LIVE REVIEW: Stockton Calling @ Various Venues (20.04.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The Futureheads by Tracy Hyman

Stockton Calling’s tenth editionn on Easter Saturday couldn’t have got off to a better start with the glorious weather getting people out early, so it was already one-in-one-out for GGAllan Partridge’s dayglo-punk, first up on NARC.’s Green Room schedule. Highlights Eyesore and their cover of Pellethead’s Skips, with its relatively sparse staccato sax, more than justified the early start for those lucky enough to have squeezed in.

Over at the new temporary KU2 venue, Oilbirds featuring Michael CG on bass sporting a rather fetching pair of feather earrings and a Jordan Bell from Avalanche Party cameo, were taking no prisoners; even when singer Tim Oxnard snapped his top string it was nowt the bother as their heavy psychedelic blues blew away any residual Good Friday hangover. Back in the Green Room, Salsola are the first real revelation of the day, blending melodic post-punk in the vein of Durham favourites Martha, with bluesy Americana. Latest single Embers and a scintillating elongated Midnight are ruddy marvellous, and they finish with two brand new tracks which should rightly reflect how confident they are just now.

Over at ARC2 Finn Forster rattled through an expert set of honeyed indie with his new backing band, including upcoming single Empty Promises and finishing with fan favourite Galahad. Upstairs at ARC1 Durham’s The Yada Yada Yadas don’t waste any time hammering out Prosthetic Brain, Oceans and Woke Up Strange, with singer Mark at times like a young Axl Rose, before they wrap things up with Human Emotion in their inimitable grunge style.

Image: Twist Helix by Andy Lochrie

Twist Helix’s second set of the day, as last minute replacements for Glass Mountain, at The Kids Are Solid Gold’s Storytellers stage work their audience from the off, so synthy indie party tunes such as Decade and newbie Ghost don’t miss a beat. Next up, Lost State of Dance’s danceable rock drew a huge response as closer Dance Floor tore up KU2. Fuzz heads Dripp, over at Musiclounge, were beset by sound problems but a small partisan crown lapped up their glorious funky nu-metal, reminiscent at times of Fun Loving Criminals and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Back at Green Dragon Yard, enigmatic Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard leave a Georgian Theatre crowd a little bemused with their moody atmospherics. Is it indie rock, emo or post-rock with Wednesday Addams on vocals? Who knows but I, for one, love it. Another dash across the High Street and Red Rum Club at KU1 step things up a level with Arcade Fire-infused hits like Honey and Would You Rather Be Lonely? which enthralled the packed venue.

The main draw of the day for many was The Futureheads’ first full gig in six years at ARC1, which saw them reprising old classics like Decent Days And Nights, Skip To The End and Beginning of the Twist while the new songs already sound like future classics – if quite a bit heavier (especially the Ross-penned one). By the end the crowd was surprisingly modest as other headliners started elsewhere, which left the atmosphere oddly flat but a stunning encore of Hounds of Love was more than enough to validate their return.

With the bouncers only letting in as many people that the bars could handle meant KU2 was half empty for the start of Avalanche Party’s headline slot despite people queuing outside, and although their set was met with the standard delirious fervour from their rabid fans the spaces in between meant the usual climbing-the-walls intensity and pummelling assault of their set was a little lost, and the venue that had looked such a winner earlier for Oilbirds and Lost State of Dance was perhaps just the wrong one for them this time around. But all in all another splendid Stockton Calling and a credit to all involved. Here’s to another ten years.

See the Gallery on our homepage for more images of the day from Tracy Hyman and Andy Lochrie.

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