Teesside’s strong independent music scene continues to contribute to a soundtrack for many local music fans. Bands, venues and promoters have come and gone, but a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience have always remained. With local promoters The Kids Are Solid Gold getting ready to celebrate ten years together, I chatted to Andy Carr about the past, present and future.
Carr became involved when he returned home to Teesside after fifteen years living in Newcastle. Finding himself short on live shows and keen to champion the area, he decided to get involved. “It’s a great place to promote shows first and foremost. There’s a really great, knowledgeable crowd here, always incredibly supportive of the acts and of what we do. I think the secret is that each and every promoter is doing their own thing, making a kind of patchwork quilt where many styles and interests are represented. It’s also important to pay tribute to the support from technical people and venues. There’s a real common purpose about what we’re all doing.”
The Westgarth Social Club provides a key venue with soul and its own personality. Ideally located, it gives owners and promoters the ability to strike up a partnership that supports those on both sides of the stage. As Carr notes, “our first show there was in 2008 and The Westgarth has been our home venue ever since. We love what we do in there. Obviously in the meantime a number of other promoters have started using it and this has helped to maintain a very healthy scene in the town. The venue has a lot of charm and we’re really proud of what’s been achieved. Steve at The Westgarth is really supportive and has become a good pal too.”
If you’ve ever been to a TKASG show before, you’ll also have seen Carr personally introduce the bands.
“It’s just a good thing to do. It gives people a bit of context and background info on who’s taking to the stage. Often there can be some quirky anecdote that’s worth sharing and when you do this the band and crowd often start building up a rapport. It can be a really positive thing to do and it’s become the norm for our Westgarth shows.”
TKASG celebrate ten years by bringing heirs to the Scottish indie guitar throne Fatherson back to the Westgarth on Saturday 11th March. “We absolutely love the band. I’ve lost count of the number of shows we’ve done but it’s been fantastic to see how things are continuing to develop for them. They’ve made a terrific impact in the region and their recent sold out show at Barrowlands hints at the direction they’re travelling. I’m really proud of the support we’ve given them and hopefully there’ll be many more exciting and bigger shows to come.”
As Carr makes clear, there’s plenty more to come from TKASG. “We’re keen to put some bigger events on at Teesside University, and we have Princess Nokia playing there in May – she’s red hot right now. The Grandaddy show at Hoults Yard later this month is a dream come true and a fitting way to celebrate our tenth year.”
Which leaves just one question – where did the name come from? “It’s actually the name of a song by a band called Sportier,” details Andy. “The track was 46 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty back in 1998”