LIVE REVIEW: The Gathering Sounds festival @ Various Venues, Stockton (24.09.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: CVC by Tracy Hyman

It’s an early start given the day-long festival and the realisation that many of the bands you want to see clash slightly. Luckily The Gathering Sounds is set out in a way that, at most, you’re only five minutes away from a different venue if you’re trying to move quickly and catch as much as you can. 

Starting at ARC, The Lulas provide a strong opening, giving off the type of energetic set that you would expect from a later-in-the-day act, with their set filled with cool R’n’B soul/Motown instrumentation and deep soulful tracks. Standouts include Think You’re Cool and Get Out My Head, which pops and fizzes with perhaps some of the sharpest bass lines of the day

A jump across to Storytellers provides good timing for the utterly rammed Ruby J session before it gets too busy, and it’s hearing only for those who arrive to hear Ruby’s spirited acoustic set.

Back at the ARC, Newcastle’s ultra-talented Kieran Bowe pops up with a banging four-piece set including highlights Jumpers For Goalposts and The One That Got Away. Cleverly written and with a sharp voice, Bowe certainly looks like an artist on the up, particularly on new track Shut Me Out, which has the strongest 80’s polish you’re likely to hear this year. One to keep an eye out for. 

Things get hotter and busier at the Georgian, with surely(?) the North’s premier alternative rock act SWEARS – who in this form should be headlining – as they blaze through some of the finest, technically proficient rock of the day including the gigantic Catacombs and Believe It. They’re incredible.    

Cruuush follow SWEARS with some fine spiky indie guitars and Joy Division style bass lines (standout being Ashford Groves) before across at the ARC Portsmouth’s Crystal Tides deliver a 1975 inspired emo/rock/pop master performance including their highlight Courtney Love. 

As you would expect, ARC closers CVC and The K’s draw larger and larger crowds as the night goes on; The K’s in particular playing as if it was their last show. A fantastic day with fantastic bands; congratulations to everyone involved. 

Image: The K’s by Tracy Hyman

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