FEATURE: EVOLUTION EMERGING | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Evolution Emerging returns to Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley on Saturday 28th May, and this year’s instalment looks to be yet another testament to the brilliant music emerging from our fair region. This year, an overwhelming 10 venues and 40 artists are taking part, check out our handy guide and start plotting your route!

Opening The Cluny stage, Seeing Hands are a dream pop quintet who include brilliant psych guitars and smooth synths. Chesterfield’s reverb-soaked four-piece Trash provide some utter indie brilliance; while EAT FAST’s glorious experimental noise has been championed pretty much everywhere of late, their single Byker Drone boasts a chorus that they comment as being “hooky enough to make Hugh Grant blush”. The Mersey-hailing She Drew The Gun bring their dextrous sonic palette to Newcastle before Teesside indie stalwarts Cattle & Cane provide headline duties; fresh from the release of their half-a-decade-in-the-making debut album Home, they’ve got a tonne of festival dates lined up, but more importantly are selling mugs as merch which surely shows they mean business.

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Cattle & Cane by Gary Walsh

Offering a respite from the guitar thrashing on offer elsewhere, Immy Williams draws comparisons with Lana Del Rey and Lianne La Havas. Bursting at the seams with bright melodies, Heist opt for intricacy over noise, sounding a little like Guided by Voices in the process. Brilliant singer-songwriter Eva Stone offers a pure, mature and soulful sound, she’ll be previewing her soon to be released EP. The eclecticism is ramped up by lo-fi garage rock twosome Mouses, who are loud enough to drown out a crowd of two thousand, what’s not to love? The night will culminate with a headline set from Kingsley Chapman & The Murder, replete with strings, horns and guitars colliding head-on and leaving cabaret death songs in their wake.

One of the first bands to play on the night are also one of Newcastle’s finest, the jangle rock of The Welcome Party is an utter gift and their new guitarist is a polymath of stage presence. Witty, Hartlepool experimentalists PLAZA also descend upon The Tyne Bar to show off the indie charms that have found them being regularly played on Radio 1; Drifts serve up a healthy dosage of left-field riff rock underpinned by wonderful melodic hooks; while Avalanche Party’s recently remoulded sound has evolved into a certifiable beast of garagey rock. Headliners A Festival, A Parade’s phenomenal brand of intricate mathy post-rock distils the finest guitar-centric music of the past couple of decades into one wonderful unit.

Cobalt is the de-facto venue for all your synthy desires. Pixies meets Sun Kil Moon in the hard to pronounce solo project helmed by Leon Tighe, Tchotchke, who clearly doesn’t let such a foolish concept such as ‘genre’ hold him back. Parastatic’s subversive shoegazey goodness has been championed by The Guardian and Lauren Laverne; alternative urban pop is on offer in the form of SoShe, a trio whose sound is cunningly unique and varied. Cocteau Twins meets Motown via the minimalists to form a funky little wonder from Joy Atlas, with sparse instrumentation and an astonishing vocal combining to make their minimalistic sound utterly colossal. Providing dubby, raw electronica with samples and excessive percussion, Grey Tapes are unforgettably raw and back-to-basics brilliant. Plus, topping the bill at the after party is Xaatu’s jazzy, R-n-B-inflected electronica.



An utter enigma, Outside Your House provide rap that foregoes clichés to create the epitome of glorious DIY music. The Stone Roses meets N.W.A., Jay Simian & The Midnight Society combine guitars and self-proclaimed ‘Baddz Beatz’; while gritty electro-pop is up for grabs from Talk Like Tigers, who combine watertight harmonies with synths and samples. A prolific Barbados-born rapper, Kay Gregson’s new project finds her approaching a fresh new sound that owes a lot to the phenomenal rap emerging from the US; and heading up proceedings are hip-hop duo Ceiling Demons, who are quite possibly the flag bearers for North Eastern rap.

James Leonard Hewitson is a self-confessed nonchalant indie pop scriber whose full band sound will appeal to those enticed by the twisted stylings of Adam Green and Pavement. Jake Houlsby is a rising star who’ll be known to many, thanks to his BBC Radio 6Music airplay and his Alan Hull Award for Songwriting. Casual Threats offer some glamorous, passionate post-punk, demonstrating all the glory of pre-1994 Manic Street Preachers with none of the twattiness. Ten Sticks provide a calmer storm, built around ambient, jazzy minimalism and sonic innovation; the polite lovechild of Tortoise and Brian Eno. Headliners Baker Island humbly describe themselves “lo-fi noise pop with weird bits”. A quintet whose roots are planted in MBV, GBV and Pavement; the touchstones for 90s six-stringed weirdness galore.

Behold A Pale Horse are the self-proclaimed lovechild of Grizzly Bear and Aphrodite’s Child; any band bold enough to draw a line between those two outfits deserves your time. Crying Lions’ bass-driven indie rock combines phenomenal groove with subtle solos; while the spirit of the strangest 90s rock lives on within Bares’ hearty dose of melodic, mathy gloriousness. Hailing from Washington, and bearing the flag for all the reverb-loving, pedal-tapping gloriousness of the Newcastle scene, are headliners Old Prides.

ERNEST Soham De__1461072765_128.65.101.133

Soham De

South Shields songwriter Eve Simpson shows some mighty promise from one so young. Bluesy/pop/folk duo YUMA owe as much to Billie Holiday as they do to Iron & Wine, their genre fusion is charming and intriguing in equal measure. Soham De takes inspiration from Bon Iver, fusing fingerpicking and a rather percussive approach to the acoustic in order to create some deeply soulful music.

Beginning a three-course feast of singer-songwriters is Haythem, a fingerpicker who looks to be an incredibly intriguing prospect. Callum Pitt is a dextrous solo artist whose music incorporates elements of folk, Motown, shoegaze, indie, rock and Billy Ocean (obviously). Kate Edwards’ confessional alt. pop pays homage to Sufjan Stevens and Belle & Sebastian; she’ll be showing off cuts from her Kill/Rekindle EP that’s due this year.

The virtuoso behind the innovative guitar stylings of Young Liar and Apologies, Life Mechanics performs a solo electronic set; Morpeth-hailing Hannah Brown brings her soulful folk to Blast, and rounding off the night is the prolific Ditte Elly, whose sound lodges somewhere between Nick Drake and Joanna Newsome.

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