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

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The surprise announcement of, not only the return of The Futureheads, but that their first show will be headlining the ARC main stage should ensure Stockton Calling’s tenth anniversary edition sells out in record time. With the same stage boasting acts as diverse and brilliant as reformed Newcastle rockers Detroit Social Club, Guildford indie punks Sophie & The Giants and The Lottery Winners’ self-deprecating indie (“mediocre pop songs but play[ed] really well”) marks this year’s line-up as arguably the strongest yet; and that’s not to mention a Plaza/Yada Yada Yadas mid-afternoon double hitter which is not to be missed, and Tom ‘Mouse’ Smith opening up the largest of the nine stages in his inimitable youthful style.

With over 70 bands across multiple stages on Easter Saturday 20th April, Stockton Calling has become a staple for music fans on Teesside. Jointly promoted by ARC, Tees Music Alliance and KU, the festival is all about showcasing some of the best original emerging music, both home-grown and from further afield, alongside some established favourites and music legends.

ARC’s new second stage is headed up by Halifax’s The Orielles, plus sets from Glasgow songstress Lucia, high-octane indie from Retro Video Club and the alt. indie of itoldyouiwouldeatyou should keep things interesting after Abel Raise The Cain, Finn Forster and Motherland, who will warm things up early doors.

Over at the Georgian Theatre (home to Tees Music Alliance) everyone’s favourite ornithologists British Sea Power might have their wings clipped by a supporting cast including London-based pop punks WhenYoung, high-octane indie chancers Childcare, experimental emo kids Just Mustard and everyone’s favourite goth conceptualists The Black Sheep Frederick Dickens. The dark soulful garage of Fire (The Unstoppable Force) and Newcastle dystopian alt. poppers Twist Helix will round off an intense mix on the second biggest stage.

Friends of KU Bar Reverend & The Makers return to headline the iconic stage again, with support from Liverpool’s answer to Courtney Barnett, Zuzu, fellow Scousers Red Rum Club and some power pop from Bad Nerves. The Teesside contingent includes Para Alta, Dark Passenger and Pink Tide, while Sheffield indie poppers The Reytons and Leeds-based garage rockers No Fit State complete KU’s traditional mix of up and coming names and big stars. Over the road and down the stairs, The Vault will have indie rockers FEVA as headliners supported by bouncy indie duo Tin Pigeons, chaotic rap punk newbies BILK, Norwich’s Youth Killed It, Newcastle’s own Sleep Tape, the dreamy bittersweet odes of Far Caspian, Manc slackers Faux Pas, with local indie rockers Club Paradise, The Balcony and the ever-dependable Joe Ramsay cracking the boards early on.

Andy Carr’s The Kids Are Solid Gold host a reassuringly eclectic line-up at Storytellers which features spacey psych-rockers Plastic Mermaids headlining, TKASG pop rock faves Dancing On Tables, the alternative soul of VC Pines and multi-instrumentalist Roe. Further down the bill are grunge/punk four-piece Crystal, the UK Americana of Glass Mountains, harmonies and melodies in the form of Talkboy and lovelorn Tynesiders The Winterhill Transmission, who will be a good early draw for many in a typically expert curation.

It’s been a real labour of love for our programming team this time around, who have led us into our 10th year with a superb line-up and one that we’re really proud of

 Gan canny at Room 21, because after last year’s incendiary headline slot at Twisterella and fresh from SXSW festival and a quick US tour, Avalanche Party are back on home turf to tear a new hole into one of Stockton’s newer venues. Having been whipped up by the likes of Naked Six, exciting rockabilly duo Snakerattlers, young songwriter Emily Capell, North East funk and soul from Weekend Sun, Lost State of Dance and Megan Dotchin, the atmosphere should be electric. With The Shakin’ Nightmares and Tim Oxnard’s Oilbirds opening things up, Room 21 give us a very strong line-up indeed.

Just along the road at Musiclounge, NME faves Bang Bang Romeo headline with their sneering and soulful blues, while York’s Bull take no prisoners with their mix of American slacker rock with classic British songwriting sensibilities. Among the local names at the venue on the day are fuzzlords Dripp, Hartlepool’s Michael Gallagher, Heather Story and odd-pop sweeties Head of Light Entertainment, while Whitby’s DIY punks Panda Lasagne kick things off.

Last but not least, NARC.’s Green Room line-up boasts a truly mesmerising mix of some of the region’s finest bands. GGAllan Partridge open things up with their anarcho punk followed by Salsola’s catchy indie pop, Nath from Mouses swaps drum stools with Eddie & The Valkyries, lush new Hartlepudlians Spell Token will perform, plus there’s an outing from fellow Poolies Leopard Rays;Ten Foot Tom & The Leprosy Crooks bring full-on garage rock, while Spooker Rekkids faves Nel Unlit and UK alt. rap pioneers Ceiling Demons warm the boards before Teesside’s favourite disco divas Be Quiet. Shout Loud! wrap things up in style at the Green Dragon Yard venue.

With more to be announced for the now traditional free fringe events at The Golden Smog and The Wasps Nest, the only problem should be being spoiled for choice. We’ll let Tees Music Alliance’s Paul Burns have the last word: “It’s been a real labour of love for our programming team this time around who have led us into our 10th year with a superb line-up and one that we’re really proud of. Alongside the artists though goes an amazing team of local promoters – it would be unfair to single any of them out – who have each curated one of our stages weaving together a set of top notch programmes that individually would be brilliant enough but collectively are absolutely mind-blowing.”


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