WEEKLY ROUND-UP (07.08.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Frankie Archer, who plays the Generator Live Fringe gig at The Georgian Theatre

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

Fortitude Valley
Formed at the tail-end of 2019, the indie pop four-piece obviously weren’t going to have the easiest start. Nevertheless, they persisted, releasing their first self-titled record in the summer of 2021, and now they have another well on the way. In hot anticipation of album #2, Fortitude Valley have embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the UK, dropping by at our very own Cumberland Arms on Thursday 10th August for an evening of non-stop bops. New tracks are guaranteed to be on the set-list, alongside those (not so) old favourites. Whenever they come from, Fortitude Valley’s glimmering indie pop rock blend is the perfect summer soundtrack. Support comes from label mates and irony enthusiasts Adults, whose indie tweecore is a big mood for unwed pseudo-grown-ups everywhere, and Hartlepool’s Mt. Misery who really bring it home with wistful, breezy psychedelic pop born straight from the North East coastline.
Thursday 10th August @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

Image: Fortitude Valley

Fusako Yoshikawa
Northern Print Gallery in Newcastle presents an exhibition of recent vibrant, abstract woodblock prints by Japanese artist Fusako Yoshikawa. Living and working Fusako used uses traditional Japanese woodblock techniques to create her abstract, bold and dynamic prints. For each print, she uses four or five separate wood blocks. The shapes on each block are developed with great care.
Friday 9th August – Saturday 30th September @ Northern Print, Newcastle

Summer Open Call exhibition
Middlesbrough’s Pineapple Black continue to lead the charge when it comes to supporting early career practitioners and outsider artists. Their fourth annual open call exhibition will be a large scale group exhibition which connects artists of all backgrounds, ages and levels of experience to provide an intriguing cross-section of Tees-affiliated talent.
Friday 11th August-Saturday 9th September @ Pineapple Black, Middlesbrough

Dear Sally
The Companie’s premiere of their short film, which was first conceived at a Tyneside Cinema editing course. Dear Sally features Bethany Peacock, a ballet dancer turned electrician, who performs a beautifully nuanced silent performance as Sally. Screening begins at 1pm and features support from Gabriele Heller and Nigel Greenwood, who will perform a short set and also provide a live improvised musical soundtrack to the film.
Friday 11th August @ Digital Lounge, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Pointy Features
Pointy Features are taking over Bobiks with their signature eclectic sound, collaborating with the electrifying guitarist Mitch Laddie. As a launch for their brand new project following the completion of their debut album as a band, audiences can expect innovation and expertise, indubitably accompanied by their remarkable analogue liquid light show.
Friday 11th August @ Bobiks, Newcastle

Opus Kink
Laying between the treacherous land of funk, punk and jazz, Opus Kink have infused their music with vocal noises and triumphant horns to create a sound that borders on the edge of being a bop and just plain eerie. It’s a genre match from heaven, and the two distinct styles blend together effortlessly, sounding like Talking Heads’ estranged cousin. The band have treated their listeners this year with a brand new EP, titled My Eyes, Brother, following on from their acclaimed second EP ‘Til The Stream Runs Dry. Both projects are fantastic snippets of what the band has to offer, having distinctly memorable moments throughout and an unmatched energy.
Friday night’s gig at KU is a part of a series of performances for the band funded by The National Lottery’s United By Music Tour – meaning that if you select the option while purchasing the tickets, you are given a second ticket for free. The Stockton gig also features Melbourne’s poetically powerful and raw sounding Floodlights.
Friday 11th August @ KU, Stockton & Sunday 13th August @ Zerox, Newcastle

Live at the Link
Stockton Globe’s little sister venue The Link plays host to Summer Sessions, featuring performances from some hotly tipped North East indie rock bands. Alt. rock quintet Gone Tomorrow lead the charge, ably assisted by Seventh Heaven and Joe Trafford.
Saturday 12th August @ The Link, Stockton Globe

Generator Live Fringe
The Generator team have hooked up with three of the biggest bands in the region to curate a gigs in their home towns throughout August. Newcastle is represented by the mighty Pigsx7, whose gig will be at The Tyne Bar on Saturday 12th August and will feature Leon Maddy, Smote, TV Death, Waves Of Dread, Reali-T, Ceitidh Mac and Dawn Terry. Sunderland’s bill is the work of local heroes The Futureheads and will see Hector Gannet, The Early Purple, James Leonard Hewitson and The Samphires playing at Pop Recs Ltd. on Friday 18th August. And the bill at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Saturday 26th August is picked by Paul Smith from Maximo Park and includes Hannah Robinson, Trunky Juno, Nadedja, Iris Brickfield and Frankie Archer.
Saturday 12th August @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle / Friday 18th August @ Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland / Saturday 26th August @ Georgian Theatre, Stockton


Image: Ialoni Dance Company


Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance

The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance returns for the latest in a long and prestigious series of cultural events that promises something for everybody. Taking ‘The Dance of Time’ and Salvador Dali’s melting clocks as the theme this year, the programme of events runs at a variety of venues across Teesside, with a time-altering array of traditional and contemporary dance from across the globe. This year’s celebration features artists and dancers from Ghana, Chile, Philippines, Mexico and Georgia, all invited to share a stage celebration. The festival’s real strength, as well as providing a showcase for this diverse, international talent, is in the intersections and collaborations that it engenders. Held across multiple venues, many of the events are either free to attend or have a ‘pay what you decide’ offer, further helping with the celebratory and inclusive atmosphere the festival always promises.
Saturday 12th-Sunday 20th August @ Various Venues

B.O.P Fest
The award-winning Building Our Planet festival is a free one-day wonderland of live music, art and street theatre set around the theme of ‘going green’. A variety of live performances will span Cuban-Brazilian music, hip-hop rhythms and more, plus there’s junk instrument making, art murals, flower garland creating and B.O.P Fest t-shirt designing, all with intrinsic links to raising awareness of our planet and the benefits of recycling and reusing. 
Sunday 13th August @ Glenholme Park, Crook

Turn That Racket Off Bus Tour
Community radio station, Radio Northumberland, and TyneIdols team up for a one-off bus tour which will examine the music of the North-East – from teddy boys, to mods, right the way up to Sam Fender. The route is a closely guarded secret, but the three-hour-long tour includes refreshments and features a selection of songs played through a state-of-the-art soundsystem. 

Sunday 13th August – Leaving from The Exchange in North Shields. For tickets text Julie Clay on 07944338026

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Written in 2011, and set in middle-1950s, middle-America (peak kitsch in terms of aesthetic), cult hit American play 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche focuses on the annual Quiche Breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. Bitingly funny, witty, absurd and occasionally shocking, 5 Lesbians… uncovers repression in middle-America – a topic as depressingly relevant today as it was in the 1950s – whilst never missing a chance to get an outrageous laugh from the audience. The play also contrasts the acute anxiety over who will win the ‘best quiche in show’ award against the chronic anxiety of cold-war nuclear attack. And it is this clever pairing of the everyday with colossal global events that might offer a more British significance beyond the hilarity, shock value and double entendres. Which is not to diminish the importance of innuendos and humour, which the play promises in spades… and what could be more British than a good innuendo? The production also promises (or should that be ‘warns’) that there will be ample audience participation. So go as a group to be inducted as Sisters of the Society.
Tuesday 15th-Saturday 19th August @ Laurel’s, Whitley Bay

Swans deliver and revolutionise with a staggering ingenuity, churning out some of rock music’s most challenging, important, influential and impactful projects put to wax, and the weight of albums like Soundtracks For The Blind, The Seer or Be Kind still loom over them. 2023 saw Swans’ latest offering The Beggar. The behemoth of an album features Michael Gira’s quaking voice booming with autonomy, as repetitive rhythms and eerily beautiful melodies drift across the exquisite production, which can perhaps only be matched by witnessing it in its live majesty. Take the opportunity to do so at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop on Tuesday 15th August and it’ll be a night of intensity that you may never be able to shake.
Tuesday 15th August @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle

Russian Circles
Chicago-based Russian Circles can be epically loud and deftly hushed. Their albums are as solid a body of heavy, instrumental music as you’re likely to find and have seen the band establish a near 20-year career. Musically they weave melodic riffs in amongst some of the doomiest sounding gothic sludge, taking listeners on a journey as they play out often grandiose tracks, like those on their latest album Gnosis where the spiritual undercurrent and layered cinematics uneasily gives up its internal lore. Critics and fans alike have often found it difficult to classify Russian Circles’ sound or atypical approach to metal, and that’s exactly what makes them interesting. It’s hard to find a jumping off point sometimes when bereft of lyrics, yet the band’s meticulous attention to atmosphere and ability to have audiences conjure up their own visuals is what makes fans devout and suitably mesmerised.
Tuesday 15th August @ Newcastle University Students’ Union


Image: Joilette

Everything about Mexico-based band Joliette’s music is intense and explosive. Part hardcore, part firebomb, they defy every attempt at traditional genre pigeonholing, not just visceral, not simply emo and what about those swirling shoegazing tones? Instead you’re obliged to ride their wave of awe inspiring, adventurous heavy riffing and rhythmic hammering. At best you could tell friends the band is ‘mathcore’ but that’s hugely underselling them, you have to witness the force they exert up close and in person, in the throng, to fully understand.
Tuesday 15th August @ Bobiks, Newcastle

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