WEEKLY ROUND-UP (17.07.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Melanie Baker, who plays Our Pride Festival

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.

Our Pride Festival
Sister Shack will host five days of events in various venues across Newcastle. Events will include Decksercise, fun exercise classes along with DJs at World Headquarters (Tuesday 18th); a film screening of John Waters’ Hairspray at Star & Shadow Cinema (Wednesday 19th); Beccy Owen’s Hush Club, a sound healing exercise at Magic Hat Cafe (Thursday 20th); an Our Pride Takeover of the Cumberland Arms terrace with a live performance by Ladies of Midnight Blue (Friday 21st); and the final day of the event on Saturday 22nd which includes the Our Pride Social in the afternoon at The Old Coal Yard with crafts, workshops and a panel discussion which looks at topics of Queer joy and performative activism, as well as performance from indie folk artist Melanie Baker before a Bend & Shake club night rounds off the event in typically fun and inclusive style.
Tuesday 18th July–Saturday 22nd July @ Various venues

The K’s
Earlestown’s The K’s head to KU in Stockton in July for a very intimate after recently selling out Manchester’s iconic 3,000 capacity Albert Hall venue, and supporting Blondie at their Scarborough Open Air Theatre show in June. For fans of The Sherlocks and The Snuts and with influences ranging from Oasis and the Verve to Quincy Jones and Talking Heads
Thursday 20th July @ KU Stockton

BBC Proms
Kicking things off on the Friday night is a collaborative performance between pop icon Self Esteem and the Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Robert Ames, who has previously worked alongside the likes of Radiohead and Frank Ocean. Later in the evening, two of the British jazz scene’s leading lights come together, with trumpet player Yazz Ahmed and clarinetist, composer and bandleader Arun Ghosh joining forces for a show that promises to be as enchanting as it is gorgeously varied.
On Saturday, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, helmed by Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa and featuring Kristian Bezuidenhout on piano, will embark on a tempestuous journey through darkness and light as they perform Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (For Orbiting Spheres), Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, and Brahms’ melancholically serene Symphony No. 2. Shortly afterwards, the Chorus of the Royal Northern Sinfonia will host a separate concert their own.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, American counter-tenor Reginald Mobley is joined by celebrated French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon for a musical journey through the African American spiritual.
Friday 21st-Sunday 23rd July @ Sage Gateshead

Pictish Trail
Johnny Flynn, aka Pictish Trail, has been ploughing a unique, untidy and unconventional furrow for twenty years, empowering others through his Lost Map Records and gigs on the Isle of Eigg, and has given a platform to the likes of Rozi Plain, Bas Jan, Seamus Fogarty and Free Love, among many others. Flynn’s own music is special and idiosyncratic, and 2020 saw the release of Pictish Trail‘s new album, Thumb World. Bold, weird, wild, wired, sonically luxurious yet never losing touch with its DIY-‘til-I-die roots, Thumb World is a voyage to the outer rings of Pictish Trail’s mind at its darkest, funniest and most inventive – a “plugged-in, fuzzed-out, fucked-up contemplation” on, as he puts it, “life repeating and gradually degrading, the inevitable cyclical nature of things, and the sense of there ultimately being no escape.”
Friday 21st July @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland


Image: Pictish Trail by Sarah Boden

Scott Matthews
Drawing from a rich lineage of boundary-pushing songwriters such as Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, John Martyn and Paul Simon, Scott Matthews has long blazed a trail as one of the country’s most unique and gifted singer-songwriters. His recent ninth LP, entitled Restless Lullabies, finds Scott offering a sparse, intricate and acoustic reinterpretation of 2021’s bold New Skin, trading the latter’s harsh and cold electronic sound with a rich and pastoral sound more akin to his earlier, more acoustic-leaning albums. In almost every instance, the harmony-soaked reinterpretations are almost unrecognisable from their synth-propelled counterparts, further testifying to Scott’s versatility and ambition as a songwriter, and a wonderful reminder of the infinite malleability of a well-crafted song.
Friday 21st July @ Middlesbrough Town Hall

Summer Showcase
Local purveyors of all things new and creative musically, Nrthrn Baby and BBC Introducing Tees present a night that celebrates the very best in local emerging talent from the Tees Valley and the wider North East area. The inaugural line-up boasts Stockton-based Brit-pop outfit The Collectors, young singer-songwriter Sisi who is making something of a name for herself since debuting at Reading & Leeds Festival in 2022, and Rame Kari’s new-age bluesy hip-hop.
Other artists on the eclectic bill include neo-soul and R&B singer Frankie Jobling from Newcastle, BBC Tees’ own Shakk with his archetypal socially aware rhymes, Durham grime artist Merczz who has already totted up millions of streams online, the ever-iconic Eyeconic, and DJ Melo.
Saturday 22nd July @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

Alternative club night Arcadia Shindig welcome a live performance from New York trash rock ‘n’ rollers Snakerattlers, alongside their usual DJs spinning mod, punk, new wave, rock and alternative sounds, plus there’s a vintage and vinyl fair to boot.
Saturday 22nd July @ Central Bar, Gateshead

People Powered
Formulated in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, this collection of stories, poetry and portraits will delve into histories and folk tales exploring, in their words, “how the magnificent River Tees has shaped the region”.
Saturday 22nd July-Sunday 7th January 2024 @ MIMA, Middlesbrough

Image: Elisabeth Frink, England, 1930-1993. Herring Gull from the Seabird Series 1974.Middlesbrough Collection at MIMA. Photographer Gilmar Riberio

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