WEEKLY ROUND-UP (15.01.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Life of Pi

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.

Bury Tomorrow
Bury Tomorrow are never happier than when they’re on stage. On their latest national tour they’re touting their seventh full-length record, the aptly titled The Seventh Sun. This is the first album recorded since the mutually respectful departure of founding member and former clean vocalist James Cameron, and while he is of course missed on a personal level, Bury Tomorrow have lived up to their name to forge a new path ahead with new personnel and new horizons. Their new release is richer, heavier and somehow builds even further on the perfection of 2020’s Cannibal. And still, despite their music instilling a sense of flight or fight with its thrashing hardcore energy, it remains balanced out by the members’ good nature and determination that makes Bury Tomorrow not only one of Britain’s most exciting bands to come from the last decade, but also one of the most professional.
Wednesday 17th January @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle

Image: Bury Tomorrow by Nic Bezzina

A theatrical and vivid Ukranian quartet whose experimental folk music features dashes of Indian, Arabic and African traditional instrumentation. At the crossroads of Ukrainian folklore and theatre, their musical spectrum ranges from intimate to riotous, and they’re absolutely mega live!
Friday 19th January @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead

Izzie Walsh
Expect a beguiling blend of bluegrass, folk and Americana from Manchester-based singer-songwriter Izzie Walsh. The recipient of two awards from the British Country Music Association, and a firm favourite among those in the know on the Americana circuit, her gothic-tinged music is accomplished and enriching.
Saturday 20th January @ The Witham, Barnard Castle

Part Toon Punks
The redoubtable Re:Peel team have been hosting club nights and live gigs informed by the eclectic spirit of John Peel for a while now. Their first gig of the new year looks to be a winner. Part Toon Punks features a stacked bill, with ten excellent indie bands for a mere twelve quid. From Newcastle alone, there’s loveable three-piece The Exes, the city’s finest melodic-garage outfit; the mighty Moron-O-Phonics and their cavemen glam punk stomp; Milky Wimpshake are the agitprop indie stalwarts of your dreams; and the mysterious lucha libre heroes of Los Coyote Men with their radgy garage punk. All this plus Nervous Twitch, The Sewer Cats, Cherry & Peesh, JUKU, Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies and Broken Down Golf Cart. All sorts of sounds from all over the North, all crammed into the Cluny to cheer you up mid-January. Lovely.
Saturday 20th January @ The Cluny, Newcastle

J Mahon
J Mahon has a wanderlust. Born and raised in the far north of Queensland, Australia, the freak-folk troubadour packed his bags on a whim four years ago and relocated to Berlin, a city where he knew, by modest estimations, absolutely nobody. It is a move that has served him well. Having cast aside Emerson Snowe, the pseudonym under which he worked for half a decade, Mahon has continued to garner acclaim for a sound that flits between pensive indie musings and gloriously unhinged psych country, drawing on influences as disparate as Sparklehorse, The Magnetic Fields, Sufjan Stevens and Patti Smith. This month, Mahon’s travels will take him to Zerox on Newcastle’s Quayside, where he will showcase a live offering that, under his previous guise, catapulted him to stages at SXSW and The Great Escape, as well as allowing him to share bills with heavy hitters like King Krule and Ariel Pink. Mahon’s first album bearing his own name, Everything Has A Life, was released in September, and has amassed glowing approbation from tastemakers across the globe, proving that whatever moniker he chooses to go by, he is a talent of considerable heft.
Saturday 20th January @ Zerox, Newcastle

Image: Guz Khan

Guz Khan
It hasn’t even been a decade since he first ventured into comedy, starting out from humble DIY origins uploading comedy videos to Facebook, and yet Guz Khan has rapidly established himself as an incredibly prolific and unforgettable addition to the country’s burgeoning comedy circuit, regularly touring and appearing on panel shows such as Taskmaster, The Last Leg, Live at the Apollo, Would I Lie To You and QI, with his now-iconic BBC sitcom Man Like Mobeen (which he both created and stars in) going from cult treasure to a staple of modern comedy. Having already kicked off a colossal tour at the beginning of the year, Guz is picking up where he left off with another huge run of dates. The tour has already attracted a raft of rave reviews, with the show touching upon his life as a youngster in the late 1980s in a conservative Muslim family, alongside his struggles to get his mother to take his comedy career seriously (which is astonishing given his meteoric his rise to the comedy mainstream). All in all, it promises to be a brilliant victory lap from one of comedy’s finest.
Saturday 20th January @ Middlesbrough Town Hall

John Francis Flynn
John Francis Flynn is part of the Dublin scene, and his new album Look Over The Wall, See The Sky (released on the wonderful River Lea label) features songs – mostly traditional – that are made disorientating and strange, often emphasising the strangeness they already contained. The album is a thrilling blend of trad ballads and wild experimentation and he’s clearly going to ‘do a Lankum’ any time now. Flynn is a big bear of a man, with a rich voice, a deep well of slightly surreal anecdotes and some strong double-penny-whistle skills (he’s a fine guitarist too) and he’s splendid company live. After playing a wonderful, intimate show last year at the Cumberland Arms, he’s moved up to The Exchange 1856 in January and it’s going to be fascinating to see how he presents his new album live.
Tuesday 23rd January @ The Exchange 1856, North Shields

Life of Pi
As part of its first ever UK tour, the Olivier Award-winning stage adaption of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel Life of Pi will visit Newcastle’s Theatre Royal from Tuesday 23rd–Saturday 27th January. Martel’s novel was the winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide, Life of Pi is a breathtaking new theatrical adaptation of this epic journey of endurance and hope. After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a sixteen year-old boy and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Divesh Subaskaran will make his professional debut in the central role of Pi. ‘Richard Parker’, the extraordinary life-size Bengal tiger, is puppeteered by seven performers (in an historic first for the Olivier Awards, the seven performers who puppeteer the Tiger were collectively awarded Best Actor in a Supporting Role). Set in the lifeboat following a severe storm in the Pacific Ocean, the drama unfolds as the survivors discover that time is against them and nature is harsh. And in such extreme conditions, who will survive? Lolita Chakrabarti’s dazzling adaptation of the global phenomenon that is Life of Pi has charmed and enthralled audiences in the West End and Broadway. Now we have the chance to embark on this epic adventure right here in the North East.
Tuesday 23rd–Saturday 27th January @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle

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