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

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Image: Mi Mye

Middlesbrough’s multi-venue Twisterella is back on Saturday 13th October with its strongest line-up to date, featuring the usual mix of big local acts looking to make that next step, along with breaking and (where Twisterella excels) close to breaking national acts. Arguably for the first time one of those breaking acts is Teesside’s own Dylan Cartlidge, whose recent inclusion in BBC2’s The Mighty Redcar programme has seen his local support swell, so his 6.30pm slot at TS One will guarantee the early evening crowd numbers. Not to mention local rockers Avalanche Party, who will headline the larger of Westgarth Social Club’s two rooms.

Based around Teesside University’s Student Union stage, the festival utilises established venues on Linthorpe Road and Southfield Road along with pop-up sessions in some of the town’s coolest bars in nearby Baker Street and Bedford Street including Twisted Lip and Sticky Fingers. “We have an incredible display of UK and international talent playing the event and it’s brilliant to see a whole array of discerning music lovers heading to the centre of Middlesbrough from across the UK in order to make a connection with some of the brightest new acts around. It makes us very proud of what we do for our town,” says festival co-promoter Andy Carr.

Jointly organised by The Kids Are Solid Gold’s Andy Carr and Pay For The Piano’s Henry Carden, this year’s Twisterella will be more diverse than ever before, even if they are characteristically a little coy about it. Henry told me, “it’s not really in our nature to describe Twisterella as the biggest or the best or anything like that, but now that we’re in our fifth year of doing the festival, there’s a confidence about what we do. We’ve learnt a lot since we started the event and I think the track record that we have has built a level of trust with not only bands and artists, but also our audience. Ticket sales are well up on previous years and I think it’s fair to say that Estrons, Boy Azooga, The Blinders, Bryde, Avalanche Party and Kioko are our strongest set of headliners – it’s been amazing to see them all picking up plaudits nationally this year, so Andy and I are pretty proud to be bringing them all to Middlesbrough.” 

now that we’re in our fifth year of doing the festival, there’s a confidence about what we do

Discovering new music is an essential part of the Twisterella experience, Henry says. “As always with Twisterella, it’s not just about acts that people may have heard of. There’ll be hidden gems throughout the day and one of my favourite things about being involved with the festival is hearing people talk about their new discoveries. It’s definitely worth taking a chance on a few bands you’re not familiar with!”

Alongside Dylan Cartlidge an inspired line-up at TS One boasts Durham rockers The Yada Yada Yadas, promising Leeds riot grrrls Venus, Dead Naked Hippies and their brand of post-punk, plus Newcastle’s Shy-Talk and Field Music spin-off You Tell Me who keep things local before Kioko’s pop/reggae stylings round up proceedings there. A few doors down at The Townhouse, Teessiders Lhymes open things up followed by Vistas, local indie rockers Abel Raise The Cain, the suitably mysterious The Mysterines, Scouse dream-poppers Spinn and anthemic indie rockers The Snuts before Manchester-based genre-benders The Blinders top the line-up as one of the big draws of the day, as they headline Middlesbrough’s most underrated venue.

Image: Estrons

The line-up on the festival’s flagship Teesside University stage needs very little introduction. Boy Azooga, fresh from a debut Jools Holland appearance, kick things off as the now traditional ‘reverse headliner’, followed by a run of local cult heroes including rapper Leddie MC, disco rockers Be Quiet. Shout Loud! and indie popsters Llovers that should really get things warmed up. Alt. rockers Glass Mountain are then followed by Irish multi-instrumentalist Roe and Scottish punks Rascalton before hypnotic popsters The Howl & The Hum and feisty songwriter Bryde wrap up a cracking cast on the day’s biggest stage.

Kicking the whole day off at Westgarth 2 at 1.20pm will be the conceptual goth of The Black Sheep Frederick Dickens quickly followed by West Yorkshire indie rock trio YOI, and James Leonard Hewitson’s new guise Talent Show. Westgarth 1 upstairs gets going at 5pm with hotly tipped folkie Harri Endersby, followed by grunge punkers CRYSTAL back downstairs. Alternating between the two rooms, alt. indie quintet Mi Mye will be followed by the genre-fluid Giant Party before the region’s own indie heroes Cape Cub, Bradford’s wonky pop band Fling and lovely London indie kids Night Flowers again upstairs. If you are not all already out of breath hurtling up and down the stairs, rounding things off downstairs at Westgarth 2 are mighty Leeds punkers Estrons before one final hurrah as Avalanche Party wrap up the day with what should be a suitably raucous finale in the bigger upstairs room.

Stage times are staggered throughout the day to keep clashes to a minimum so be prepared for plenty of dashing about. There’s more fluid pop-up performances to be announced (in association with us here at NARC.) so expect the odd surprise too. We’ll leave the last word to Henry: “so many of this year’s acts are getting national radio plays and featuring in some of the most popular Spotify playlists, as well as selling out their own headline shows across the country, which really does illustrate how strong this year’s line-up is.”


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