WEEKLY ROUND-UP (08.07.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Jaws (But Gay) by TJmov

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 Bridge Festival returns for its fourth year celebrating the best in British hip-hop, with this year’s programme placing an emphasis on the unsung heroes of the genre – DJs who have provided the beats and soundtrack to the culture and the street artists who have created the visual backdrops.
The multi-venue five-day event launches at the Tanners Arms on Wednesday 10th July with local legend DJ Smoove and live street art. Elsewhere, the festival will include a mixture of art jams, graffiti workshops for neurodiverse creatives, a live special on Method Radio featuring Amy Warehouse, Lukey B and Aems MC, while Asylum x NE Rising will run a showcase event at Zerox featuring the best North East rappers. Saturday 13th is Family Day, promising pop-up performances with a hip-hop gaming room and then a concourse takeover at The Glasshouse with DJ Specifik, Holly Flo Lightly and Dan Swift followed by DJ Shadow in Sage One.
Festival organiser Sandy Duff said: “This year’s lost arts festival will feature a selection of turntablists presenting traditional and analogue approaches alongside current tech, plus new legacy artwork in Newcastle city centre created by old skool graffiti crews.”
Wednesday 10th July-Sunday 14th July @ Various venues, Newcastle

Image: Harry Baker

Harry Baker
Described by various people over the years as “the greatest performer on earth”, “spectacularly witty” and “epic”, former world poetry slam champion Harry Baker has amassed quite the fan club. A lover of German and mathematics as well as a TED talk veteran and festival favourite, more recently his unashamedly honest poetry has been noticed on social media where over 10 million people have seen his work on Instagram and TikTok.
After his previous show centred around mental health battles, he says that he intended for his third tour, which drops into Seaton Delaval Hall on Thursday 11th July, to be a more uplifting affair. Sadly due to the trials of both his personal life and the wider world, this hasn’t happened but he still hopes that his new poems about wellies, postcodes and Schofferhofer will be relatively joyful. A listen to his clever Paper People poem will demonstrate why he’s known for having audiences in the palm of his hand – not just for his wonderfully written words, but also for the skill involved in delivering such tricky tongue-twisters as “There’d be a paper princess Kate but we’d all stare at paper Pippa. And then we’d all live in fear of killer Jack the Paper-Ripper”. Impressive stuff indeed.
Thursday 11th July @ Seaton Delaval Hall

The Becoming
North East-based dance and theatre production company balletLORENT have reworked their extraordinary piece The Becoming. With a focus on inspirational images of dancers throughout the 20th century, The Becoming explores how clothing informs identity; the production will be performed by seven remarkable dancers, spanning all ages, who pour their bottled-up dreams onto the stage adorned in captivating costumes created to elevate their every move.
Founded in 1993, the company still push boundaries on and off stage and do so once again with The Becoming, which will be performed in a series of three intimate 70 capacity shows at balletLORENT’s own studio in the John Marley Centre in Newcastle’s west end from Thursday 11th-Saturday 13th July. The piece was fuelled by raw emotions and frustrations coming from years of the inability to tour the country. Resilience and creativity help these dancers push themselves to their limits. The theme central to The Becoming is transformation, and its performance contains brief scenes of nudity and physical vulnerability.
These performances promise an intimate and emotive journey of transformation through stunning movements.
Thursday 11th-Saturday 13th July @ John Marley Centre, Newcastle

Mouth of the Tyne Festival
Watching live music in the atmospheric grounds of Tynemouth Priory is a unique experience, and ever-reliable Mouth of the Tyne Festival delivers a fun-filled line-up. Ocean Colour Scene headline on Thursday 11th, Rick Astley plays a (sold out) show on Friday 12th, North East artist Andrew Cushin heads up Saturday 13th and Heather Small performs on Sunday 14th.
Thursday 11th-Sunday 14th July @ Tynemouth Priory & Castle

Hark! The Sound of Stories
HARK! The Sound of Stories, which comes to Darlington Library on Friday 12th July, has become an integral part of the Teesside cultural calendar, blending literature and aural delights together in an intimate setting.
Darlington’s Crown Street Library might not be the first place you think of to attend a gig and have a nice cold pint of craft lager, but with Crafty Merlin’s pop-up bar making a special appearance this fantasy becomes a reality!
Bringing the ambience and melodies are Me Lost Me, aka Jayne Dent, a Newcastle-based artist who takes influence from folk, art pop, noise, ambient and improvised music. Also performing are Brick, also natives of Newcastle, who will be mesmerising audiences with their dreamy acoustic sounds. The music will be interwoven with spoken word performances from North East poetry stalwart Bob Beagrie, who recently released his latest poetry collection Romanceros; Bridget Hamilton, who has created works for Kielder Observatory and BBC Radio 3; and Amy Lord, a writer from Middlesbrough whose latest novel The Disappeared won a Northern Writers Award.
A perfect combination of words, music and sound awaits you!
Friday 12th July @ Crown Street Library, Darlington

Jumpin’ Hot Club Country Cantina
Now fully established as a regular fixture, Country Cantina – now in its eleventh year – is a bijou delight. Run by the magnificent Jumpin’ Hot Club crew and deliberately kept small and friendly, this two-day event takes place on a gorgeous farm on the Durham coast from Friday 12th-Saturday 13th July, and once again boasts a fine line-up that reflects the JHC’s remit: there’s country from artists like Cahalen Morrison and Kari McLeod, a tribute to Nina Simone from Lady Nade, storming rockabilly from Howlin’ Ric & The Rocketeers, shitkicking bar-room delights from The Burner Band, Everly Brothers-tinged loveliness from our very own The Hightowns and a whole lot more.
There’ll also be an open mic spot, a campfire session (weather permitting) and the JHC’s very own Shippy providing one of his legendary 78rpm sets. There’s catering from La Fiesta, a well-stocked bar and the site is particularly lovely. Tickets are just £50 and they’re running low, so don’t dither.
Friday 12th -Saturday 13th July @ The Barn, Easington

Image: Lady Nade by Emma Holbrook

We’re Not Going Back
We’re Not Going Back has a fantastic team behind it; Red Ladder Theatre Company have collaborated with Unite the Union to create a musical performance based on the 1984 Miner’s Strike, but from the perspective of three women. Performed at Live Theatre in Newcastle from Friday 12th-Sunday 14th July, there’s no cops and striking miners here; instead, the production reflects the experience of three sisters from a pit village, hit hard by the miner’s strike, and their determination to set up a branch of Women Against Pit Closures.
Written by Boff Whalley from renowned band Chumbawamba, and with musical direction from North East songwriter Beccy Owen, this promises to be an audio delight, as well as social drama. Olive, Mary and Isabel are different generations whose everyday squabbles become entwined with issues around the strike, a battle fought in homes and within families, making each woman question their family ties, lives and relationships. You can expect humour, working class resilience and song – and it’s great to see Live Theatre offering two matinees as well as reduced ticket prices for Unite members. Despite being hard hitting, this looks like a lot of fun, and the 80’s setting and costumes will bring back memories for some, and share with others such an important part of our Northern social history.
Friday 12th-Sunday 14th July @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

Jaws (But Gay)
If you still haven’t made plans for the most highly-anticipated week of the year, Shark Week (yep, Shark Week), there’s no need to panic… Alphabetti Theatre have you covered.
Mama Rhi and Mack bring queer cabaret show Jaws (But Gay) to the venue on Friday 12th July as part of a full week of shark-themed programming. Featuring so many talented acts from “sequinned sea creatures, sexy sailors, to magnificent merfolk”, they just might need a bigger boat! Expect drag, burlesque, music and spoken word, drenched in plenty of camp silliness and chaos. 
Other Shark Week events at Alphabetti include Cult Cinema Club screenings of Sharknado, Deep Blue Sea and Shark Tale, as well as comedy presented by Felt Nowt from brilliant North East stand-ups for the Hook, Line and Giggles Comedy Night on Thursday 11th. Closing out the week is Tim Dalling’s tribute to Ivor Cutler, Help! I Think I’m Turning Into Ivor Cutler!, on Saturday 13th July. With so much to sink your teeth into, don’t wait to snap up your tickets! 
Friday 12th July @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

Four bands for the price of one? Excellent! Indie rock band Ninebanks return to Independent for a rare hometown show, with support from the pop punk trio Slackrr, Scottish alt. rock group Stay For Tomorrow and emo rockers Ochisia.
Friday 12th July @ Independent, Sunderland

Lost In The Woods Gathering
A coming together of like-minded souls, Lost In The Woods’ Gathering brings out-there, weird and experimental sounds to an undisclosed location in Sedgefield. The line-up includes Tetchi, Beastfish Buff, Featherteeth, Cosmic Egg, The Windsor Lizards and more. Attendance is via the invite link below.
Friday 12th-Sunday 14th July @ Sedgefield

Redcar Summer Exhibition
Continuing to build on the gallery’s mission to exhibit diverse, contemporary art forms, the Redcar Summer Exhibition will feature a vast array of artists showcasing a variety of mediums. Highlights include visual artist Anna Usadi, contemporary conceptual artist Carl Truscott, potter David Sproxton and sculptor Christine Walker.
Saturday 13th July-Saturday 31st August @ Redcar Contemporary Art Gallery

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