LIVE REVIEW: Twisterella Festival @ Various Venues, Middlesbrough (13.10.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Avalanche Party by Andy Lochrie

Words: Ben Lowes-Smith

It’s not often you see an inner city music festival executed as well and as thoughtfully as Twisterella in terms of the spaces it utilises, the diversity of the acts and the pull it has to attract acts to this supposed cultural backwater. Of course, The Kids Are Solid Gold are an internationally respected promotions company, and today is a perfect microcosm for everything that they do so very well. For that, Andy Carr and Pay For The Piano’s Henry Carden must be commended for attracting internationally renowned acts this to vibrant, soulful town, as they have done for many years.

Boy Azooga start the day promisingly at the SU, though neglect to play many of the best songs from their fantastic record, indulging instead in something that feels more like a rehearsal for next year’s festival circuit. I then went over to the Westgarth to see veritable highlight of the day, Talent Show; the new vehicle for James Leonard Hewitson’s songs is a triumph of brevity, wit, and melody. Everyone You Know are a thoroughly soulful and engaging prospect with great tunes to boot, reminiscent of elements of the most blue-eyed soul indebted UK garage.

Back over to the SU to see Llovers, and their consummately professional brand of indie rock is very warmly received. Shy-Talk splatter their colourful, abrasive bar room rock around TSOne, and in the same venue, Dylan Cartlidge, fresh from his lauded appearance on The Might Redcar, demonstrates his talent with his soulful, intricate hip-hop which is one of the most warmly received sets of the day. You Tell Me, a stark contrast musically to the  aforementioned bands at TSOne, put on a melancholic, concise set of tunes which are an emotional tour de force and recall greats like Joni Mitchell. Nightflowers present impeccably crafted indie pop upstairs in the Westgarth, and afterwards both Estrons and Avalanche Party provide a raucous, revitalizing punctuation mark on a wonderful day. 

Image: Everyone You Know by Tracy Hyman

Words: Damian Robinson

I spent most of the day in the Student Union, if only to watch Bradford’s Glass Mountain take to the stage early with their walk-on music of We Shall Overcome by Joan Baez. Loading up their guitars to 11, and backed by an incredible visual display, the Glass Mountain boys spent their set searching for the spirit of My Bloody Valentine in their creation of pop-meets-drone classics. Visceral, aggressive, and cosmic Glass Mountain set a high standard for the day, particularly with highlight of the set We Shall Overcome – their own version this time – which was raw and aggressive and evidence that they are an interesting art band with clever messages.

Next up, Derry resident Roe created magic with her one-person orchestra of delicious pop. Using guitar, effects pedals, keys and drum machines, Roe built multi-part, highly impactful, electronic pop sounding not too dissimilar from Moncao circa their Sweet Lips era. Standouts Wasted. Patient. Thinking and Cheek, Boy were deliciously built live on stage, and provided a huge platform for Roe’s high, sweet, vocals and masked edgy narratives.  She may well have drawn the loudest cheers of the day.

The Howl & The Hum delivered the penultimate show on the Student Union stage, attracting possibly the largest crowd of the day, with their Jeff Buckley meets The Killers sounding set. Highlights Godmanchester Chinese Bridge and Don’t Shoot The Storm drew mass sing-alongs and on stage boogying. Leaving the stage dripping with sweat, and sticking about for celebratory photos, The Hum were clearly happy with their evening’s performance.

Headliner Bryde closed the stage with her blend of guitar driven pop a la The Dandy Warhols.  Driven by moments of loud guitars and fine three-piece musical interplays Bryde delivered in fine form.

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