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

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Saturday 4th April marks the sixth Stockton Calling, taking over the Teesside town and filling bars and venues (and boats) with live music. It’s a real highlight on my festival calendar, and not just because we’re running a stage; attending the festival as a punter, I’ve always found it to be an inclusive and well-run event, with some consistently excellent line-ups. Here’s what you can expect from the event…


The ARC stage caters for fans of revivalist indie and two-tone, with headliners The Ordinary Boys following hot on the heels of two-tone ska legend Neville Staple. Merseyside quintet The Sundowners bring some up-tempo psych to proceedings, alongside local popsters Lisbon, the mod-inspired beats of The Spitfires, harmonious ‘new pop’ from Shoot The Poet, songwriter Jamie Farrell and quirky acoustic Teessider Andy Jones.


Sticking with what they do best over at Ku, there’s a superb range of top notch indie talent on offer with Leeds’ Pigeon Detectives topping the bill. Liverpool’s Tea Street Band bring some up-tempo dancey guitar pop, Sheffield’s The Sherlocks provide the indie rock anthems and keeping it rowdy, Mother play swaggering garage rock. Earlier in the day, Weird Shapes bring their prog-pop dreamscapes to proceedings; there’s epic post-rock from Abel Raise The Cain; urgent garage punk thanks to Avalanche Party; heavy rock from Lessons and indie rock from The Resolve, all ably representing the local contingent.


Face-masked post-punk noise rockers Clinic head up the Georgian stage, sure to provide a loud and visceral live show, while funktastic prog pop (and everything in between) comes courtesy of this month’s cover stars SLUG. Elsewhere on the line-up, there’s blues rock aplenty from The Purnells and echoey post-punk from Autobahn. Expect a superb live show from highly praised indie popsters Serinette; dance yourselves silly to the jangly sixties-influenced sounds of Sons Of Bido Lito; mosh along with fast rising garage rockers Demob Happy and the witty garage punk of Teesside’s Fleckt Pets.


The NARC. stage at The Green Room is graced with a host of amazing local talent, and topped off by the multi-limbed quirk pop demons Misty’s Big Adventure. An amazing live act, this will be a must-see performance! Get down a little earlier for the latest project from the former Chapman Family frontman, Kingsley Chapman & The Murder’s dark and evocative sounds will shake the very foundations. Also joining the bill are Durham punk-popsters Martha; the bluesy post-punk stylings of Cellar Door; joyous pop from Peculiar Disco Moves; post-hardcore heaviness from Shades; synthy splendour from Fractions; sludgy noisy rock from Tissue Culture; and lo-fi folk from Teesside troubadour James Kruman.


Ever-reliable promoters The Kids Are Solid Gold provide yet another line-up worthy of dipping in and out of all day and headed up by melodic Scottish alt rockers Fatherson. They’re joined by 6 Music approved alt popsters Longfellow, the stoner punk pop of Dune Rats and the melancholic post-rock of Foreignfox. Local acts Keep Breathing, whose anthemic melodies will please Elbow and Echo & The Bunnymen fans, and the gloriously sublime melancholia of Slow Decades make sure the North East is well represented. Glaswegian songwriter Aaron Fyfe brings a touch of heart-on-sleeve gruffness and Middlesborugh-based McCormick add some acoustic rock to proceedings, while ‘alternative folk electro death jazz’ band Dinnernanny bring…well…alternative folk electro death jazz.


Nouvelle Musique programme a line-up featuring great melodies and superb songwriters, with Dodgy (the band, that’s not a description) bassist and singer Nigel R Clarke headlining. Cambridge’s The British IBM present a no-nonsense set of retro-influenced rock, while local toe-tappers John & The Ragmen supply catchy riffs and great vocals. There’s also an eclectic range of folk, blues and punk from Billy The Kid, Joe Solo and Violet Deep respectively, plus acoustic charm from Cherry Head, Cherry Heart, rock ‘n’ roll from The White Negroes, superb Beat-inspired songs from Charlie Thomas and Teesside troubadour Davey Bandman gets in on the action.


Presented by Leeds-based independent label and promoter Clue Records, the Sun Inn’s back room will feature sets from grunge rockers Allusondrugs; glamorous post-punkers Post War Glamour Girls; Leeds-based Forever Cult, whose visceral raw indie noise has been enjoying comparisons to Eagulls and Hookworms; the raucously spiky and splendidly named (ahem) NARCS; bluesy rap-rock from Bi:Lingual; one-man garage rock musical maestro Girl Sweat; the bluesy bellow of Goy Boy McIlroy; scuzzy lo-fi duo Mouses; and alt rock trio Ilser open up proceedings.


For some reason booze, bands and boats is a top combination, and the HM Bark Endeavour stage curated by Pay For The Piano always offers something wonderful. Headlining the stage are Sunderland’s harmony-drenched popsters Lilliput, who are joined by acoustic duo Seafret; lo-fi dream pop sextet The Broken Broadcast and blues rock twins Gallery Circus, whose stadium-sized riffs have the potential to sink the ship entirely. Yet more watery puns abound thanks to dream pop darlings High Tide 15:47; plus there’s eccentric disco punk from Be Quiet Shout Loud, who will offer a must-see performance, alongside jazzy pop rock from Corey Bowen And The Midnight Dolphins and heartfelt acoustic ditties from Joe Ramsey.


In the previous few years, the festival has enjoyed a capacity crowd, so if you’re too late to the party to buy tickets or just fancy rocking up on the day for some musical treats, there are two free stages where all are welcome. Newly added this year, The Golden Smog will welcome a range of performers throughout the afternoon and early evening including Mark Oliver, Jake Taylor, Carl Eaton, Darren Reay, Billy The Kid and Andy X.

The lovely folk over at Sound It Out Records will also be providing some free in-store sessions with performances from Autobahn, Weird Shapes, Billy The Kid, Gallery Circus, Fatherson and Spitfires taking place between 2pm and 7pm.

Stockton Calling takes place on Saturday 4th April.

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