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

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Image: Gruff Rhys

Inspired by the can-do attitude of the 90s punk scene, promoter David Littlefair (aka Portions For Foxes) is passionate about the creativity and passion that sparks from the DIY underground scene. “We can’t have a music and arts scene that’s solely the preserve and hobby of idle rich types with trust funds. We want to make something special that’s of and for our DIY community and that feels inclusive.”

The second iteration of Marrapalooza, the multi-venue weekender taking place in the Ouseburn Valley on Friday 17th-Saturday 18th May, has been programmed by Littlefair alongside Flat Four Records founder Hannah Couch and Tyne & Queer’s Beck Carol, with the forging of connections and the building of communities in mind. “We want to have a bill that includes some of the leading lights of our music scene and also provides opportunities to people that are just starting out. I’m hoping that some of the bands we put on can meet some newer bands from other parts of the country. That’s a huge part of why we do this and why we try to make so much space for smaller bands from out of town.”

Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Teesside rabble-rousers Benefits, Durham punks ONSIND and heartfelt songwriter The Lake Poets head a roster of bands that’s inclusive and exciting. Here, the team offer up a few must-see artists from the extensive line-up.


One thing we aim to do with our festival is bring together our alternative and grassroots scene with the North East’s brass band tradition. One of my favourite things this year is that we get to give a platform to Redhills Youth Brass Band, they’ll be early openers at the Cluny. See them!

Ex Vöid are just incredible songwriters in an indie pop tradition that’s somewhere between The Lemonheads and Belle And Sebastian. We organised a few gigs for their previous band Joanna Gruesome, which were absolutely incredible. One of the most innovative musicians and songwriters in the UK right now, never mind the North East, Me Lost Me has picked up plaudits all over the country for her futuristic blend of psychedelic electronica and traditional folk. Dilettante plays an incredibly intricate orchestral pop music with nods to Tune-Yards and St Vincent.

Simultaneously obnoxious and euphoric mix of dance punk, funk and breakbeats, Hang Linton is one of the most intense and interesting artists in the UK. You will be impressed. Mascaras Lies are a riotous two-piece from Middlesbrough that remind us of Death From Above 1979 at their best and are guaranteed to rip Little Buildings to shreds. Incredibly awesome avant-garde rock funk band Fashion Tips have developed a reputation for causing rooms of randoms to dance their backsides off. Feeble Strength make music that sounds like the 90s never ended; a sort of Mackem version of the Weakerthans or Superchunk.

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