WEEKLY ROUND-UP (04.12.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: LORE

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.

The People’s Kitchen Charity Christmas Street Party
The People’s Kitchen Charity will be hosting its annual Christmas Street Party for the city’s most vulnerable. The event will give a bit of normality to Tyneside’s homeless and vulnerable people. Around 250 people will receive gifts from Santa and a piping hot meal too.
There will also be a Christmas Lights switch on, street food and a choir and band performance.
Monday 4th December @ The People’s Kitchen, Bath Lane, Newcastle

Stars of Shieldfield
The Shieldfield Youth Programme presents its talent show, Stars of Shieldfield. The event features members of the youth programme showcasing their talents, as well as a performance from members of the Shieldfield youth voice group who will launch three songs they have written and recorded with musician and rapper Kema Kay about the need for change in their local area.  
Wednesday 6th December @ Star and Shadow Cinema

SNAFU’s latest block party is a massive affair, featuring one of the most influential artists in the garage scene, Conducta, as well as all-female DJs, producers and curators Girls Don’t Sync, genreless DJ Ghoulish and Mancunian collective Sweet Female Attitude.
Thursday 7th December @ Loft, Durham

The Church Village Collective count a mash-up of influences in their ragtag sound, from Snoop Dogg and Crosby, Stills & Nash to Super Furry Animals and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Promoting “peace, love and good times”, their psych pop sound is suitably uplifting.
Thursday 7th December @ The Grove, Newcastle

LORE is about humanity, the stories we share that define us and the all-powerfulness of nature. Using the ancient Celtic creation myth as its starting point, award-winning dance company James Wilton Dance present a dance work about nature, creation and destruction. Working with Sarah Jane Taylor, James Wilton has created a raw, earthy and dynamic piece: a modern folklore-inspired journey into a pagan world of gods, demons and humans.
With music from Michal Wojtas that is part Celt, part Viking and part Slavic, the soundtrack is where the past and future meet, the music our ancestors would have made if they’d had electronic instruments as well as their traditional ones. It’s like listening to the tales our ancestors told while sat in a clearing in the woods, and hearing the ancient stories that bind humanity together.
LORE makes you feel the energy that flows from the ground, through the dancers, connecting them to the earth and each other, and back into the earth. It’s an important reminder to the audience of the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Thursday 7th December @ Dance City, Newcastle

Art + Social
MIMA’s regular arty-themed event features an opportunity to chat with the Tees Valley’s creative community about their latest projects, watch a film screening of Paul Sng’s powerful film Tish, which celebrates the work of social documentary photographer Tish Murtha, and enjoy a DJ set from A Man Called Adam.
Thursday 7th December @ MIMA, Middlesbrough

Great North Nights
This festive folklore-themed event from GNM:H sounds particularly enticing. Bold Big Band and DJ Awkward Black Girl provide musical entertainment, plus you can carve your own curse tablet, hear ghostly tales and myths, enjoy a supernatural nature quiz and explore ancient magic, and there’s beer, cocktails and pizza!
Friday 8th December @ Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Imprinted Concrete
Imprinted Concrete is a collaborative show between emerging North-East artists Cody Sowerby, Katie Houser, and Hazel Soper. Using photography, sculpture, and video the artists have taken inspiration from the infrastructure of the region, reimagining this post-industrial context into active, sculptural objects. 
The exhibition will be open on: 9th/10th/13th/14th/16th/18th/19th/20th December (11am – 5 pm) with an artist talk and preview on 8th December @ Moving Gallery, Sunderland

(Un)Spoken Territories
A new research-led exhibition at Gateshead’s Baltic gallery brings the work of 20 artists from around the world together to consider perspectives around colonialism, land, territory and nature. The artists taking part in Stepping Softly On The Earth create work which references our world as a pluriverse in which many worlds coexist and support each other, and where humans and nature are connected.
Considering themes of anti-colonialism, spirituality, inter-species communication, oral traditions and embodied knowledge, artists from Lebanon, Brazil, Pakistan, Australia, Mexico, India and Colombia among other countries share their multidimensional work. (Un)Spoken Territories is an accompanying weekend of conversations, film screenings, workshops and performances taking place on Friday 8th-Saturday 9th December, which will further explore these themes, with audiences invited to join artists, activists and filmmakers from Mexico, Peru, Syria and Morocco to hear about the land from different oral and aural perspectives. Highlights of the programme include textile experiences with artist Cristina Flores; a deep listening session led by artist and curator Ulises Matamoros, which focuses on the musicality of the Ngiba language; and a screening of short film Nendok entre lagunas by Zapotec activist filmmaker Juan Ernesto (Noba) Regaldo Morales.
Stepping Softly On The Earth runs until 14th April. (Un)Spoken Territories takes place on Friday 8th-Saturday 9th December @ Baltic, Gateshead

Image: Chloe & The Brainwaves by Takenbystorm Photography

Chloe & The Brainwaves
Chloe & The Brainwaves are a quartet consisting of the eponymous Chloe, Alex, Michael and Lewis, who have music played together since their teens. Their hook-laden sound takes in influences as broad as Radiohead, Taylor Swift, Led Zeppelin and Haim. Having released their debut single Expensive Things back in June, the quartet are now embarking on a tour behind recent release Mind Running Wild, another urgent and anthemic earworm which acts as a solid testament to their well-honed command of the craft. Support comes from Nottingham-formed psychedelic quintet Midnight Rodeo, who support the Brainwaves following trips to Europe, two sold-out hometown shows and prestigious slots at festivals such as The Great Escape, Dot to Dot and Kendal Calling.
Friday 8th December @ Independent, Sunderland

Matt Deighton
There is perhaps an alternate universe in which Matt Deighton’s name is of household status. Certainly, his is a talent deserving of such recognition. In many respects, the murmured lore that surrounds the singer-songwriter is just as entrancing as the mesmeric cuts of folk-tinged contemplativeness on which he has built a solo career. Here is the man who fronted acid jazz idols Mother Earth, the guitarist who flanked Paul Weller throughout the late ‘90s, and who Noel Gallagher personally recommended as his replacement when the outspoken maestro walked out on a continental tour with Oasis around the turn of the millennium.
On Friday 8th December, Wandering Oak brings Deighton to the North East for a show at Newcastle’s striking Common Room, a venue befitting of the headliner’s wondrous repertoire.
Often heralded as a natural successor to the likes of Nick Drake, Davey Graham and John Martyn, Deighton has hewn a discography of astonishing beauty from a life that has often been shaped by fates far beyond his control. Described as “a diamond among the silt”, his towering album Villager was the subject of a Mojo Buried Treasure feature, and has been hailed by many as a contemporary British classic within its genre.
Friday 8th December @ The Common Room, Newcastle

Young Women’s Film Academy 5th birthday
The North East-based Young Women’s Film Academy blow the birthday candles out on an inspiring five years of female-led film-making this month, as they host a celebratory event at Newcastle’s Star & Shadow Cinema on Saturday 9th December. The YWFA is the only one of its kind in the UK, and they’re based right here on our doorstep! With an aim of providing girls and young women from here in the North East with film-making skills, the work they do helps to enrich lives and promote positive wellbeing. At their fifth birthday bash, expect screenings of some of the amazing films created in that time, including their most recently completed project. Plus, live music from pop duo Twayn and revered local songwriter Beccy Owen, who have written music especially for YWFA projects. There will also be awards dedicated to the achievement of young people involved in the academy – some of whom have gone on to study or work in the film industry following their involvement with the YWFA.
Saturday 9th December @ Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle

Image: Young Women’s Film Academy

William Thompson
Some kids get all the luck… but then some grow up disabled in a working class family living on a council estate in Belfast in the ‘90s. Thankfully, we all know what tragedy and time do, and so William Thompson has comedy in spades.
When he isn’t doing stand-up or being featured on the terrestrial channels and Rosie Jones’ Disability Comedy Extravaganza on Dave, you can find him podcasting his little heart out and being a right rascal on Mudblood and Tea With Me, which has enjoyed a few viral hits (and not the Covid kind). The Northern Irish comedian is as upbeat as his accent allows, and doesn’t ask for any of your pity regarding his less than fortunate start in life – although he will gladly accept your laughs. His new show The Hand You’re Dealt, which rocks up to The Stand on Saturday 9th December, is an in-depth look at making the best of a not great situation and turning his life’s struggles – from relationships and family drama to disability stereotypes (or lack thereof) – into something that can hopefully put a smile on his audience’s faces. To be fair, even if the show is a massive flop, we daresay he’s handled worse.
Saturday 9th December @ The Stand, Newcastle

Side By Side Arts Festive Festival
While the area’s ‘Railway Quarter’ moniker may be something of a misnomer, this grand gathering of live music performed in some of the excellent venues around the railway arches in Gateshead is a treat nonetheless, and will include festive tunes to get you in the spirit alongside great food and drink.
Sunday 10th December @ The Central Bar, Station East, AXIS, VIN and Microbus, Gateshead

Holy Wave
Texas born childhood friends Holy Wave take to the road in support of their newest, just released album Five of Cups and a back catalogue covering their past fifteen years together, dropping in to The Cluny 2 on Sunday 10th December.
Musically they lean into the tranquil psychedelic realm in a dream pop sensibility, eschewing the jamming guitar heroics of others. The group combine the melodies and tripped out instrumentation in a Beatles-meets-The-Velvet-Underground way but evolved into a sun-bleached, colour-saturated dimension where time is elastic and all eras happen at once. There’s a real sense of aural exploration in their latest full-length release, finding new territory and themes to add to their already full textural palette. Guitars jangle, woozy synths wash back and forth, and vocals melodically steer the listener into a pensive process of self-reflection.
Support is provided by Anglo-Austrian, multi-instrumentalist, former street singer and global traveller Alicia Edelweiss, who brings her own very distinct blend of freak folk, chamber pop and anti-folk, which culminated in the 2019 drop of her debut album When I’m Enlightened, Everything Will Be Better alongside a host of EPs and singles in the past few years working towards her sophomore release. It’ll be a blissed-out trip of a gig for sure.
Sunday 10th December @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

The Front Bottoms
Midwest (via New Jersey) emo isn’t dead – it’s playing at Newcastle University SU on Sunday 10th December. In the last two decades, signing to emo/pop punk record label Fueled By Ramen has basically meant anything from a guaranteed dedicated following to a Platinum-certified discography; and since The Front Bottoms joined their ranks in 2015, the group has at least achieved the former.
The NJ duo, alongside a rotating roster of touring musicians, haven’t smashed records, but their fans love to smash their records – which is good for them. It’s given them the support they need to accomplish a sizeable discography – a good mix of LPs and EPs across their 15 year career – the latest of which came in August of this year. You Are Who You Hang Out With features the characterful drawl of vocalist Brian Sella lamenting his struggles – the very thing that fans across the globe have tuned in for five times already. There’s a little more autotune this time around (a controversial move in some circles) and a smidge more positivity than previous incarnations. So perhaps, as the album title may well suggest, they’ve learnt to change up their company for the better.
Sunday 10th December @ Newcastle University Students’ Union

Image: The Front Bottoms by Jimmy Fontaine

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