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

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Image: Martha

The 10th Evolution Emerging festival takes place on Saturday 9th June across ten venues in the Ouseburn Valley. Celebrating their milestone with a bigger line-up and more venues, over fifty acts are confirmed to play. Steve Spithray runs through what’s in store…

The riffs and choruses of The Pale White head things up on The Cluny stage, preceded by the likes of young singer-songwriter Cortney Dixon, fellow Tyneside melodic rockers PRIZE and Sauvage, who manage to blend indie moods with a heavy-as-hell twist. Hartlepool’s Michael Gallagher, Sunderland disco saviours Vandebilt, as well as Middlesbrough’s Leddie MC and sprightly indie popsters The Yada Yada Yadas (whose latest track Seven Years is an early summer anthem) round off a blistering line-up at the festival’s biggest venue.

Next door at The Cluny 2 hotly-tipped Balearic rockers Cape Cub will be joined by Teesside and NME favourites Llovers, whose recent live shows have had the cool turned up full as they blossom into something special, and Hartlepool’s progressive rockers Para Alta complete a perfectly matched indie trio. The Cluny 2 leg will also feature The Old Pink House’s woozy psychedelia and hip-hop beats, ethereal R’n’B tinged pop from POLO and the fast-rising songwriter Holly Rees, plus Sentric Music’s two non-North East picks Azunsena and Chiedu Oraka.

The iconic Tyne Bar stage, a big favourite with fans over the years, will feature the likes of lo-fi punk rockers Mouses who have recently celebrated their 200th gig, Sunderland’s favourite Britpoppers Social Room and genre defying (expect neo-folk to psych rock with a soupçon of krautrock and garage rock for good measure) Behold a Pale Horse. The headliners, Durham noiseniks Martha, will inject their youthful odes to love and life having recently returned from another North American tour, this month’s cover stars Okay Champ keep things nice and noisy, while ZICO MC’s badboi grime/reggae junglism is one of the North East’s best kept secrets. Kicking the stage off are fun punks Good Friend and ‘one man indie band’ Fever Days.

The Cumberland Arms is the official BBC Introducing stage, and features the sublime nu-folk loveliness of Tom Joshua, fresh from jaunts around the UK with Roddy Woomble and Bryde, post-punk attitude from Casual Threats and French/Geordie art punk duo The Noise & The Naïve. Also on the bill is electro songstress Jennifer Walton, authentic urban hip-hop from Reali-T, who is still riding high on the back of last year’s Stay Tuned breakthrough album, stereoscopic synth pop from Joyya and a festival debut from R&B artist Jamilah. Surely the most eclectic of all the stages this year.

First up in a really strong line-up on the Musicians Union stage at Cobalt Studios is Pit Pony, whose Smoke demo has caused quite a stir even before they started gigging properly. Headliners for the stage are alt. rockers A Festival, A Parade who will be joined by Duchess (who’ve been compared to Marvin Gaye and Biffy Clyro), fuzzy three-piece Cheap Lunch and everyone’s favourite indie poppers Headclouds.

Mustang’s Alley features Newcastle party rockers Shy-Talk, disco kings Be Quiet. Shout Loud!, who have a long-awaited new EP on the way, James Leonard Hewitson and his band now rebranded as Talent Show, folky Northumberland troupe Dansi, Newcastle jazz trio Archipelago, the mysterious Kkett’s ‘demented nursery rhymes’, electronica, hip-hop and ambient grooves from Calm C and JP Riggall’s atmospheric roots music.

Another new addition to the venue list is the Backyard Bikeshop, whose line-up includes FEVA, who count members of The Castells and Hazels and promise riffs and melodies, along with heavy rockers Ilser, pop rock five-piece St. Buryan, Chloe Chadwick’s Americana-tinged country folk, and Mayfare, whose reggae-inflected nu-indie will hopefully bring the sunshine. The snooze-themed Deep.Sleep and SleepTape will do quite the opposite, keeping audiences wide awake with alt. indie and energetic rock respectively.

At Tanners Arms, North East alt. hip-hop is in rude health, and unpredictable rap trio Ronin Clan’s Facebook story should be enough on its own to pique your interest. That’s not to say grime duo NE Dons, laid-back rapper Listaa’s tales from the Sunderland streets and Endem’s classic mid-90s influenced hip-hop won’t also blow the doors off.

There’s another mash-up of a line-up at Little Buildings, headlined by Newcastle’s psych rockers Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska and also including socially aware DIY punks Ghost Guilt, desert rock from a returning Dunes and Blóm’s ‘pua radge shit’, while Teesside’s alt. punks Bruto’s latest effort, Everybody Knows (You’re A Messed Up Piece Of…), is their best yet. Also on the bill are post-rockers Eigengrau, fuzzy alt. quintet Waves of Dread and Darlington’s melodic psych band Lhymes.

The incredible vocals of Imogen and the lovely melodies of Lydia Bennett are the only two confirmed names for Blast Studios, but it’s worth noting the venue will be home to a series of stripped-back sets from billed artists elsewhere on the line-up. The stage is also set to be filmed and video sessions will produced so keep your ears open on the day.

Evolution Emerging Conference

Generator will also be hosting the region’s largest music industry conference at Sage Gateshead on Wednesday 6th June.

Speakers will include representatives from some of the nation’s largest industry organisations including Musician’s Union, BPI, PPL, Help Musicians UK, Music Managers Forum, Music Glue and Sentric Music. The likes of Joe Frankland from PRS for Music, Lucy Scott from Manchester-based creative music charity Brighter Sound, Ian Evans from the celebrated Y Not and Truck festivals and Public Service Broadcasting’s manager David Manders will talk musicians through hard-hitting topics including the state of labels in 2018, how musicians can make their music pay, tricks of the management trade, mental health in the music industry and a special insight into gender inequality in the music industry, delivered by Generator’s WeCreate Project.

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