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Reliably informed

The December/January issue of NARC. magazine is out now, available from over 200 outlets across the North East.

Our cover stars are Bonnie & The Bonnettes, with exclusive images taken by Amelia Read. Ahead of two shows in the region, Leigh Venus talks politics, fresh perspectives and comedy magic with the fabulous Bonnie & The Bonnettes.

It’s a packed issue this month covering December and January events, including A-Tota-So at Head of Steam, Glasvegas at Hartlepool Town Hall; Gary Meikle at ARC; Vic Godard at The Cumberland Arms; Bell Lungs at Cobalt; Tony Law at The Stand; Hot Snakes at The Cluny; Justin Moorhouse at Darlington Hippodrome; Illuminating the Self at Vane Gallery; The Futureheads at Northumbria University; Tessa Bunney at Side Gallery; Ask Me Anything at Live Theatre; Dawn Landes at Middlesbrough Town Hall; Lis Rhodes at Tyneside Cinema; TV Smith at Anarchy Brewery; TOY at Independent; Sleep Token at Riverside; Rachael Dadd at Cobalt; Rattle Snake screenings across various venues; The Wedding Present at Base Camp; Slipknot at Utilita Arena; Adam Rowe at Customs House; Paul Smith duets at Sage Gateshead and profile articles on On Point Music Conference at Georgian Theatre and artist Ellen Ranson plus much more.

Interview-wise, Paul Jeffrey talks to co-founder Martin Moscrop about A Certain Ratio’s heady 40 year career trajectory from post-punk scallies to avant funk godfathers; James F Anderson talks to Sunderland’s avant pop siblings Field Music about their new album which spans subject matter as diverse as chemical warfare, gardening competitions and sanitary products; ahead of her appearance at the Words Weekend festival, Damian Robinson talks to Darlington-based writer, poet and spoken word performer Lisette Auton about her passion for the North East; Lee Hawthorn talks to rapper and Legitimate Anarchy label boss Nathan ‘Endem’ Miller about his new EP and being instrumental to the region’s hip-hop scene; Lee Fisher gets to interview his favourite band, Shellac, ahead of their Newcastle gig and speaks to Bob Weston and Steve Albini about touring, staying independent and, erm, Viz; Sophie Bell talks to Standard Issue podzine co-creator Jen Offord about representing women in all walks of life; Beverley Knight talks to Middlesbrough pop punk band Set Your Sights about the release of their sophomore album; Damian Robinson talks to Lisa Kekaula from Californian punk rock soul band The BellRays about their irrepressible live show; Eugenie Johnson dives into some of the diverse highlights from the inaugural Words Weekend literary festival at Sage Gateshead; Jamie Taylor talks to The Utopia Strong, a band who count a member of the Cardiacs, a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist and a six-time World Snooker Champion amongst their ranks; Buzzcocks bassist Steve Diggle reminisces to Becca Fergus about punk’s heyday ahead of a visit to the region; Caitlin Disken chats to Melanie Rashbrooke about The Six Twenty’s new interactive event which mixes performance and live music and Claire Dupree hunts high and low for Alternative Christmas shows with the barest minimum of a) clichés, b) children, and c) Mariah Carey. Also on a festive note, the cast from The Stand’s panto Cinderella & The Beanstalk tell us about the songs that inspired their show in Mixtape.

In the Review pages, there’s live reports from Aurora, Straight Girl, Moon Duo, Cauls, Beccy Owen & The Refuge, Burgerz, One Under, Brix & The Extricated and more; demo reviews of Spider Noises, Even In A Day, Firesites, Scotty Handy and Andi Grainger; reviews of singles and EPs from local artists including ROJOR, Hollow Legs, Pagey, Nel Unlit, Tall Shakes, Zak Younger Banks and more; new releases from Wire, The Just Joans, OOIOO, The Comet Is Coming, Squirrel Flower, Vukovi, Beans on Toast, Lafawndah and Free Nationals among others.

Enjoy!