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

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Our free multi-venue musical extravaganza is back! Hitting six venues in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley on Saturday 4th July, this year we asked some of the region’s best local promoters to programme top musical line-ups for your delectation; we think they did pretty well…

Prancey Dog @ The Cumberland Arms

Celebrating eleven years of live music promotion, Chris ‘Prancey Dog’ Trew builds on his already superb reputation with a corker of a line-up. It’s all about the twosomes this year: formed from the ashes of the very popular and much-missed Baskin’s Wish, Newcastle duo Rice Milk deliver catchy lo-fi pop noise with personality; they’re joined by The Approved, another duo who present loud rock ’n’ roll with attitude; Billingham’s Mouses bring their lo-fi alt. rock noise to the table; and poetry meets Northumbrian pipes thanks to PiPE RiOT. Headlining the night, the mighty Milky Wimpshake, featuring guest chanteuse Sophie Evans, will bring their newly released album Encore, Un Effort! to the Cumberland, full of indie pop gems.

Lone Wolf @ Free Trade Inn

Alex Burgess’ line-up at the Free Trade will have alt. rock and indie pop fans in raptures, thanks to a top quartet of musical wonders. The bar with the best view in the Valley are hoping to welcome music lovers to an outside stage (weather permitting!) plus there’s a barbecue from Longhorns Smokehouse to soak up the suds. Kicking things off in style are hotly tipped alt. rockers Sun Dance, who are joined by Sunderland indie rock five-piece Cohesion, folk/alt-pop wunderkind Charlie Dancer and, fresh from a riotous Evolution Emerging spot, headliners Coquin Migale will bring the house down thanks to their upbeat indie sounds at the end of the night.

Endless Window @ The Tanners

NARC. scribe and music aficionado Mark Corcoran-Lettice offers up a bill of diverse, intelligent and incredible electronic art at The Tanners. Solo producer ako opens proceedings, with his dark and immersive take on house and IDM; producer/songwriter collective Grey Tapes present an outstanding live show – wriggle your way to the front for what’s certain to be a much-talked about performance; sci-fi synth pop beauty Zyna Hel presents her idiosyncratic and mesmerising live act; and heading up the night, Parastatic offer up post-rock guitars, pulsating programming and insistent rhythms.

Confusion Is Next @ The Tyne Bar

Another NARC. wordsmith Linsey Teggert oversees The Tyne Bar, ensuring it’s the place to head if you like your music unapologetically loud and rifftastic. Newcomers Kylver will kick things off at the outdoor stage, with their progressive instrumentals, fusing post-rock atmospherics with doom-laden riffs. Enigmatic garage rockers Avalanche Party bring their brooding swagger to proceedings, alongside the complex and lyrically dexterous post-hardcore noise-makers Shades. Welsh mentalists Falls headline the stage, the four-piece play insanely infectious blasts of face-melting noise with hooky melodies and shredding riffs.

The Great Northern @ The Cluny

Joel Thomson and Julian Ive once again demonstrate their impeccable booking skills, with an enviable line-up of local acts. The Irish-born/Newcastle-based Good Friend open the stage with their upbeat bratty rock ‘n’ roll; intriguing two-piece Nano Kino present spacious soundscapes, hypnotic rhythms and gorgeous vocals; autumnal indie rockers Grandfather Birds have been working on new material, expect thoughtful and epic atmospheric pop gems. Heading up the stage, fresh from their Glastonbury performance, epic alt. pop rockers Shields bring forth shimmering synths and fuzzy guitars.

Monkey Junk Blues Club @ The Cluny 2

Purveyors of some of the best blues music for many a mile, John Nellist and Andy Turnbull offer up a fine selection of folk and blues for your enjoyment. Also performing as Monkey Junk themselves, John and Andy will bring the house down with their authentic take on gospel, traditional, delta, rag-time and 12 bar blues. Joining them are duo Skylark Song, whose beautiful rootsy folk is full of subtle nuances and deft melodies; offering up a passionate performance, Lomax is one of the best solo bluesmen in town, he’ll have feet tappin’ and heads bobbin’ in no time; while Allan Andrew Symons performs dark and dastardly tunes dripping with murder, treachery, drink and dysfunction, in a true delta blues style.

OUSEBURN FESTIVAL – Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th July

NARC. Fest is the musical arm of the Ouseburn Festival, celebrating the diversity of Newcastle’s cultural hub. This year’s theme centres on Alice In Wonderland’s 150th birthday, with loads of activities for all the family to enjoy. Sunday 5th July offers up the ever-popular Grazer food market, fun-filled Parade and The Cluny’s duck race (buy your ducks from the bar in advance to be in with a chance of winning the coveted Golden Duck!), plus Seven Stories, Ouseburn Farm, Stepney Bank Stables, Toffee Factory, Tower Café, the Biscuit Factory and many more Valley favourites will have activities on offer. The ever-popular Cumberland Reel is back on the Sunday afternoon, providing the soundtrack to a perfect weekend with performances from The Baghdaddies, Monkey Junk, Heaton Voices and the ever-popular Newcastle Kingsmen plus many others. There’s also food on offer from Pizzette and Claw Hide.

Head down the rabbit hole; you never quite know what you’ll discover next…


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