LIVE REVIEW: Twisterella @ Various venues, Middlesbrough (14.10.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Dutch Uncles by Tracy Hyman

Always a highlight in the calendar, Twisterella brings together some of the finest local and national acts alongside a couple of old favourites, and eclecticism feels like the theme this year.

Dutch Uncles open proceedings in the “CD:UK” slot and certainly blow out the cobwebs with a set packed full of excitable tracks including Oh Yeah, Big Balloon and Tropigala (2 to 5). Despite their early set time they set everyone on the right path. They’re quickly followed by the brilliant Dilettante whose own brand of art rock compounds the already enthusiastic mood, captivating with tracks like Teeth and Surrogate Lover. The party mood continues with Adult DVD, their bombastic electronic beats cut against healthy synth stabs and spoken lyrics recalling Warmduscher.

Suds’ indie rock is next to take the helm, a dourer sound compared to earlier sets but no less exciting. Packing out The Townhouse, they rip through an enthusiastic set, with Paint My Body being a particular highlight of the whole day.

It’d be remiss of me not to mention the missing venues this year; both the Westgarth and TSOne have been such a huge part of past Twisterella events, and it does feel strange without them. However, Cafe Etch and Off The Ground played host to some exceptional acts throughout the day, in particular, Me Lost Me playing to a packed-to-the-rafters Cafe Etch. With songs that are mainly about the weather and fights in nightclubs, she has everyone hanging off her every word, a truly spellbinding set, by far one of the best moments of this year’s festival. Next up at Off The Ground are Irked, who rip through an impassioned set with singer Helen very much at one with the crowd as the rest of the band hold it down on stage.

Cherym continue today’s party atmosphere with their own brand of pop punk, with a set of high-quality tracks that quickly have a packed crowd singing along. Their latest singles Do It Another Day and Taking Up Sports shine through and bode well for next year’s debut album. One of the day’s highlights follows Cherym in the form of Welsh collective Meilyn Melyn whose set is completely out of this world, delighting the audience with a mixture of English and Welsh tracks. Then, just when everyone thinks they couldn’t improve, they throw in a cover of Rhinestone Cowboy to set the place alight.

The final act for us is Prima Queen whose brand of dream pop finishes the day in significantly gentler fashion, feeling somewhat pedestrian against the backdrop of rabble-rousing party bands that have preceded them. All in all, though, this year’s Twisterella is fantastic yet again, with something there for everyone.

Image: Dilettante by Tracy Hyman

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