NEWS: Benefits @ Westgarth Social Club | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Given how this young decade is unfolding, is it really any wonder the North East’s hottest breakout sound has been the caustic, searing assault of Benefits? A withering commentary on a floundering nation, the Teessiders’ melange of blistering electronic noise, primal industrial beats and furious political diatribe has proved impossible to ignore, lashing out against the inequality and discrimination before our eyes, normalised through toxic, post-truth bullshit masquerading as mainstream discourse.

With discontent rife, rumblings of this seething project have spread far beyond our regional borders. Spiritual forefathers Sleaford Mods were early advocates, and glowing national coverage followed soon after, yet this too proved the tip of an iceberg, with formidable singles Traitors, Flag and Empire finding admiring ears in Black Francis, Steve Albini and even one Elijah Wood. Frodo Baggins himself – Hobbit; ring-bearer; harsh noise connoisseur.

Having ballooned over lockdown, the question remained of how Benefits’ punishing custom would translate to the live stage. Though still a work in progress, February’s rapturously received debut tour offered a tantalising taste, confronting listeners with a formidable show of immersive, throat-ripping intensity. After affording Kingsley Hall’s voice some much needed respite, Benefits return to the road this month for a second round – including an essential date at Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social Club on Saturday 23rd April. Bring earplugs. Don’t bring your Tory-voting relatives.

Benefits play Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Saturday 23rd April.


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