Feature: Luke Waller – A Look Back At 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So, how was your 2021?
A pleasant release from the bowels of lockdown, through a chaotic few months of near-non-stop A-level exams, out of school, into the great Summer of Seshes, before landing comfortably into my first jobs writing for NARC., working in a pub, and teaching German.

What was your best moment?
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes launching into Ace of Spades by Motörhead when they were headlining at Download Pilot festival, near Donington. I don’t remember having seen a crowd burst with so much energy so suddenly before. 

And your worst moment?
Waking up the morning after celebrating the re-opening of nightclubs. Or opening a history A-level paper on foreign policy under Margaret Thatcher, rather than on any of the subjects I’d had time to revise properly.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?
Iron Maiden (as always), but Thin Lizzy, Nina Hagen, and Courtney Barnett for new discoveries. I’m left wondering how I didn’t love them already.

Your favourite song of the year?
Die Young by Black Sabbath, which I re-discovered quite suddenly, but possibly Sister Fatima by Roxy Girls or This World Ain’t Big Enough by Saint Agnes for new releases this year. Ecclesiastical connections completely unintended.

Recommended album?
Of albums released this year, likely Things Take Time, Take Time by Courtney Barnett, but On All Fours by Goat Girl as a close second. 

Favourite TV show of the year?
As someone who grew up with Horrible Histories playing about as big a role as food and drink, Ghosts, by far and away.

Your favourite film?
Get Back for 2021 – one of the few new films I saw this year, but it still (completely expectedly) blew me away. Bring back Beatlemania, I say. Other than this, I did fall down a rabbit hole of early 20th century German expressionism this year, and Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic dystopian sci-fi Metropolis probably has to come out on top within this genre.

Best book you read?
Stasiland by Anna Funder (2003); an account of people’s experiences with the Stasi in East Germany – including those of informers and the former political establishment, as well as persecuted individuals.

Best podcast?
Die Känguru-Chroniken (the Kangaroo Chronicles) by Marc-Uwe Kling – a German satirical social commentary-observational comedy series about an ex-Vietcong kangaroo living in Berlin. Perhaps a bit niche, but it’s very much my niche.

Favourite venue of the year?
Possibly the O2 Academy, as I’ve simply seen so many acts there through the years (including 2021), and it’s always high-quality.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
Probably Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes at Download Pilot. It was great to see an up-and-coming band I love headlining where metal greats such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, or Rammstein usually might, and it was some of the first live music – for me and the UK – since the pandemic began.

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2022?
Brighton indie/alternative band Porridge Radio – after speaking to them after a great gig at the Cluny in November, I may have a sneaky suspicion that they have a new album on the way. Since 2020’s Every Bad, by far the best album that year in my humblest of opinions, they have released several fantastic singles, including the wonderful 7 Seconds – I have no doubt they’ll continue to grow and become even better with time.

Any predictions for next year?
Four shifty-looking gadgies on horses.

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