WEEKLY ROUND-UP (05.06.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Amy Dover, Under A Strange Sun – A Monkey I Met in Panama, 2023, pencil on cotton

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

Rise Above It: The Story of Stone Foundation
The Midlands soul band celebrate their 25th anniversary by teaming up with director Lee Cogswell to produce a documentary detailing the band’s quarter-century of musical connections. As well as the 90-minute documentary, the night will include a question and answer session, and an acoustic set from co-founders and songwriters Neil Sheasby (bass guitar) and Neil Jones (vocals and guitar). Seeing Jones and Sheasby strip back the lush soul-influenced orchestration of their tunes, that deliver foot-tapping horn sections, percussion, subtle tremolo electric guitars and grounding, groove-laden bass riffs, will be worth the price of admission (seven quid) on its own.
Tuesday 6th June @ The Forum Music Centre, Darlington

Breakin Convention
The international festival of hip-hop dance theatre returns to the region with an explosive showcase of the skills of some of the best poppers, lockers, b-boys and b-girls in the country, alongside showstopping international acts. Expect DJs, graffiti artists, freestyle dance sessions and plenty of opportunities to join in and learn more about hip-hop culture with artistic director Jonzi D.
Wednesday 7th June @ Customs House, South Shields

The List (reading)
Canadian writer Jennifer Tremblay’s one woman play The List is largely considered a perfect piece of dramatic writing. Written with the spareness of poetry yet with the tension of a crime drama, it tells the compelling story of a mother’s possible accountability in the death of her neighbour. Live welcome Jill Halfpenny(Eastenders, Coronation Street) to read this exceptional play.
Wednesday 7th June @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

Saiba – All Bones Turn to Dust
Saiba – All Bones Turn To Dust is a new exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist and academic Amy Dover. Bringing together Dover’s work during a residency living with indigenous Kuna communities in a remote Panamanian village, a liminal space between forest and ocean, this exhibition offers an eclectic mix of media, from sound sculptures to drawings, preparatory notes and prints, all of which form a mosaic that asks fundamental questions of the connections, and often brutal interactions, between human and non-human animals, the nature of conservation, and the framing of non-human animals within a human-centric cultural lens.
Wednesday 7th June–Saturday 1st July @ Vane Gallery, Gateshead

A Different Thread
The power and purpose of music sees a reinvention in the hands of A Different Thread. This Transatlantic duo capture a stunning blend of 70s folk revival, country and Appalachian blues in their sound, creating an ambiguous integration that shines as both dark and happy, sad and beautiful. Both Best and Jackson are renowned for their travels, and themes of moving and change are a common part of their music, and rumour has it this could be the last time to catch them in the UK before they relocate to the States. With breathtaking harmonies, soulful textures and lyrics that perfectly capture those indescribable feelings of the human experience, this makes for a must-see performance, so intrinsically relatable yet reputably unreplicable.
Thursday 8th June @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

Innovative Scottish four-piece SLIX push the boundaries of rock and pop to create a distinctive, dreamy sound. Having gained a firm following for their catchy optimism and thought-provoking lyrics, their onstage camaraderie has been compared to the likes of early Blur and Idles. Local support comes from Britpop-influenced Porcelain.
Friday 9th June @ Head of Steam, Newcastle

George Lamb & Friends
Local star and songwriter George Lamb, whose lockdown-created album Family And Friends granted him esteemed recognition, and an award for Album of the Year from Radio Severn FM, prepares to recreate his album in a performance which will feature many of the region’s stars, including Paul Wilson on keys, John Taylor on bass, Jim Bullock on harmonica and not one but two drummers, Ian Hamilton and Barry Race, who perform alongside Archie Brown, Phil Caffrey, Dave Ditchburn, Dean James, Veronica Kelly, John Lamb, Moira Lamb, Philip Lamb, Pat McMahon, Helen Moran, George Pallas, Shannon ‘Pearl’ Powell, George Shovlin, Terry Slesser, Dave Smith and Emma Wilson.
Saturday 10th June @ The Fire Station, Sunderland

Image: Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express by Lauren Taback

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Prophet’s songwriting incorporates elements from across the spectrum of Americana. Shades of country and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, Springsteen and Tin Pan Alley, Dylan and Motown can all be heard within his well-crafted sound. All these influences support a lyricism that is equally well-read, dropping names and references that draw a map from sea to shining sea.
Saturday 10th June @ The Cluny, Newcastle

Crossing the Tees Festival
Library services across the region have collaborated to bring an all-encompassing programme of literary workshops, exhibitions, and events – in person and online – for low or no cost at all. For lovers of the classics, Lucy Harding’s Wuthering Heights exhibition at Thornaby Central Library spans the entirety of June (with a little Meet the Artist on Friday 16th). Aspiring writers can find a myriad of creative workshops, from tips on writing your own memoir (perfect for those family historians) to scene-building and settings for your next great work of fiction. Evening shows provide a bit of late-night entertainment, from improv comedy/crime fiction spectacular Whose Crime Is It Anyway? to poetry and prose open mic night TWOOMPH! that take all your favourite words-based shenanigans to the next level. And for those seeking out their next library withdrawal, there’s plenty of bestselling authors popping in to talk about their recent releases throughout the festival, including Mike Gayle, Matthew Green and Savita Kalhan.
Saturday 10th-Sunday 18th June @ Various Venues

Mini Green Festival
This day-long festival is jam-packed with activities for the environmentally curious: outdoor entertainment and stalls provide a breath of fresh air (literally), while appropriately themed workshops are perfect for those seeking a more tactile experience. The real star (pun intended) of the show, however, is the roster of eye-opening documentaries screened. Crude Reality – brought to you by Stop EACOP – shows the harm that a proposed oil line through the heart of many East African communities would cause, while Offshore takes a deep dive into the potential for renewable energy and its impact on industry, workers and the communities it serves.
Saturday 10th June @ Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle

The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek
South African Athol Fugard is one of the most significant international playwrights in theatre history. With a huge body of work targeted at the apartheid regime and its devastating legacy, he remains one of the worlds most performed dramatic writers. His newest play The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek has never before been seen in the UK. Described by the Hollywood Reporter as “an intimate theatrical gem” the play explores the subject of creativity in later life and how art can help define the life stories of those. Live Theatre shares an onstage reading performed by Tyrone Huggins (Black Earth Rising; Black Men Walking), Jessica Johnson (Love It If We Beat Them; Educating Rita) and rising local star Kema Kay (Shine; I, Daniel Blake) on Athol Fugard’s birthday.
Sunday 11th June @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

An Evening with Pete Astor
Pete Astor comes from an alternative Britain. Or a Britain from an alternate dimension. One where Britpop lived up to its own expectations, and didn’t get swallowed by kitsch and cool Britannia pomp. And in that alternative Britain, The Loft, the first of the legendary, under-the-radar indie pioneer’s musical incarnations, didn’t split up (before they really began) in infamously public fashion on stage in 1985, and their lilting, self-effacing folk-inflected indie became the template for Creation Records, the fledgeling label they helped to found. In the 40 years since that departure from alternate reality, Astor has quietly amassed a back catalogue of tender, acoustic-driven tracks under a litany of names.
Sunday 11th June @ Bobiks, Newcastle

Image: Pete Astor by Elena Ferreras Carreras

Modest tells the story of pioneering Victorian-era artist Elizabeth Thompson, who in 1874 created the legendary painting Roll Call that would see her fall just short of being the first woman elected to the Royal Academy. Her incredible story has been brought to life by writer Ellen Brammar, for a night of music hall and drag king cabaret in a punk-spirited show which celebrates one of the country’s real trailblazers. Having experienced a unique combination of privilege and prejudice throughout her time in the arts, it’s a fascinating tale that is finally and deservedly taking centre stage.
Monday 12th-Tuesday 13th June @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

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