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

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With the pandemic waves still thankfully receding from our cultural shores, the regional music scene is booming as venues continue to throw open their doors and return acts to their audiences. Now, with summer on the horizon, brand-new festival Generator Live is set to launch a cross-genre celebration and exclusive showcase of the very best rising North East talent. 

The festival has spawned from artist support agency Generator, laser-focused on the needs of individual artists and the fast-changing music sector, and working since 1991 to empower talented individuals and nurture the North East’s music and creative digital industries.

A showcase for the artists Generator work with and others tipped as the ones to watch, music fans can look forward to a week of fringe gigs and parties leading up to a blow-out all-dayer on Saturday 25th June at Boiler Shop in Newcastle.

The whole thing kicks off on Sunday 19th June at Zerox with the Generator Live Warm-Up Party, a free-entry, one-week countdown celebrating North East Music and offering revellers a chance to bag some festival tickets. Monday 20th June launches the week of fringe events, all curated by North East independent promoters from open call artist submissions, with entry completely free with Generator Live tickets.

Collective NEWISM join forces with the KeyChange initiative to present soulful songwriters Dayna Leadbitter and Sisi at Little Buildings on Monday 20th; followed by fast-rising indie pop gang Komparrison, synth popsters Firesites and sludgy pop rock from YES CHEF at The Old Coal Yard on Tuesday 21st courtesy of Flat Four Recs and Shout Up!; R&B artist Chloe Castro, rocky noiseniks Ten Eighty Trees and cyber-sound explorers SQUARMS are on at the Head of Steam on Wednesday 22nd, promoted by Eastside and Guitar Wrist; on Thursday 23rd, your very own NARC. Magazine and Youth Music take over The Cluny with the Youth Music First Notes Showcase, featuring Kate Bond, Porcelain, Tom James, Tali, Sam Harris, Sara Heraoua, Alice Elle, Ayzee, and SYP. This is an opportunity to hear from the First Notes cohort, which sees Generator working with 18-25-year-old early-career musicians, providing professional support to produce their first industry-standard release. On Festival Eve Friday 24th, BBC Introducing and Northern Roots present the irresistible and ascendant brat-poppers ZELA, alongside scintillating Newcastle noise rock duo Pave The Jungle at Cobalt Studios. 

Generator Live is set to launch a cross-genre celebration and exclusive showcase of the very best rising North East talent. 

With the organisers committed to creating a platform for the best North East artists and creatives to come together to show the strength of the local music industry, the festival is also supported on Friday 24th by the Generator Live Conference, at which some of the UK’s leading music industry trade bodies will be taking over Ouseburn’s Biscuit Factory for a day of industry panels, roundtable talks, workshops and exclusive one-to-one meetings, followed by an in-person North East Music Industry Meet-Up at Blast Recording Studios. 

Generator Live at the Boiler Shop on Saturday 25th June kicks off at midday and offers up ten emerging artists at the tipping point in their development.

The radiant Kema Kay, who starred in Ken Loach’s critically acclaimed I, Daniel Blake, hails from Newcastle’s West End, his music describes the trials of his life and journey to becoming the confident and self-assured rapper and actor he is today. Straight Girl is the alias of Teesside-born composer and producer Remy Enceladus, the ‘grave rave’ specialist blazing a trail through the UK’s alternative, electronic and progressive scenes on a mission to prove themselves as the ‘Overlord of Electropunk’. Currently Artist in Residence at Sage Gateshead, Newcastle rapper/singer-songwriter Sagaboi is sonically subversive and fearlessly experimental, mixing infectious melodies with eye-opening bars and true Northern grit. 

Sunderland’s alt. rock girl gang bigfatbig erupted onto the North East music scene in 2019 – as seen on BBC Sounds’ Hot List and at Reading and Leeds Festivals, the group is now pushing their music into naughties-inspired pop-punk territory. Exploring long-dead lounge-Americana alongside bygone bits of the new wave, Lovely Assistant are now pouring their tender vocals and shimmering instruments into their second album as they work from a community centre in the North East. Hailed by BBC Introducing North East as a sonic force to be reckoned with, cutting his teeth across the region’s hip-hop and electronic scenes, John Dole comes laden with earworms designed to pull you closer. Recently making her American debut at the prestigious SXSW alongside rising stars of the UK music scene, artist, activist and alt. pop troubadour Ruth Lyon mixes homemade beats and mellow keys to deliver a melancholic sound delivered with attitude. An exuberant live performer who has already supported hip-hop legends like The Game and Akala, Kay Greyson has gained a reputation in Newcastle as one of the hardest working artists there is, her sound fusing the flair and style of modern hip-hop with the skill and sensibilities of the golden era. Jodie Nicholson defies genre expectations as a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter whose ethereal vocals, delicate melodies and emotive lyrics glide effortlessly between soundscapes of warm folk-pop, soft jazz, indie and electro. Ethereal and tenacious, Leeds-own VENUS GRRRLS implement riot grrrl aesthetics and ideologies, working to eliminate age-old interpretations and preconceptions toward women in rock through hard-hitting alternative rock music infused with electronic and astrological sounds.

If all that wasn’t enough, the party continues into the dark and beyond the small hours at World Headquarters, as self-proclaimed Tyne and Wear’s weird radio station Slacks Community Radio showcases a programme of emerging North East DJs tipped as ones to watch, with sets from Becky Woodcock, Georgi Murphy, Listen, Simon leeks, Kitty, Real Terms + Mike Le Taurus and Jon Cornbill, providing the icing on the cake for what is set to be an unforgettable week of blistering music born and bred in the North East.

Generator Live takes place at Boiler Shop, Newcastle on Saturday 25th June, with a preceding week of Fringe events at various venues.

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