WEEKLY ROUND-UP (20.05.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Moby Dick by Manuel Harlan

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.

Long Knife
Notorious Portland, Oregon hardcore punk band Long Knife will bring their powerful garage rock sound and dive bar aesthetic to The Lubber Fiend on Tuesday 21st May on a rare UK tour.
As a band immersed in early 80s American hardcore, they rip open everything from classic rock to Japanese hardcore to create a unique heavy sound all of their own. Since 2014’s Possession EP they’ve run roughshod and ruthless through the last decade with a trio of albums and numerous singles that combine scathing, blistering energy, and brutally aggressive musical tones with throat-tearing vocals. Fans of the genre and bands like fellow PDX hardcore legends Poison Idea will know what to expect, as the quartet pummels their way through a set of classic and newer material drawn from their entire catalogue up to the most recent Curb Stomp Earth album from 2022. The night also promises to include some top-notch supports still to be announced at time of press, so do yourself a favour and get along early, support the bands and smaller venues and experience the whole sweaty, sleazy event first-hand.
Tuesday 21st May @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle.

Moby Dick
Inspired by Herman Melville’s classic, a creative depiction of Moby Dick sails into Northern Stage from Tuesday 21st-Thursday 23rd May. This atmospheric reimagining of the original nautical novel consists of a talented cast, including Guy Rhys (The Witcher/Mary Queen of Scots) as Captain Ahab and Mark Arends (Mr Bates vs The Post Office) as Ishmael.
A powerful tale ensues, as Captain Ahab incites his crew to enact revenge on the white whale, Moby Dick, for his lost leg. Created by the innovative theatre company Simple 8, Moby Dick brings to the fore matters of revenge, addiction and the power of nature for the audience to ponder.
Enhancing the maritime microcosm that exists only on that stage, the set consists of a dark, earthy colour palette and hues of blue and green – the deep depths of our underwater world – while carefully constructed scaffolding makes for a unique depiction of the hull of the boat, the Pequod. In an imaginative and fast-paced approach, complete with authentic sea shanties, this award-winning production questions the nature of human integrity and brings the audience face to face with the dangerous personalities of power-hungry leaders.
Tuesday 21st-Thursday 23rd May @ Northern Stage, Newcastle.

We were never meant to survive
Pakistan-born artist Abdullah Qureshi’s work is rooted in traditions of abstraction, incorporating gestural, poetic and hybrid methodologies to address autobiography, trauma and sexuality, through painting, filmmaking, and immersive events.
Wednesday 22nd May-Saturday 15th June @ Vane Gallery, Gateshead

Image: Talisk

Redefining genres and breaking stereotypes, Scottish band Talisk utilise just concertina, violin and guitar to present an energetic and explosive sound which pushes musical boundaries and offers audiences an unparalleled live experience.
Thursday 23rd May @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

Sardines & Personal Best
Alphabetti presents a double header of short plays from two of the North East’s most exciting new playwrights, Emily Ash and Jude Nelson, with scores created by award-winning folk artist, Ruth Lyon.
Thursday 23rd-Friday 24th May @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

Richard Herring
If you are squeamish like me, reading the description of Richard Herring’s upcoming night at ARC would’ve made your toes curl.
The comedian, known for his show Talking Cock as well as old-school delights like Fist of Fun alongside comedy pal Stewart Lee, experienced a cruel twist of fate when he discovered his right testicle had grown quite large. Diagnosed with testicular cancer, Herring found himself in hospital “getting his murderous gonad removed”. Six years later, Herring intends to get back on stage to talk ‘bollocks’ in his new stand-up show Can I Have My Ball Back?, which will find itself in Stockton on Friday 24th May.
Herring has kept himself busy since he last performed stand-up. In 2020 he was crowned the winner of daft TV game show Taskmaster, and over lockdown he maintained his podcast Richard Herring’s Leicester Square by streaming it live over Twitch, engaging his audience with his satirical wit. Known for his dry delivery and somewhat off-the-wall approach, his return to stand-up will undoubtedly provide an evening full of hilarity and is certainly one for those that are interested in finding out whether a “murderous gonad” is a worthy prize on Taskmaster…
Friday 24th May @ ARC, Stockton.

Dry Run 2024
Second-year BA Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics students at the University of Sunderland prepare to unveil their talents at the renowned Shipley Art Gallery and Museum during the 25th annual Dry Run Exhibition. This milestone event promises to captivate audiences with the innovative works of 18 emerging artists from both the U.K. and abroad.
Wednesday 24th May-Saturday 8th June @ Shipley Art Gallery and Museum

Queer Diary
A handful of brave Queer folk – former misfits, goths, punks, emos, nerds and glee-clubbers – come together as grown-ups to share their younger selves’ innermost thoughts, re-telling tales from their formative years in the name of nostalgia, solidarity and celebration.
Friday 24th May @ Gala Theatre, Durham

Liberation Squares
If your government strategy sounds like it was lifted straight from a Philip K. Dick dystopian crime novella and now has an entire Amnesty International report outlining its human rights violations, it probably isn’t a very good strategy. The ‘Prevent’ programme has garnered criticism since its introduction, which only ramped up after its 2015 amendment, becoming a hot topic for human rights activists internationally. It can be difficult to imagine the kind of pressure it puts on innocent civilians who may be unfairly profiled, which is why Liberation Squares is an important story to tell for those who haven’t been on the receiving end of a Prevent referral.
Inspired by graphic novels, hip-hop, pop culture and real-world activists, the three heroes of Liberation Squares, which is performed at Northern Stage on Friday 24th May, live typical lives for teenage Muslim girls, with their own hopes and aspirations for their futures. But they’re about to learn a hard lesson about the society in which we all live: that freedom of speech ain’t so free if someone doesn’t like what you say. Worse still – you may be judged on what you might say or do, with no evidence other than the colour of your skin, your religious beliefs, or your political affiliation. It’s a difficult lesson to learn when you should be worrying more about your GCSEs – but it’s not too late for us to learn the same.
Friday 24th May @ Northern Stage, Newcastle.

Image: Liberation Squares

Famous Last Words’ Northern Showcase
Teesside-based promoter Famous Last Words are a helluva busy bunch, with a stacked line-up gracing Sunderland’s Independent. It’s always glorious to see the local music community continue to thrive thanks to prolific promoters like these, seeking out some of the finest fledgling talent from across the region.
A scorching headline slot comes from Wigan-based quartet The Lilacs, who are staging a UK tour in the run up to a prestigious headliner at Manchester’s iconic O2 Ritz. Support is once again pretty great, with turns from Red Remedy, Blackout The Arcade and Swindled. All in all, these two shows are a wonderful testament to the staying power of the DIY music community throughout the North, and a glorious insight into some future musical icons.
Saturday 25th May @ Independent, Sunderland.

you have already survived
Coming to Newcastle’s Live Theatre from Thursday 23rd May-Wednesday 5th June, you have already survived is a captivating solo theatre show by artistic associate gobscure, in a celebration of resilience and connection with the natural world. This poignant production takes the audience on a journey along the River Usk, exploring its historical and personal significance to gobscure, from the site of Britain’s last insurrection in Newport to the inspiring wilderness of its source.
The show seamlessly blends personal narrative with broader socio-political themes, highlighting key moments like gobscure’s first childhood poem, their defiance at a punk gig, and encounters with nature’s resilience like the ancient Defynnog Yew and the red kites’ comeback. This narrative is interwoven with elements of Welsh heritage, such as the right to play and post-traumatic growth, illustrated through the metaphor of the river that has shaped gobscure’s existence.
Accompanying the live performance is an immersive installation in Live Theatre’s studio space, featuring a mix of film, poetry banners and a collage of original songs and soundscapes. This multimedia approach enriches the storytelling, offering a sensory exploration of gobscure’s vast and varied inner world. This show and installation promise to forge universal connections, bringing audiences a message of hope, survival and transformation.
Thursday 23rd May-Wednesday 5th June @ Live Theatre, Newcastle.

The Lovely Eggs
Releasing new album Eggsistentialism this month, loveable indie punk rock duo The Lovely Eggs return with what promises to be a live show filled with psychedelic beauty, sneering punk and mind-melting garage rock.
Saturday 25th May @ The Grove, Newcastle

Beau Wanzer
This month the oft-described ‘weirdo’ electronic artist Beau Wanzer sets his controls to minimal at The Lubber Fiend and brings with him all the lo-fi gusto his twisted mind can conjure. With grim humour and a gritty, horror cinema sound he will be echoing through the venue on Saturday 25th May as he wanders through his vast back catalogue and seemingly never-ending list of aliases and collaborations, including a dark ambient outing on last year’s Samhain (Side A) mixtape for Noods Radio.
Wanzer’s live shows primarily focus on oscillating between slowed vocal delivery and experimental beats, enveloping listeners in the soundtrack of his world. It’s not solely moody atmospherics or sound design noodling however, there’s a wide swathe of nifty industrial EDM-influenced excitations to get a body shaking, if not legitimately dancing!
Opening the night are in-house moody bros FOUND DEAD (Sam Booth and Jon Cornbill) and the main support comes from Slack’s Radio resident Ultimate Junk, whose many mixes on the station give context to Beau’s sound. Get there early, huff the noxious musical aura, and witness something atypical in the Toon; another fine addition to the Lubber’s long, long list of wonderfully esoteric offerings.
Saturday 25th May @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle.

Image: Earth Ball by Kristjanne Vosper

Earth Ball & Chris Corsano
The Lubber Fiend has, rightfully, become a well-respected hub of experimental and improvisational music in its short life-span, showcasing the best international artists working within these disciplines.
As a happy continuation of this trend, Earth Ball will grace the venue on Sunday 26th May. Comprised of experimental rock pedigree from the Pacific North West, Earth Ball release their inaugural LP on Upset The Rhythm on 17th May. The group are comprised of Isobel Ford, John Brennan and Jeremy Van Wyck, all seasoned musicians who have collaborated and toured with artists as diverse as Deerhoof, Wolf Eyes and Raven Chacon. Debut single A Need To Cool Down
applies kosmiche rhythms to Sonic Youth dynamics to make for a blissful, disorientating punch to the gut. It’s a record of refined feedback and motorik rhythms, as transportative as it is disorientating. They will be joined on tour by critically acclaimed improvisational drummer Chris Corsano, who has collaborated with everyone from Bjork to Jim O’ Rourke. This promises to be a pretty special evening of mesmerising improvisational music, and a must for any fans of avant-garde composition.
Sunday 26th May @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle.


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