music venue boasts a cracker of a line-up with local favourites Cattle & Cane topping the bill. Dramatic noir-pop peddlers Kingsley Chapman and the Murder will play their last ever show at Stockton Calling, while scuzzy lo-fi duo Mouses will put on a rip-roaring performance. Intense rockers Crows and Francobollo will both make the trip up to Teesside from London Town, The Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band’s party onslaught will be a sight to behold, and Fighting Caravans will deliver their bluesy rock tones with swagger. If that wasn’t enough, party monsters Allusondrugs kick things off in style, and respected journalist, broadcaster and author Vic Galloway will perform a special DJ set.
THE SUN INN
Expect a stormer from headliners Avalanche Party , while equally as raucous are Hull’s Brian Jonestown Massacre influenced Black Delta Movement, and the sixties influenced The Strawberries. Funky five-piece Happy Daggers supported the one and only Stevie Wonder in 2016, there’s Nuggets loving See No Evil, Manchester soul songstress Mali Hayes and Teessiders Towzer. There’s more garage rock shenanigans from Whitby’s Ten Foot Tom & the Leprosy Crooks, while former Bi:Lingual frontman Dylan Cartlidge returns with his new project Chaos Jigsaw.
Leading the charge here are Radio 1 championed guitar thrillers The Bay Rays. Street Party in Soho are a firm local favourite with their indie-disco tunes and the now Brighton-based Atlas Wynd make an impressive racket for a two-piece. Cellar Door mix early Kinks with the bombast of New York Dolls, Sheffield indie rockers Oddity Road are becoming known for their energetic live performances, and there’s hard-hitting rock from local acts The Voluntears and Feva. Mod-influenced The Citadels, unique youngsters Major Matilda and talented trio Freeman round-up The Vault stage.
Spine-cracking intensity make Leeds quartet NARCS (no relation) worthy headliners of the Music Lounge, and an equally intense performance can be expected of Sunderland sleaze-rockers PussyWillowFurryVenus. Crease offer a conglomerate of funk, rock and psychedelia and the fuzz-pop jams of Manchester’s False Advertising are bound to get the crowd jumping. Darlington darkwave/gothic-electro duo The Black Sheep Frederick Dickens are well known for their theatrical live performances. Also making waves at Music Lounge will be snake-hipped indie upstarts Scalesia, all-girl rockers Scream of Sirens and riffers Catlayse.
Programmed by new Darlington based music collective Tracks, the Edge stage is led by the thought-provoking, enigmatic Velvoir. Expect hip-hop from Ceiling Demons, riotous rock ‘n’ soul from The Circus Villains, psychedelic post-punk from Primitive Painters, earthy blues grit from Holy Nova and soaring Americana from James Gray Robson and the Lovely Burn. Eve Conway will also join this talented bunch alongside rap, hip-hop and trap artist Kv$hnoodle and UK rap collective Legitimate Anarchy.
There’s something of a Scottish theme going on at this year’s Storytellers stage. Fans of LCD Soundsystem and Franz Ferdinand won’t want to miss White who have been hotly tipped by NME and The Guardian. They’re joined by fellow Scots The Van T’s with their rapturous surf pop, Nieves who follow in the footsteps of Frightened Rabbit, the exuberant octet The Youth and Young and multi-medium musicians Isle. Heading up the English contingent are the Q-Magazine hyped October Drift, popular Hartlepool dreamy popsters Para Alta, alongside expansive soundscapes from Llovers and riotous rock from Durham’s The Yada Yada Yada’s.