WEEKLY ROUND-UP (09.10.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Nico Yearwood

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

Science by Luxmuralis
Artistic collaborators Luxmuralis present their new installation, Science, at Durham Cathedral. Dazzling light projections of elements, DNA and the great scientists of history with fuse with immersive soundscapes, examining the link between science and religion, and exploring the wisdom and beauty of both.
Wednesday 11th-Sunday 15th October @ Durham Cathedral

Martin Kohlstedt
The cutting-edge composer, pianist and producer has been pushing boundaries in electronic and instrumental music since the early 2010’s and his work spans six albums from the past decade, including his latest, Feld, released in March this year.
Kohlstedt describes his work as modular composition and his pieces never take a definitive form, evolving during live performances through improvisation. Through this his shows interact with the audience, the space and create a changing context making each performance unique. His knack for combining inspirations and influences from fundamentally different worlds turns them into something that feels more like something living body than a processional setlist. Years of collaboration with other boundary pushing musicians and artists makes Kohlstedt unafraid to experiment in real time making for some truly exciting one-off musical events you wouldn’t want to miss on this rare visit to the UK.
Thursday 12th October @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead

Bold Africa
Bold Africa is a four-day festival that aims to traverse contemporary East African music with modern influences thrown in, so expect dub juxtaposed with traditional Taarab, ancient Bugandan drumming and techno. Live music and workshops explore the similarities in rhythm, visual and sensory reactions to both the old and new across the four days of the festival with a wonderful mix of guests and performers.
Rapasa Otieno is a multi-instrumentalist and contemporary dancer bringing Kenyan storytelling to life in a Geordie twang. Mim Suleiman uses her East African heritage to blend traditional Taarab vibes with dub, jazz, soul and funk into a genre defying musical melee. Workshops by KUSUM will include Weku Kome (One Family), a multi-generational sound and movement session based around traditional West African folk songs followed by Breath Flow Release the following day, a session aimed at awakening the mind through breath work, chanting and embodied movement.
Elsewhere, Nihiloxica is widely regarded as one of the most invigorating, powerful and transcendental live acts of recent times and, closing the festival is Desire Marea who have cemented themselves as a creative force to be reckoned with by embarking on their own individual sonic journey rooted in music.
Thursday 12th-Saturday 15th October @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle

Image: Desire Marea

Stephen K Amos
Attempting to “find the funny” in the events of the last couple of years is a daunting feat, yet comedian Stephen K Amos’ new show, Oxymoron, attempts to find the joy in sadness, the wisdom of fools and the opportunity in the crisis.
Thursday 12th October @ The Witham, Barnard Castle

The Joy Hotel
Glaswegian alt. rockers The Joy Hotel’s idiosyncratic sound fuses their love of unusual harmonies, old country music and the cinematic arrangements of psych and desert rock classics with the timeless melodies of sixties and seventies pop. Expect a genre-bending and dynamic live act whose distinct playing style has earned them rave reviews. If you can’t make the Newcastle date, they’re playing Twisterella festival in Middlesbrough the following day.
Friday 13th October @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Chiedu Oraka
A recognisable figure in Northern rap and grime, Oraka defies genres with raw honesty and social poetry, creating a unique style that blends intricate lyricism with pulsating beats. He offers an electrifying performance, showcasing his unmatched talent, a knack with social commentary and pushing the boundaries of Northern rap and grime as he reflects on his experiences of the Northern Black experience. Oraka’s vocals are powerful, and carry the essence of Northern grit, which will translate perfectly into intimate venues like Bobiks.
Friday 13th October @ Bobiks, Newcastle

Jesca Hoop
Even if you’re not immediately familiar with any of the prolific Jesca Hoop’s output, there’s likely a good chance you’ve heard one of her many collaborations with artists as diverse as Elbow, Stewart Copeland and Shearwater. In the 16 years since her debut Kismet set her on an interesting path, Jesca has blazed a trail as a singular and captivating artist with a brilliant auteur’s touch. It’s no surprise that her mentor, the similarly singular Tom Waits, described her as a “four-sided coin” and “an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night”. It’s a vivid and fitting endorsement of a truly unique and talented artist.
Her recent ninth LP, Order Of Romance, is a gloriously bold step forward, brilliantly characterised by up-front and percussion-driven production that brings her glorious voice to the fore, grounded by waves of vocal harmony, taut muted guitars and blasts of horns. The result is a hypnotic and refreshing addition to an incredible songbook that will translate brilliantly to the live realm.
Friday 13th October @ The Common Room, Newcastle

Discover Middlesbrough Festival
This inspirational programme of activities is designed to delight and inspire visitors to get the most out of their trip to the town, with many exclusive events and activities available. Chief among the most interesting is a heritage walk around Ormesby Hall (Saturday 14th, Ormesby Hall); daily spotlight tours at MIMA; a delve into the history of Cleveland Art Society (Thursday 19th, Hillstreet Centre); Island Movements, an epic tale of the lives of a family from the Windrush generation, told through a short ballet performance and followed by Q&A (Friday 20th, Dorman Museum); a tour around vinyl pressing plant Press On Vinyl (Friday 20th, Press On Vinyl); an exhibition about the historic and lost pubs of Middlesbrough (Saturday 21st, The Masham); an open studio at Gilkes Street Arts (Saturday 21st); an Art + Social event which features performances from Poets in Residence Sara Dennis and Audrey Cook (Thursday 26th, MIMA); an after hours poke around the Dorman Museum, complete with access to the museum galleries, a bar and tasty treats (Friday 27th, Dorman Museum); an exploration into 5 Gilkes Street, currently the home of Cafe Etch (Saturday 28th); and a night of live poetry with the Black Light Engine Room (Saturday 28th, The Chapel, Whitehouse Street).
Saturday 14th-Monday 31st October @ Various venues, Middlesbrough

Club night Cassini focuses on underground dance music, spanning electro, breakbeat and UK bass. Their October event marks the Newcastle debut for forward-thinking dance artist Aloka, who has been praised for his club-fuelled style which sparkles with an emotional softness.
Saturday 14th October @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Beyond the Moor
Beyond The Moor will once again showcase the best in local and national artists playing contemporary, alternative and traditional folk and roots music across the day long festival.
The line-up includes Amy Leach and Alastair Paul, Shona Newey and David Newey on the Folklub Highlights Stage plus Teatime Tunes Fiddle Band, Frankie Archer, Dan Walsh, Jordan Aikin & Quercus, Benji Kirkpatrick (formally of Bellowhead) on the main stage, while heading up the evening will be celebrated Scottish folk singer Siobhan Miller Trio and main headliner BBC Radio 2 playlisted Lauren Housley & The Northern Cowboys. The organisers are also keen to point out Beyond The Moor is a gender balanced and cross genre festival, with the event also boasting a second stage for the first time.
Saturday 14th October @ Gosforth Civic Theatre

Image: Lauren Housley

The Japanese House
Everyone in attendance at this gig should be wearing the same hazy summer sun-induced smile that accompanies listening to The Japanese House’s second album, In The End It Always Does. Released in festival season Amber Bain’s sophomore effort is riding a wave of good vibes that the music press has bestowed upon the album’s effervescent production, handled by George Daniel (The 1975) and Chloe Kraemer. The bright and occasionally brittle songs that Bain recites mix sombre stories with lighter, occasionally soaring arrangements and the hooky sing-a-longs belie their lyrical blend of twisted breakups and relationship drama, ultimately finding the positives beyond their bleakness.
The Matt Healy assisted duet Sunshine Baby is a key track on the newest album and likely to feature prominently in the set, although a Healy appearance isn’t guaranteed! In essence the new album, as with Bain’s first, Good At Falling and the preceding EPs, brings a nostalgic feel and a relatable vibe to the songs, and that’s why crowds take them to heart so willingly and possessively. You may even find yourself dancing along to some tracks; where earlier Bain material might illicit a sway at best, the new album has a certain individual swagger that accompanies the beats.
Saturday 14th October @ Newcastle University Students’ Union

Teeth of the Sea
A trio many before me have tried and failed to adequately characterise (“progressive post-industrial neo-psychedelia” anyone?), Teeth of the Sea have won serious underground heft over recent years on the strength of their boundless sound and some impressive full-lengths for Rocket Recordings. Expanded from their score for a London Science Museum documentary on the Apollo moon landings, latest headrush Hive ought to burgeon that reputation further still – yet it’s their formidable live shows which draw the ravest reviews of all.
The band’s latest visit to Newcastle offers curious minds a fresh chance to experience their luminant, revelatory sonic expanse; with long-time followers no doubt itching to encounter the likes of throbbing nine-minute odyssey Megafragma in the flesh for the first time.
A hard-as-nails supporting cast sees the return of Leeds three-piece Coded Marking, whose monotone post-punk and aggressive propulsion impressed mightily on the same stage last summer. Local twin-bassed hardcore trio Disciplinary, meanwhile are frontrunners for the coveted Best Album Title of the Year gong with debut release Porkwind. It rips pretty hard too – though not quite to the level of their volcanic, iron-fisted live onslaught. Arrive early!

Saturday 14th October @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Image: Teeth of the Sea by Al Overdrive

Nico Yearwood
Let’s be honest, with political chaos, natural disasters and climate emergencies dominating every news headline, we’re all crying out for some light relief. Enter comedian Nico Yearwood, who brings his singular brand of award-winning, irrepressible charm to Newcastle’s Stand.

Hitting the London comedy scene in 2009, Yearwood has made a name for himself with his laidback style winning over audiences and critics alike, and this autumn sees him heading for the North with brand new material. Exploring the quirks and complications of modern life, his latest show Flower Man will showcase his flair for hilarious anecdotes, telling stories of growing up in Barbados, and building a life in London. Aiming to make the audience think, Flower Man promises to be as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, balancing audience roasts and scripted jokes with self-deprecating storytelling and wry observations on hot topics, from gender fluidity to body positivity.
Tuesday 17th October @ The Stand, Newcastle

Artsy Fartsy Fundraiser
In support of Humankind and Beat, Artsy Fartsy returns for 2023 with a whole new line up featuring some of the North-East’s favourite comedians, live music, a silent arts exhibition, dinner and a charity auction. 
This year’s lineup features some of the region’s finest creatives such as Si Beckwith, Lee Kyle, Sam Wood, Em Grafique and Alex Saxton.
The Artsy Fartsy Fundraiser takes place on Saturday 14th October @ The Common Room, Newcastle

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