LIVE REVIEW: Kathryn Tickell, Holly Clarke @ Sage Gateshead (24.10.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Thomas Jackson, Tynesight Photographic

Exemplified by clear arrival times, table service and one-to-one stewarding, tonight sees Sage Gateshead re-open from lockdown with a clear intent to go beyond ‘just’ hosting live music shows and really push their ambition to create meaningful experiences for their audience. Led by providing exceptional customer service, tonight’s ambience and the venue’s warm and friendly team perfectly sync with the needs of a live show audience re-emerging from hibernation.

Opening a wonderful evening of music, Holly Clarke, playing her warm-up set from a stage beside the concourse’s café, shines with acoustic renditions of Northern folk music. Heartfelt and meaningful, Clarke’s 30-minute set feels more vital and poignant than usual; these are Northern songs, sung beside the Tyne, on an evening when one of the North’s most important venues brings itself back to life. It’s hard not to be moved by the occasion and Clarke’s ability to communicate both a sense of heritage and hope.

Having been ushered into Hall One, local Northern pipes star Kathryn Tickell carries the evening to its conclusion with an upbeat, well curated, performance. Supported by brother Peter, father Mike, and accordionist/clogger Heather Ferrier, Tickell’s 60 minute set is warm, moving and grounded in history as she takes us through nicely arranged versions of pipe/folk pieces which feel appropriate for the evening.

For all of the superb musicianship however, tonight it’s Mike Tickell who steals the show; his deliberate style of singing and spoken word reinforcing how important live music can be in its ability to connect us to each other as well as to our past and present.

An evening curated through world class service and music, and grounded in North East tradition; tonight was a perfect symbol of intent for Sage Gateshead as it builds itself back to greatness.

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