LIVE REVIEW: Forever Cult, Dead Naked Hippies, Primitive Painters, Swears @ Georgian Theatre, Stockton (08.12.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Dead Nakes Hippies by Danielle Johnson

Clue Records are a DIY label from Leeds with strong ties to the North East, their Christmas party in Stockton promoted their signings as well as local acts.

Swears have only been on the Middlesbrough scene for about six months but they are making some noise about it. They play a tight set with rock and punk influences, from QOTSA to The Pixies. Their track Dirty Witch is heavy on the cowbell and a highlight, with shapes being thrown both on stage and off.

In contrast, Darlington’s Primitive Painters are stoic, jangly misery pop. There’s pensive prolonged instrumental intros and dreamy sweeping outros and a hint of Joy Division, but without the menace. Instead, the band borrow from 80’s new wave with melodies that ooze for days. Without a smile cracked between them, the atmosphere is politely moody onstage.

Breaking this spell with terrifying energy are Dead Naked Hippies. Lucy Jowett stomps around, ‘Girls To The Front’ T-shirt proudly flaunted. This Leeds trio need to come again soon because they rocked their way to the top spot of the night, proving fewer musicians does not equal less racket. Lucy’s riot grrrl squeals mesh with the prettier side of her voice, coupled with gurgling guitar and brutal rhythm you can hear some early YYY’s in there. Latest single I Wanna Know Ya is softer, with a great hook and a total crowd pleaser.

Leeds boys Forever Cult are a powerful wall of sound with shouty harmonies, piercing riffs and thunderous drums. It’s bratty punk rock, almost as if Weezer was dialled up a notch on the heavy scale and mixed with some American hardcore for fun. Frontman KK’s vocal style is interesting, mastering the switch from clean to gritty in seconds. It’s super tight and every member is an unpredictable ball of energy.

Clue Records’ Scott Lewis may live in Leeds but this Stockton-born lad clearly has an eye on what Teesside is doing, and an interest in bringing some excellent Yorkshire bands to our doorstep.

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