WEEKLY ROUND-UP (11.03.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Baltic Open Submission, Meg Jepson, Hoppings, 2022

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.

It’s A Motherfucking Pleasure
It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure promises a night of bold, unapologetic theatre at Northern Stage on Tuesday 12th March. Written by disability-led theatre company FlawBored with director Josh Roche, this production challenges conventional perceptions of disability and identity politics. Following a triumphant run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FlawBored brings their biting satire to Newcastle, promising an evening that spares no one from its critique of the commodification of identity.
As recipients of the Edinburgh Untapped Award 2023 and supported by Arts Council England, Wildcard, plus many others, FlawBored are known for pushing boundaries and smashing stereotypes and It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure promises to provoke, entertain and challenge audiences in a cheeky, chaotic journey that defies expectations and sparks conversation.
Their integrated, creative approach to accessibility ensures that all audience members can fully engage with their work, without resorting to clichés or pity porn. Get your tickets for an evening that promises to be anything but conventional.
Tuesday 12th March @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

Rosie Jones
Contemporary comedian Rosie Jones embarks on a rollicking UK tour this month, bringing her Triple Threat show to The Witham (12th March), Gala Theatre (13th March) and Northern Stage (14th March).
Prepare for a hilarious exploration of Rosie’s self-identity, as she humorously muses on whether she’s a national treasure, a little prick, or something delightfully in between! With Rosie’s trademark cheekiness and boundless energy, this show promises to be an unapologetic celebration of joy. Renowned for her hit travel series Trip Hazard and Mission: Accessible, Rosie Jones is a familiar face on popular TV panel shows like The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Mock the Week.
Triple Threat promises an evening of pure entertainment and belly laughs and will be a must-see event for comedy lovers thanks to Rosie’s electrifying performance, filled with nonsensical fun. British Sign Language interpretation and/or captioning are available upon request, contact the venues for more details.
Tuesday 12th March @ The Witham, Barnard Castle; Wednesday 13th March @ Gala Theatre, Durham; Thursday 14th March @ Northern Stage, Newcastle.

Image: The Early Purple by Amelia Read

The Early Purple
Following their recent tour, which ended with a gig at The Green Room in Stockton for Independent Venue Week where both acts went down a storm, The Early Purple and Hector Gannet are teaming up again to play The Cluny on Thursday 14th March – but this time they’re switching places on the bill.
While The Early Purple, aka Matt Saxon, opened the show solo in Stockton, winning over the crowd with his gentle guitar tunes like Old Eagle and The Way of the Sufi, this time around Saxon will be joined in Newcastle by his multi-limbed band of local musicians to deliver his delightfully worded songs which are inspired by such things as birdwatching, walking in Northumberland and a general election.
Delivering a similar line in indie folk, North Shields-based Hector Gannet were named by Louder Than War as one of ‘25 bands to change your life in 2020’. Their timeless songs have seen them compared to Crazy Horse and one of their biggest inspirations, Lindisfarne, with a cover of Alan Hull’s Blue Murder being a regular feature of their live set.
With their evocative melodies and songs about the local area, the natural world and the human condition, the two acts are well-matched to provide a compelling evening which promises to showcase the very best of North East music.
Thursday 14th March @ The Cluny, Newcastle

Dom Joly
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” so goes the old adage. This is something Dom Joly, Trigger Happy TV comedian, writer and stand-up comedian, knows only too well. It’s something in fact that he’s investigated over the past few years as he’s travelled the world encountering and investigating conspiracy theories and those who believe in them. His Conspiracy Tourist book of last year is now the source of further merriment as he brings some of these truly bizarre tales to live audiences across the UK on a national tour, with a stop off at South Shields’ Customs House on Thursday 14th and Billingham’s Forum Theatre on Thursday 21st March.
Everything from attempting to debunk flat-earthers, hunting UFOs that may be piloted by lizards, asking if JFK committed suicide, unwrapping QAnon and chasing disgraced Infowars head conspiracist Alex Jones around Texas along with much more gets probed and picked over for fun, even if the consequences can prove deeply disturbing. Expect an hilarious, fascinating and slightly anarchic guide to what’s out there, and in the spirit of fairness Dom will be joined on stage by well-known conspiracy theorist Dr Julian Northcote to defend the alternate view.
Thursday 14th March @ Customs House, South Shields

The Light House
None of us are immune to the complexities of love, but what do you do if the person you love doesn’t want to be alive? A poignant and tender exploration of what it means to be in love, The Light House guides us gently through the joy and the pain when the production visits Northern Stage on Friday 15th March.
A literal love letter to our endless capacity for human connection, The Light House is a powerful story of how we fall in love, and what we must overcome to stay in love.
Sure to take you on a roller-coaster of emotions, the life-affirming show is a rallying cry for unity, asking us to ‘join the emergency response’ in the face of dark times. A touching tribute to the power of community, The Light House asks us to consider how we can come together to find the light: dancing, singing, and muddling through together.
Friday 15th March @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

Tyne Valley Film Festival
Returning for its fourth edition, the Tyne Valley Film Festival once again offers a varied programme of films, classic and contemporary, for audiences of all ages to enjoy. Led by Forum Cinema Hexham, screenings take place across a host of venues in the Tyne Valley from Friday 15th-Thursday 28th March.
Priding itself on its commitment to authentic community programming and working alongside film clubs from around the region, there really is something for everyone across the 14-day festival. Those aged 25 and under will benefit from the introduction of £3 tickets for all festival events, some curated especially for those 16-25, such as the anime double feature of The Animatrix and Paprika.
Other festival highlights include the Hexham Archive Film Trail, which is a free walkable trail where you can enjoy short pieces of local archive film in unique venues around the town; a screening of Ken Loach’s new film The Old Oak; plus there’s screenings of cinematic classics, such as a 65th anniversary showing of Hammer Horror The Hound of the Baskervilles, alongside plenty of newer releases including 2023 critically acclaimed Tish, a portrait of the trailblazing photographer. Many features are also preceded by a locally-made short film, allowing you the chance to experience work from the next generation of British filmmakers.
Events are ticketed separately, or you can buy a full festival pass for only £25. Check the website for full listings.
Friday 15th-Thursday 28th March @ various venues in the Tyne Valley

Matt Reed
The Sunderland comic returns to the Tyne Theatre stage with a new show. The cannily titled Matt Out Of Hell promises yet more of his razor-sharp wit and lively storytelling; expect audience interactions, off-the-cuff wittiness and general hilarity throughout.
Friday 15th March @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle

Bad Boy Chiller Crew
Bradford’s finest export, Bad Boy Chiller Crew land at Middlesborough Empire for a night of club-charged anthems, tongue-in-cheek lyricism and addictive basslines on Saturday 16th March.
The Yorkshire rap collective comprised of Gareth ‘GK’ Kelly, Kane Welsh and Sam ‘Clive’ Robinson rose to fame with online prank videos chronicling their debauched antics. Taking influence from the bassline house and MC culture they grew up with, they’ve evolved their own sound, lacing pacey 4×4 beats with frantic ear-worm hooks. Embracing the term ‘charva’ as a way of life, they channel nuances and absurdities of Northern street life into hugely addictive tunes.
Their debut album Disrespectful reached number two on the Official Album Charts, and UK Top 10 release BMW was one of 2022’s bestselling singles. They have blown away audiences at Primavera Sound, Glastonbury and Parklife, and were even nominated for Group of The Year at the BRIT Awards in 2023 (the crew arrived at the esteemed red carpet via horse and carriage).
Taking commercial glory to a new high, the group are touring with their new album Influential, which features singles When It Rains It Pours, Jurgen Kropper and club banger Slidin’, marking the beginnings of a fresh chapter for the boys.
Saturday 16th March @ Middlesbrough Empire

Image: Charlotte Carpenter

Charlotte Carpenter
The inaugural show for the newly minted Middlesbrough Gigs Association, East Midlands singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter presents songs from her debut album, A Modern Rage, a restorative collection of tales of womanhood replete with charging rhythms, punchy vocals and guitar licks aplenty.
Saturday 16th March @ Cafe Etch, Middlesbrough

Baltic Open Submission
104 new artists will be featured in the second instalment of Baltic Open Submission, an exhibition in collaboration with Fenwick, which opens at the Gateshead gallery on Saturday 16th March.
The exhibition, which follows a first round in 2020, showcases North East artists who have previously not had their work showcased. The art ranges from photography, film, sculptures and ceramics.
Some of the artists featured include 11-year-old street artist Terox; award-winning photographer Megan Jepson, who will show work from her new travelling fairgrounds-based project The Showman; and 80-year-old architect Paul W. Kelso will also exhibit a sculpture after being inspired to apply by his daughter.
Baltic curator Niomi Fairweather said: “It’s been a real privilege to get an insight into the fantastic artwork and practices that people are producing. It makes me feel proud to work in this creative region.”
The exhibition will be shown alongside three pieces by established artists, which include Newcastle-based photographer Phyllis Christopher, sculptor Holly Hendry and painter Jim Moir, also known as comedian Vic Reeves.
Saturday 16th March–Sunday 1st September @ Baltic, Gateshead

Iona Lane & Catch The Sparrow
Set to take the stage at Claypath Delicatessen in Durham on Saturday 16th March, Iona Lane and Catch the Sparrow are part of a new generation of folk musicians who thrive in immersive storytelling.
Glasgow-based Lane studied from notable folk musicians such as Nancy Kerr, Jim Moray and Stuart McCallum, and has furthered their musical world-building and personable songwriting through her own talents as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Releasing her debut album Hallival to critical acclaim in 2022, Iona Lane takes inspiration from the titular mountain on the island of Rum. Scottish folklore and physical inspiration culminate into a delicate yet confident body of work and highlight the depths of her talents and her promise as a performer.
Through her performing name Catch The Sparrow, Suze Terwisscha combines her love for folklore and composition within her music, portraying a wide variety of genres implemented into her narrative-driven works. Catch The Sparrow’s late-2022 EP Winter Flowers presents her foray into Northumberland-inspired folk music, presenting a combination of traditional tunes and deeper lyricism.
Audiences can expect an evening of strong vocals, unique instrumentation and the enjoyment of the folk tradition.
Saturday 16th March @ Claypath Deli, Durham

Image: Iona Lane

Chris Killip & Graham Smith
An exhibition of prints and rarely seen photographs depicting the village of Skinningrove by Chris Killip and Graham Smith. The exhibition will display – for the very first time – unseen work by two renowned British documentary photographers.
Saturday 16th March-Saturday 14th September @ Land of Iron, Skinningrove

Gong & Ozric Tentacles
This deeply eclectic co-headlining offering of proggy, jam-band glory drops into two North East venues this month – Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Monday 17th and Newcastle University Students’ Union on Thursday 21st March.
Fronted by the infamous Ed Wynne, Somerset outfit Ozric Tentacles have managed to shift over a million albums despite having never put pen to a major-label contract after more than 40 years in the game. It’s no small feat, and one that becomes all the more admirable when you take even the shallowest dip into their deep sonic pool, which takes in elements of psych, prog, space rock, jazz fusion, electronica and dub. It’s easy to see why they command such a hardcore cult following, as they’re truly one of a kind.
GONG co-headline, a long-running prog institution who carry the unique distinction of boasting a line-up who were either still in primary school or yet to be born when the band initially formed. Although this may seem like sacrilege on paper, the quintet have long been acclaimed for carrying on the mantle of the iconic band with grace, with the widespread acclaim afforded to 2019’s The Universe Also Collapses making it clear they’re worthy of inheriting the moniker.
Sunday 17th March @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton & Thursday 21st March @ Newcastle University Students’ Union.




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