NEWS: The Kids Are Solid Gold announce line-up for Stockton Calling | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Stockton Calling is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and the North East’s longest running multi-venue music festival has started the year strongly with announcements coming thick and fast.

Today sees the unveiling of The Kids are Solid Gold’s stage at The Storytellers and, typically, for the popular Middlesbrough promoter, the line-up features some of the best up-and-coming artists in the UK right now.

Isle of Wight five-piece, Plastic Mermaids, make their highly anticipated return to the North East as the headliner for the stage. The critically acclaimed outfit has previously made a number of spectacular sold-out appearances in the region and with an increasingly burgeoning fan base gathered as a result of wowing crowds at some of the UK’s top festivals, the band now counts Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne as the latest new convert to their sonic charms. 

The band has recently signed to Rob da Bank’s Sunday Best label and their debut album is set for release later in the year. Fans will get to hear some of the new material alongside favourites from their first three EPs.

One of Scotland’s most exciting new talents arrive back on Teesside after a rapturously received show at the Georgian Theatre back in November, Dancing on Tables are a five-piece pop rock band from Dunfermline and bring together an eclectic range of influences to create an infectious pop rock sound. The boys have spent recent years earning plaudits for their ‘dreamy melodies wrapped up in luring harmonies.’

VC Pines (aka Jack Mercer), the former frontman of The Carnabys, brings his seven-piece band to Stockton Calling for a debut North East appearance. Mercer has moved away from the realm of indie rock and immersed himself in a pool of alternative soul, poetry and punk performance while delivering deep organ drones that bring a dark undertone to his alt-soul venture. A seventies-esque sound sugarcoats the grit with trumpet and trombone. Very much one to watch.

One of Scotland’s brightest new prospects; the bold, brazen and utterly mesmerising CRYSTAL are a four-piece grunge/punk band from Glasgow. Born from the city’s vital music scene, the hugely talented outfit first burst into the nation’s consciousness when they opened pop superstar Paolo Nutini’s infamous Night Afore gig as part of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in December 2016. Since then, CRYSTAL have carved out a thrilling new path with a renewed sense of focus and remarkable vitality. Led by the hypnotic vocal stylings of frontwoman Anna Shields, their new material is laced with nineties grunge, desert rock and pop sensibilities.

Glass Mountain are an exciting Bradford four-piece. Their arrangements are complex; their lyrics confessional and poetic; they’re artistic without being inaccessible and they’re one of the most promising and accomplished new acts out there right now.

Leeds-based six-piece Talkboy combine playful indie rock with captivating melodies and layers of vocal harmonies, shifting between euphoric walls of noise and intimately sweet soundscapes. Drawing immediate comparisons to the likes of The Big Moon and Alvvays, the sextet have already delivered stellar displays at Live At Leeds and Gold Sounds alongside a sold-out BBC Introducing showcase with more dates in the pipeline.

No strangers to North East gig-goers, opening up the stage are the Newcastle-based five-piece The Winter Hill Transmission who will be playing their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in its entirety.

Last week, Into Tomorrow’s stage at Room21 was announced and combines some of the best names in loud, garage rock with more soulful and mod vibes. Local band du jour Avalanche Party are headlining. Also playing are loud rockers Naked Six, London’s mod sensation Emily Capell, two-piece noise sensations Snakerattlers, Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show favourites Weekend Sun, acoustic singer-songwriter Megan Dotchin, and punk ‘n’ rollers The Shakin’ Nightmares. Ku’s headliner is Reverend and The Makers with more exciting announcements to come over the coming weeks.

Tickets are on sale now for £25 from


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