WEEKLY ROUND-UP (04.09.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Witch Fever by Reuben Bastienne

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 September issue of NARC. magazine – out now in print and online.

Witch Fever
A band known to wildly reject any sort of social and musical conformity, Witch Fever draw on the conflict and clash of punk and rock to nurture a similarly heated and piercing sound, which Steve Lamacq has even described as being able to “scorch lawns and burn down buildings”. Amy, Alex, Alisha and Annabelle embody the doom-laden fierceness of punk; the grittiness and scrappiness of rock and metal is also ingrained within their music, and through their enigmatic and almost hypnotic stage presence the band are certainly one to watch.
What’s more, the gig is part of the National Lottery’s United By Music Tour, which means every National Lottery player who buys a ticket gets a ‘plus one’ for free.
Wednesday 6th September @ The Forum Music Centre, Darlington

Your Voice, Your World
Your Voice, Your World North East is a celebration of local new talent, as writers who have never written for Live Theatre’s stage before share their unique visions with audiences. In Ahh Women, Clare Baker introduces Orla in church seeking solace and guidance in a heartfelt conversation with God about her upcoming date with Sam; having lived and worked on her family farm all her life, an unwelcome visitor forces Gwen to confront the truth in Where We Belong by Sarah Davy; the last place teenager Layla expects to find herself is in her IT teacher’s shed with a balaclava on her head. Discover how she ended up there in Shed Loads Of Trouble by Emily Ash. In another adventure, In Too Deep by Beth Ellis, Mason and Bailey are tasked with burying the body of a man accused of having an affair with their boss’ wife.
As two worlds meet in Pease Puddin’ Sandwiches by Rachael Black, a friendship is born between Leah, born and raised in Newcastle and Zeenat from Afghanistan; the scene for Impulse by Louise Marie Powell is Prom Night, as Luce, 16, wrestled with her anger at being pressured into fancying lads – and lasses. It’s not easy growing up with a smart mouthed sister; and Brutus Rex is a spoken word monologue performed by Wambui Hardcastle.
Thursday 7th-Saturday 9th September @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

Television Personalities
Anyone with even a slight schooling in the ins-and-outs of the first wave of punk will already be familiar with the brilliantly innovative post-punk, indie pop DIY pioneers Television Personalities. Led by songwriter Dan Treacy, their initial singles were part of the crucial wave of releases from Geoff Travis’ Rough Trade label, being one of the first handful of punk outfits who were keener to forge new musical paths than to rely solely on recycling rockabilly cliches and 12-bar blues, with 1981 debut …And Don’t The Kids Just Love it remaining a sacred and timeless post-punk text over 40 years after release. Following a devastating blood clot on the brain, Dan has been unable to perform music, however, former band members Dave Musker, Jeff Bloom, Jowe Head, Mike Stone and Lee McFadden have reformed the band “to perpetuate Dan’s spirit, music and song-writing genius”. It’s a monumental testament to one of the most treasured songbooks in post-punk, performed fittingly at a venue brilliantly indebted to the glory of DIY.
Saturday 9th September @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland


Image: The Unthanks, L-R Rachel & Becky Unthank by Sarah Mason


The Unthanks Alldayer
The Unthanks have a knack for staging really special events in their home city, and they’re doing it again with an all-dayer at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 9th September. The band have recently regained ownership (from EMI) of three of their earliest records – The Bairns (released as the second album by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset in 2007), Here’s The Tender Coming (2009) and Last (2011) – and will be reissuing them on their own Rabble Rouser label, including the first time all three have appeared on vinyl. And to mark the occasion, they’ll be performing all three in two special concerts. The day will start with a ‘Big Sing’ on the Sage concourse with all welcome to join in, followed by a band Q&A and performances from artists Lucy Farrell and Devon Sproule, who were regular Unthanks supports back in the era covered by these reissues. Then there will be a one-time reunion of Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, Rachel and sister Becky’s first band, performing the whole of The Bairn. And finally, the evening will feature a concert from The Unthanks performing the other two reissues, Here’s The Tender Coming and Last. Tickets are available separately for each of the concerts or there’s a single (and more economic) ticket for both. The other events are free.
Saturday 9th September @ Sage Gateshead

South Tyneside’s new-wave and post-punk group Polyvinyl may have formed in 2021, but the five-piece have been meticulously crafting an excellent debut EP for their fans over the past few years. Comprised of five songs, one for each stage of grief, the songs exist within their own spaces but all lock in place for a lyrically expressive experience. The EP takes the listener on a roller-coaster of emotion, from the heartfelt denial of Headlights to the aggressive, punk-inspired Modern Art People, self-reflective ballad Blind and indie pop single It’s Raining Somewhere Else.
With previous shows unafraid to push the envelope somewhat when it comes to set design and even over-the-top satirical hosts, the band have promised that the EP launch show will be an impressive night and a unique experience for fans, who are offered a free ticket if they’re willing to dress to impress and don a suit for the occasion in tribute to the band’s own dress code.
Saturday 9th September @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields

Mr Punch
Written and performed by Steve Byron and Joana Geronimo and directed by Paula Penman, Mr Punch tells the story of Norman, a solitary and now lonely figure of fun, with a dependence for drink and a long life of self-destruction and small mindedness. Norman has returned from a funeral carrying his recent departed father’s life in a suitcase. A father whom he blames for his actions, situations and what the world might call a ‘wasted life’. When a faraway family move in next door – Norman’s attitudes, pity-party and beliefs may have to change. But there’s no show without Punch.
Mr Punch is told against the backdrop of 21st Century Britain, with the use of puppetry and extremely dark humour.
Tuesday 12th-Saturday 30th September @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle


Image: Mr Punch

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