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

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Image by Art Mouse

As the music industry takes tentative steps back to live shows this month, we’re all painfully aware that it’s going to take some time before venues and musicians are enjoying full capacity gigs again. The lack of opportunities for musicians to perform live hasn’t gone away; as bands are clamouring to be let out of the practice room and onto the live stage, not everyone will get a chance to get back to full capacity for some time yet.

Which is why we’re delighted to provide some form of solution with the second series of NARC. TV! For those that haven’t managed to catch series one yet, we conceived of the idea of a magazine-style programme featuring performances and interviews broadcast via YouTube back in the summer last year, primarily to give musicians a chance to perform, venues and artists some much-needed financial help and audiences an entertaining and informative programme to watch. Series one made its debut in November 2020, coincidentally just as lockdown kicked in, and we found ourselves with a literally captive audience of music lovers hungry for great performances and informative chat. And, while we may be gradually opening up again this summer, we know that the appetite for programmes such as ours is still there.

Our driving force has always been to present quality performances from some of the region’s most exciting live artists, in independent venues which are the lifeblood of our music scene. For series two filmmaker extraordinaire Ste Bardgett, aka Art Mouse, is back behind the camera (and, on our second episode, in front of it too as Mouses perform a riotous live set), we’ve expanded to include two new venues in the form of Newcastle’s Boiler Shop and Middlesbrough Town Hall, who join The Georgian Theatre in Stockton and The Forum Music Centre in Darlington in hosting twelve performances from a diverse collection of artists from across the region.

Performers for series two include the inimitable avant folk sounds of Richard Dawson and thrilling Euro-indie pop from Twist Helix, who provide a pair of nicely juxtaposed performances for episode one, which launches on Thursday 13th May. After that, every fortnight audiences can expect yet more interesting interviews and engaging performances including sets from lo-fi garage punks Mouses; futuristic electro folk artist Me Lost Me; Newcastle’s fast rising alt. rockers Swine Tax; engaging popsters Komparrison; modern shoegazers Cat Ryan; Teesside’s acclaimed songwriter Jodie Nicholson; powerful emo punks Fast Blood; one-half of grime/rap duo NE Dons, Newcastle rapper NE-O performs both solo and with his NE Dons bandmate; the lyrical genius of Faithful Johannes and the effortlessly perfect sounds of Ruth Patterson.

continuing to provide meaningful support, performance opportunities and entertainment for our audience is our number one priority

Mary-Anne Murphy from Cat Ryan explains why performing for NARC. TV has been important for them.It helps us feel like we have more of a purpose despite having nothing much else to do in regards to music. It kind of spices things up a bit from the usual songwriting while stuck at home.” She says.

Having to press pause on a burgeoning career has been something Newcastle-via-Durham’s Fast Blood have had to contend with, as guitarist David Hillier explains. “I guess the most difficult and frustrating challenge for us this year was having to put the brakes on everything when we had just started to promote our first release. Obviously the pandemic has forced absolutely everyone to put their lives on hold over the last year, but it was a real momentum killer for us as a band.”

Komparrison’s Kaitlyn Kempen is excited to be able to finally showcase their newly expanded line-up. “The biggest challenge for us a band over the last year is being patient. We are so excited for people to hear our new sound, but with all the lockdowns it’s been tough.”

It’s not just artists feeling the pinch, venues like The Georgian Theatre in Stockton have had their doors closed for over six months, so welcoming artists back to their stage for NARC. TV has been a positive move. Paul Burns from Tees Music Alliance, who run the venue, explains: “We’re really enjoying being a part of NARC. TV – it’s great to work with a long trusted partner to deliver something so vibrant and exciting. It’s been the next best thing to a return to full on gigs – with artists giving it their all on some of the best stages in the North East. The only thing missing in the room has been the audience – but they’ve been watching in their hundreds. NARC. TV is part of our regular offer now, it’s here to stay and we love working on it.”

Without wishing to toot our own horn too much, we’re incredibly proud to be able to bring NARC. TV to your screens; the programmes are a labour of love for us, and continuing to provide meaningful support, performance opportunities and entertainment for our audience is our number one priority.

Fast Blood’s David Hillier sums it up nicely for us: “We think that NARC. TV and similar programmes have been crucial during the pandemic as they have helped the public get to see bands performing live. I think many would agree that they appreciate having the opportunity to scratch that itch at least in some way.”

So, as you’re taking those first steps back into live venues again, spending your money on gig tickets and behind the bar, rest assured NARC. TV will be there waiting for you when you get home.

NARC. TV will be broadcast fortnightly via YouTube, beginning on Thursday 13th May at 7pm. Watch series one online now


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