WEEKLY ROUND-UP (01.07.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Soccer Mommy by Daniel Topete

Every week we pull together some of the best events taking place across the region, from music and theatre, to comedy, art and film. Read more on these, and other events, in the latest issue of NARC. magazine in print and online.

MUSIC
Dead Pony
Electrifying Scottish alt. rock sensations Dead Pony bring their cut-up energy and explosive sound Sunderland’s Independent on Monday 1st July. Ripping things live with a raw electro-synth-punk sound they will take to the stage with utter confidence and breathe high-octane life into their recently released Ignore This album, written, recorded and produced entirely by the foursome. It’s a real statement of intent and in person possesses a much heavier sound than on record.
Fronted by charismatic vocalist Anna Shields, the band’s dynamic presence and infectious gritty hooks win every time as they bet on themselves again and again, delivering passionate energy and songs that wire to your brain cortex. They’re all about standing out and with tracks like the EDM embracing MK Nothing, Rainbow with its message of self-love, the apocalyptic dread of MANA or the romantic infusion on About Love they have earned, and sought hard for, their signature sound. They exist as a force capable of grabbing the breath from your lungs and never letting go as you sing along to their setlist.
Dead Pony’s live shows are renowned for their intensity and connection with the audience, promising a night that will leave you buzzing long after the final chords ring out.
Monday 1st July @ Independent, Sunderland

Image: Dead Pony by Euan Robertson

COMEDY
Tyne To Stand Up
We’re assured that laughing and (checks notes) ‘fun’ are good things. If you do feel compelled to enjoy yourselves, you might as well do something worthwhile at the same time. For example, you could stump up a measly £15 to see a ridiculously stacked bill of female comedians at Tyne Theatre & Opera House and know that the proceeds are all going to Rape Crisis Tyneside & Northumberland.
The event on Tuesday 2nd July is Felt Nowt’s third such event and they really have pulled together a brilliant line-up of local talent. Hosted by Sammy Dobson, you’ll get to see sets from Lauren Pattison, Zoe, Anja Atkinson, Catherine Young, Elaine Robertson, Lauren Stone, Eppie Brilliant, Kelly Edgar, Catherine Scott, Alex Redman, Sam Mayes, Kerris Gibson, Kelly Rickard and the magnificently named Frida Sapphic. That’s one hell of a bill, and they’re all giving their time for free so the least you can do is get a ticket!
Tuesday 2nd July @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle

MUSIC
Soccer Mommy
Soccer Mommy, the aesthetically adventurous and explosively explorative project of Nashville’s Sophie Allison, heads to Wylam Brewery in Newcastle on Wednesday 3rd July for a night of experimental-minded indie pop rock. Part of her first run of EU shows in years, this is a rare show not to be missed by lovers of pop-tinged rock earworms and bleak lyricism brightened with wit.
Taking influences from artists such as Natalie Imbruglia, Slowdive, Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne, Soccer Mommy’s discography is a mood-board of retro sounds and tumultuous new ideas, exploring themes of youth, success and the temporary nature of human emotion.
From her early roots posting self-produced demos on Bandcamp in 2015, to now racking up millions of streams and playing shows with Paramore, Phoebe Bridgers, Kacey Musgraves and Vampire Weekend, Soccer Mommy is one of those once-in-a-generation stars that you should be chasing. It’s rock at its finest that can be enjoyed by anyone. Hot off the release of her latest single Lost, this show marks a long-awaited return after the last UK tour in 2022 – and it’s incredibly rare to see a Newcastle date on Soccer Mommy’s radar, so catch it while you can.
Wednesday 3rd July @ Wylam Brewery, Newcastle

ART & LIT
International Zine Month
We all know International Zine month is the bestest ever month, right? Whether you’re a zine master or a zine newbie, Gateshead’s Baltic welcomes you to celebrate in style with a whole load of exciting workshops and talks from Wednesday 3rd-Wednesday 31st July.
What even is a zine?! It’s a self-published DIY magazine and a way of sharing your passions and interests with others – and you can make your very own in one of these workshops! Inspired by exhibitions by photographers Joanne Coates and Franki Raffles, the workshops are hosted by a fantastic range of artists like Foundation Press, Alex Hughes (and me!), and encourage visitors to have a go at exploring zines through Risograph, poetry, collage or character making. Also on offer are interesting artist talks with Michele Allen on Mud Mapping, plus there’s an impressive zine library archive to dig through.
Whether you want to get inspired, learn a new technique, collaborate with others or fancy trying something new in a supportive creative space, there’s something for everyone.
Wednesday 3rd-Wednesday 31st July @ Baltic, Gateshead

MUSIC
Kevin Morby
Kevin Morby plays Newcastle’s Boiler Shop on Wednesday 3rd July, bringing his signature brand of Americana and trusty troubadour charm.
Kevin Morby released the album This Is A Photograph over two years ago, and his dedication to the album and its sentiment is as strong as ever. A key reason for this is its inception, stemming from an incident in which his father collapsed at the dinner table, having to be rushed to hospital. Rarely will an artist choose to align themselves with their previous work, and even more unlikely will an individual willingly return to a moment of tragedy, and yet on More Photographs (A Continuum), Kevin Morby does both. Embracing everything that made his last album so beautiful and affecting, only this time reshaped and moulded into something new.
However, don’t be fooled by the misty eyed lyricism and lazy country drawl. Kevin Morby and his rotating roster of musicians have toured all over the world, and have been doing so for well over a decade, refining their sound and cultivating a dedicated audience, who will surely be in attendance at the Boiler Shop.
Wednesday 3rd July @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle

MUSIC
Nils Frahm
Renowned pianist, composer and sonic innovator Nils Frahm brings his unique sound to Gateshead. The Berlin-based composer and musician has been lauded for his distinctive take on a fusion of classical and electronic sounds, and finding fans amidst the ambient, experimental and electronica realms. 
Thursday 4th July @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead

MUSIC
Haiver
Billy Kennedy spearheads new project, Haiver, with an upcoming show at Newcastle’s Cluny on Thursday 4th July. The Glaswegian indie folk rock quintet step away from Kennedy’s previous time as guitarist for Frightened Rabbit, however, a sonic fingerprint lingers within the bars. Both reminiscent and entirely new, fans of the Scottish rock band can expect satiation from this development in Kennedy’s music. From the released singles, and candid glimpses shared on Instagram, Haiver’s music is a raw offering of honesty that builds anticipation for their upcoming album. Each lyric a deeply personal, heartfelt vignette, the composition delivers an uplifting journey of hope to balance the vulnerability laid out within the tracks.
Gentle harmonies tie together without sacrificing the exposed edge in Kennedy’s voice; his coarse vocal texture only flourishes amidst the ambient soundscape, with lyrical imagery creating an effortless mental escape. Serving fingerpicked melodies with authentic guitar flourishes as fingertips glide over strings, a tender sincerity compliments the songs’ meaning.
Supporting Haiver is Devin Casson, a Scottish singer-songwriter whose musicality blends early Maisie Peters and Joni Mitchell with a sprinkle of acoustic Taylor Swift.
Thursday 4th July @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Image: The Libertines by Ed Cooke

MUSIC
On The Beach
The Libertines are set to make waves at Redcar beach as they headline the return of On The Beach Live. Taking place on Friday 5th July at Majuba beach, the event promises an unforgettable day of music and dancing on the coastline.
On The Beach Live promises an impressive blend of iconic bands and local talent. The Libertines, known for their ragged tunes and era-defining hits like Up The Bracket and Can’t Stand Me Now, will bring their legendary energy and dynamic performances to Redcar. Fans can also look forward to hearing tracks from their new hit album All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade, which was released earlier this year.
Joining The Libertines are indie favourites The Pigeon Detectives and The Zutons, plus, local acts such as We Tibetans, Komparrison, The Maddison Fallout and Creeps DJs will showcase the vibrant regional music scene.
On The Beach Live’s return builds on its past successes while introducing exciting new elements, ensuring a bigger and better celebration of music. Previously known for events like Beachjam and Clubland, this year’s festival promises to elevate the experience with a fresh approach and an impressive line-up.
Friday 5th July @ Redcar Beach

MUSIC
Slack Bird
The Toft House at Middlesbrough Little Theatre is set to host an enchanting evening of folk music on Friday 5th July with a line-up which features the eclectic sounds of Slack Bird, Stormcrow and Sara Dennis.
Hailing from Central Finland, Slack Bird combine Appalachian banjo playing with the dark melodies of Finnish traditional music. Known for their unique sound, Slack Bird have captivated audiences from New York clubs to German forests. Returning to the UK after five years, they will perform as a three-piece featuring a five-string banjo, button accordion and cello. Their unique music has been praised for its originality and ability to bridge diverse genres, appealing to both trad folk enthusiasts and crust punks alike.
Joining them are Stormcrow, a band celebrated for their medieval and traditional folk music infused with humour. They will be showcasing their new album WOLF, a collection of local tales and reflections on the world, interspersed with songs of wolves and folk horror. Rounding out the evening is Sara Dennis, a familiar face at Toft House known for her work with Peg Powler and Project Lono, promising a blend of traditional and contemporary folk music, making it a must-attend for fans of the genre.
Friday 5th July @ Toft House, Middlesbrough

MUSIC
BRASS Festival
One of the highlights of Durham’s cultural calendar is the Durham Brass Festival, the nine-day, multi-venue celebration of things that go PARP! Rooted in the area’s strong links to colliery brass bands, the festival is once again offering a mix of big-name ticketed events and free community happenings throughout the city and the county as a whole. It kicks off with Public Service Broadcasting performing their Every Valley album in Durham Cathedral with the backing of the NASUWT Riverside Band on Friday 7th (already sold out, unfortunately) and closes with Smoove & Turrell’s Northern Coal Experience at Durham Town Hall on Friday 12th, where the local funk ’n’ soul champions will DJ with a full vocal and brass accompaniment.
But there’s a lot going on in between those two figurehead dates: Streets of Brass will bring some lively brass bands to the city’s streets on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th, while there’ll be Big and Little Brass Bashes across the county all week, from Barnard Castle to Chester-le-Street. Acclaimed brass band The Cory Band play Durham Gala on Sunday, and finally there’s Brassed On that same evening in the Town Hall, which will see two of the region’s most exciting upcoming artists collaborate with a full brass section – Hector Gannet with NuSound Brass and Nadedja with Loud Noises – that will showcase their music in a new format. The compere for the evening will be BBC Introducing’s Shakk.
Friday 5th-Saturday 13th July @ Various venues, Durham

MUSIC
Eater
Punk legend Andy Blade is back with a brand new line-up of Eater. With echoes of Sex Pistols, Ramones and The Clash, this revolutionary punk band are definitely still kicking. As one of the first main contenders to emerge from the UK’s punk scene in the 70s, Eater offer a punchy blend of raw, old school tunes.
Their classic gritty songs are given a whole new lease of life with the help of JoJo and The Teeth – a band who play with ferocity and raw power. The addition of co-singer JoJo offers a sharp and gorgeous contrast to Andy’s biting vocals, bringing together something pretty special. 
The recent resurgence of older punk bands gives OG fans a chance to hear the soundtracks of their youth, and new punks a chance to stage dive straight into their new (old) fave band.
Eater’s gig at the Cluny on Saturday 6th July offers a great opportunity to see where punk began.
Saturday 6th July @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

EVENTS
KAPOW
Sci-fi fans will have much to celebrate at Stockton’s Globe as the KAPOW Family Funday returns to the venue once again. The annual festival for Teesside cosplayers to show off their talent also includes a variety of competitions, stalls, activities and workshops for all ages.
Saturday 6th July @ The Globe, Stockton

EVENTS
Washington at 60
The ‘new town’ of Washington celebrates its 60th anniversary with a series of events taking place at culture hub Arts Centre Washington. One of several so called ‘new towns’ built during the ‘60s, the aim of Washington and its districts was to provide jobs and a comfortable, safe place for an increasing post-war population.
Among the highlights of the extensive celebratory programme is a retrospective exhibition of the work of artist Tony Erskine, who was heavily involved in campaigns to promote the new town (runs until 6th July); also on 6th July, a retro Art Mart will feature work from local crafters and makers; and there’s an exhibition celebrating Washington’s past, both real and mythical (11th July-7th September).
Washington has a surprising musical history too – Elvis On Tour will be a fascinating talk from Gordon Minto about Elvis Presley’s contribution to Washington, as a star of the RCA record factory which was based in Washington in the 1970s (17th July). There’s more tales from the RCA family, as BBC producer and presenter Steve Drayton hosts a series of his Mr Drayton’s Record Player events focusing on records from the RCA production line, including David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1st August), Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (8th August), Lou Reed’s Transformer and The Strokes’ Is This It? (15th August), with the final event, Made In Washington, celebrating 12 singles released between 1970-1979 (29th August).
Film fans will enjoy Washington On Film, a rare opportunity to explore the town through the filmmaker’s lens (10th July); while Sunderland Film Club provides a screening of The Miner’s Hymns, which also includes a performance from Durham Miners’ Band and local folk icon Bill Elliott (18th July).
Saturday 6th July-Thursday 29th August @ Arts Centre Washington

MUSIC
Evil Blizzard
You! Yes, you! Are you bored of pop rock four-pieces churning out radio-friendly medleys for the masses? Then we have good news for you – the truly unhinged punks Evil Blizzard are here to make you feel equal parts entertained and uneasy when they rock up to Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Saturday 6th July.
At first glance, they make an odd bunch at best: their drummer sings, they have three (?!) bass players, and all six members elect to don latex face masks that dwell slap-bang in the middle of the Uncanny Valley. From that description, to say that they sound exactly how they look may first be misconstrued as an insult – but five albums on, it’s safe to say the whole gig is working for them. Acclaimed recent record Rotting In The Belly Of A Whale is discordant, grimy and downright unsettling – all the conditions of the claustrophobic lockdown which fuelled its creation. It became their most eclectic album yet, perhaps partly thanks to the addition of a guitar to their predominantly bass-heavy back catalogue, or maybe they just felt the freedom to dive deeper into the members’ own inspirations to create new sounds. But trying to work out Evil Blizzard’s motivations is as hard as peeping under those rubber masks – leave them to their mysteries, and just enjoy the show.
Saturday 6th July @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

MUSIC
Frankie Stubbs
Frankie Stubbs was the frontman of much-treasured Sunderland band Leatherface, one of punk’s most influential bands in the 90s. This intimate acoustic set will be one to remember, and features support from Rebecca Radical and James Harrison.
Sunday 7th July @ Trillians, Newcastle

Image: Black Umfolosi

MUSIC
Black Umfolosi
The Waiting Room is a venue of considerable pedigree and history; it was the region’s first vegetarian restaurant as far back as 1985, and the back room has been hosting cultural and musical events ever since. This timeline speaks sweetly to Black Umfolosi, a dance and a capella group from Zimbabwe established in 1982, who perform at the venue on Sunday 7th July.
Black Umfolosi initially formed to preserve the Imbube culture that was being Westernised. Since then, the group has toured internationally all across the world, appeared at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 and has represented Zimbabwe at various international expos. When the group formed at school age in 1982, their intention was to develop themselves and contribute to their community, but this has since expanded to them being international ambassadors for Imbube music and gumboot dance. It’s a rare opportunity to catch such a precious cultural export in intimate confines, and their preservation of Imbube culture though performance is something to be cherished. This promises to be a special evening at one of the region’s most special venues.
Sunday 7th July @ The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe

MUSIC
The Fugitives
Acclaimed Canadian folk band The Fugitives return to the UK after seven years away, stopping at The Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe on Monday 8th July. Rife with complex harmonies and blended strings, this folk collective weave a sonic tapestry of storytelling through deft lyrics and composition. Seemingly hard to pin down to a genre, with previous albums offering an amalgamation of folk music and spoken word, their recent record No Help Coming is a playful exploration of poignant lyricism and rich melodies.
The Fugitives offer upbeat optimism throughout No Help Coming, with a self-acclaimed essence of resolution; band spokesperson and co-songwriter Brendan McLeod explains “there’s a lot of resolve to be had in joy.” The construction of the tracks is tight, the tone uplifting despite thematic exploration of climate change threaded throughout. But the album is “more playful than precious”, according to McLeod, indulging the resolve of joy beneath this umbrella of climate emergency.
In concert, songwriters Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod are joined by banjo player Chris Suen and violinist Carly Frey for an impressive and engaging dive into live folk music. Performing together, they’re clearly musicians who not only enjoy creating music to an infectious degree but have the talent to match.
Monday 8th July @ The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe

 

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