EVENT REVIEW: Hartlepool Waterfront Festival (29.08.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The Futureheads by Tracy Hyman

Sadly, I picked the wet and chilly second day to descend on the Hartlepool Waterfront Festival. Yet, a storming bill headlined by The Futureheads meant it was a box of Bank Holiday delights rather than an autumnal endurance test.

Two young indie pop outfits in the form of Bigfatbig and Marketplace entertained on the main stage. Bigfatbig have bounce, colour and endearing poppy sounds, while to my mind, Hartlepool’s own Marketplace draw their musical roots from the 1980s (long before the talented crew were born). Also performing, Jodie Nicholson is another young and accomplished songwriter. Seated at her keyboard, the singer-songwriter from Hurworth had us all moving with the rhythm. Thoughtful, soulful and musically mature way beyond her years.

I saw Jodie singing along to Amelia Coburn as the latter uke’d her way through her original songs and highly original covers. The very appropriate Song of the Sea Rover set the ball rolling. The narrative-rich Dublin Serenade and the quirky recent release Cheese Song all grabbed our attention. Not even a giant waddling android tortoise could divert us from our focus; it was just one of the many carnival acts that interacted with the crowd, including a troupe of dancing human horses and Whippet Out puppet show.

I was torn between rapper Kay Greyson and the Tees Women Poets, both engaging women performers that take no prisoners, and which saw their word power pouring forth from both stages.

The rain stopped for The Futureheads, and I should think so too. The Sunderland quartet turned the clock back with The Beginning of the Twist. “We wrote this 10 stone ago,” quipped Barry. This stuff is timeless, as it seems are our fantastic four. Driving melodic guitars, Barry Hyde’s strident, but noodling vocals, all garnished with high velocity whoop-hoop-hooping backing. What is not to absolutely love? After the final track Hounds of Love they roared back for an encore, Man Ray, by popular request.

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