WEEKLY ROUND-UP (22.04.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Tré Burt

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.

Truly, Madly, Baldy
Alopecia is no laughing matter…unless you’re at a performance of Truly, Madly, Baldy during its two week run at Whitley Bay’s premier fringe theatre, Laurel’s, which kicks off on Tuesday 23rd April. Around 2% of the population will experience alopecia in some form of another, and the process of unexpectedly and sometimes unexplainably losing one’s hair must be quite distressing – and one that often many daren’t bear thinking about.
Maybe that’s why Sam MacGregor felt the need to put a comic twist on his own experience with the condition. Sam began to lose his hair in 2019, after seeing his mother struggle with her own alopecia for 15 years. Lest he be stuck in a society that lacks basic understanding of hair loss, he instead sought to raise awareness of the issue the only way a writer/actor knows how: theatre. The set-up is simple: two individuals both coming to terms with their hair loss host a funerary cremation for the last of their strands as they reminisce over their pre-bald days and contemplate a hairless future. Real life anecdotes, real life statistics and real life “baldies” (the show’s words, not mine) come together for an overall touching exploration of life with a condition that has yet to see much in the way of attention on the stage. 
Tuesday 23rd April-Saturday 4th May @ Laurel’s, Whitley Bay

Bears in Trees
The chronically-online amongst us have probably already heard of Bears In Trees: they’re that Southern four-piece who constantly show up on your ‘for-you’ page espousing the virtues of friendship, optimism in the face of a broken world, and their latest single. For those who haven’t yet made the leap to their link in bio to stream said music, I’m here to give you one simple, solid piece of advice: do it.
Performing at Newcastle’s Riverside on Wednesday 24th April, the Croydon music makers are a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated world; even if their equal parts heart-warming and heart-wrenching tunes sound like they could be fresh out of an early 00s emo mixtape, the positivity and message of healing and rehabilitation puts enough of a spin on the ol’ formula to make Bears In Trees a must-add to any Sad Boi Hours playlist. And for those who have no idea who we’ve been talking about the whole time, then never fear! Latest single Hot Chocolate (taken from upcoming album How To Build An Ocean: Instructions, released on 26th April) is quintessential Bears On Trees. A little angsty, a lot of brutal honesty and entirely addictive. 
Wednesday 24th April @ Riverside, Newcastle

Image: Six Chick Flicks, Kerry Ipema and KK Apple by Lauren Silberman

Six Chick Flicks
Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe and sell out American shows, Six Chick Flicks is a witty and feminist comedy show of pop culture parodies of – you guessed it – chick flicks (six of ‘em, including Titanic, Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde, The Notebook and Beaches). The show was co-written by Kerry Ipema and TJ Dawe – who has also co-created several stage parodies including Star Wars and Sex and the City – and will be performed at Theatre Hullabaloo on Wednesday 24th and Northern Stage on Thursday 25th April.
Described as both hilarious AND feminist (impossible!), Kerry Ipema and KK Apple perform iconic moments from these beloved films, which are wittily broken down into ten bite-sized minutes, complete with dancing, singing and snappy montages topped off with a dash of improv.
It’s not a total neg-fest however, Ipema and KK Apple obviously have a real fondness for the genre and have probably watched these films on repeat, but as the characters are often written by men, it’s surprisingly easy to mock them, as you have probably done yourself on a much smaller scale.
Don’t be a baby in the corner for this one – be a bird like Rachel McAdams in The Notebook (sans Ryan Gosling sadly) and fly into to your nearest venue for what looks like a memorable evening!
Wednesday 24th April @ Theatre Hullabaloo, Darlington and Thursday 25th April @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

Jane Weaver
Off the back of her third album release, Love In Constant Spectacle, which is released on 5th April, sonic experimenter Jane Weaver returns to the North East for a show at The Glasshouse on Wednesday 24th April.
Described as her most open–hearted, direct and intimate collection of material yet, the gig will showcase Weaver’s otherworldly, punchy, psych and synth-drenched tracks such as the already released Perfect Storm and the album’s sublime title track. “A lot of the album’s themes stem from interpretation and translation, observations and emotional cues.” She says of the release. “I love the nuances in translation on foreign film subtitles, sometimes it’s exaggerated or more beautiful, stand-alone statements that don’t make sense but when accompanied by a visual image, we can see the scene play out.” 
The artist is known for her visionary songwriting and resplendent soundscapes; unafraid to push boundaries of genre and sound, you’re just as likely to find fuzzy atmospherics and motorik drums as playful pop vignettes.
Wednesday 24th April @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead

Image: Jane Weaver by Nic Chapman

Marta Del Grandi
This week’s Fresh event at Cobalt features a performance from eclectic Italian singer-songwriter Marta Del Grandi, whose unique genre-splicing style is utterly beguiling. Support comes from Immaterial Possession, who fuse folk, psych, world music and prog rock (get there early for a lush homecooked veggie meal too).
Thursday 25th April @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle

Tré Burt Band
Get ready for an unforgettable evening of soul-stirring music as Sacramento/Bay Area singer-songwriter Tré Burt and his band grace the stage of The Cluny 2 on Thursday 25th April. Fresh off the release of his latest album Traffic Fiction, Burt is making his debut in the North East as part of a full European tour. Renowned for his imaginative social protest songs and masterful storytelling, Burt’s music is a fusion of American folk, blues and soul, with a hint of rock and punk; from the sweet country-soul surrealism of the title track to the skywriting rock of 2 For Tha Show, Burt’s urgent and commanding vocals captivate audiences with every note.
Critics have hailed Traffic Fiction as Burt’s most expansive effort yet, praising its raw, heart-rending sound and poignant lyrics. With songs that touch on themes of doomed relationships, financial oppression and social apathy, Burt’s music resonates deeply in today’s turbulent world. Joining him on stage is Skyway Man, promising an evening filled with soulful melodies and unforgettable performances.
Thursday 25th April @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Hexham Book Festival
From Friday 26th April-Sunday 5th May, the Hexham Book Festival returns for another year of enthralling events across the Northumbrian town. With 55 events of bookish mania, there’s something for every kind of literature lover out there, from fiction fanatics and poetry lovers, to political protestors and journalists alike.
Exciting book group events and discussions of international and domestic politics will take place. Among the highlights, Northern commentator Stuart Maconie presents his new book, The Full English; attendees can allow their inner feminist to thrive with newsreader Cathy Newman’s discussion of powerful women in her book The Ladder; Sarah Gristwood draws on the words of female diarists; for those who cry out “poetry, beauty, romance, love” (to quote Dead Poets Society), Jackie Kay returns to the festival with her most recent collection May Day, delving into political activism spanning three decades; acclaimed storyteller and screenwriter David Nichols (One Day, Us, Starter For Ten) talks about his book You Are Here; and author of The Essex Serpent, Sarah Hall, reveals all about her new novel about love and astronomy; writing workshops have been constructed for the budding comrades of word-weaving, with writers like Tamarin Norwood and David Wibberly. Many more events await at the festival, including the infamous Proof Party, which includes the allure of free books – need any more be said?
Friday 26th April-Sunday 5th May @ Various venues

Truth Be Told
Truth Be Told is a moving series of images taken by award-winning photographer Jennifer Willis of women living with secondary breast cancer. Commissioned by UK charity Make 2nds Count, who give hope to men and women affected by secondary breast cancer, the Truth Be Told exhibition shows the visible and non-visible sides to having this disease: the difficulties they face but also the hope, strength and positivity they display on a daily basis.
Friday 26th April-Saturday 27th April @ Newcastle Arts Centre

Beyond the Bassline
Taking inspiration from the acclaimed British Library exhibition Beyond the Bassline, Newcastle City Library is hosting a panel exhibition on its third level from Friday 26th April-Sunday 25th August. The exhibition covers the journey of Black music in Britain, which runs contrary to the widely-held but incorrect notion that everything started when Windrush first docked, and instead has a 500-year journey.
The exhibition will look beyond the purely musical, celebratory story to look more broadly at the people, places and spaces involved and the intertwined social and political timelines that created a uniquely Black British culture, with the influence of things like calypso, Afro-rock, sound system culture and dub, and the jungle, D&B and grime scene, reaching deep into all aspects of UK music and culture.
Friday 26th April-Sunday 25th August @ Newcastle City Library

The Girl With The Replaceable Head
There’s an evening of eclectic musical talent at The Cumberland Arms on Friday 26th April courtesy of The Girl With The Replaceable Head. Featuring the legendary Lindy Morrison of the Go-Betweens on drums and Mick Porter on bass, their latest album Sometimes She Lives In The Dark, Sometimes She Lives In The Light promises to captivate audiences with its sultry melodies and romantic undertones, which expertly shows off their unique blend of glam rock and indie charm.
Also performing is the extraordinary David Lance Callahan, known for his work with The Wolfhounds and Moonshake. With his solo project, Callahan explores the depths of English primitive music, blending electric and psychedelic elements to create a truly immersive experience and mesmerizing performance. And last but not least, Helen McCookerybook, former member of The Chefs and Helen And The Horns, will grace the stage with her soulful solo act. Drawing on her dreams, McCookerybook’s latest album is a testament to her talent as a singer-songwriter and producer. Join them for a night of music that transcends boundaries and ignites the soul.
Friday 26th April @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

Baker Island
A gig in a Victorian 19th Century waggonway may not be the most unusual experience you’re likely to get on a Saturday night in the Ouseburn, but Baker Island’s re-emergence back on the scene is notable nonetheless. The jangly noise pop band return to the live scene with fresh tunes taken from a forthcoming third album.
Saturday 27th April @ Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle

Paul Foot
Comedy is often formed from the struggle, the trauma, the very anxiety of our existence, and this was Paul Foot’s way, his comedy was very much created from feeling dissatisfied and weird which is why his latest show is intriguing. Foot has had an epiphany. He’s now happy? And content? Huh?
Dissolve is the critically acclaimed show from the multi award-winning comedian, who explains that in 2022 *something happened* and his internal conflict and minor grievances with almost everything melted away. You don’t have to go too far to see if you can achieve the same inner contentment, Dissolve is on tour until the end of May and rocks up at Stockton’s ARC on Saturday 27th April. This is Foot’s most personal show ever, for the first time he talks about his life and feelings, but audiences can still expect the usual twists and revelations, some in the form of Sir Cliff Richard and a teenage Tutankhamun.
If you fancy a bit of catharsis and have ever wondered what Jesus might have achieved had he been a plumber, this could be for you.
Saturday 27th April @ ARC, Stockton

Image: Paul Foot by Jonathan Birch

Jesterval Comedy Club
Get ready for a night of uproarious laughter at Jesterval Comedy Club, which takes place at Gosforth Civic Theatre on Saturday 27th April.
Some of the funniest comedians from the region and beyond will grace the stage to tickle your funny bone. Leading the line-up is the delightfully witty Karen Bayley, known for her killer wit and infectious giggle. With over a decade on the circuit, Karen’s bold, no-nonsense attitude strikes a perfect pitch with audiences nationwide. Joining her is the acclaimed John Fothergill, whose sell-out shows and TV appearances have solidified his status as one of the most experienced comedians in the business. With his relaxed banter and razor-sharp humour, John promises a night to remember. Also on the bill is David Hadingham, whose gravel-voiced delivery and warped view of everyday life will keep you hooked until the last punchline. And don’t miss George Zach, the Greek comic with a truly global appeal.
Saturday 27th April @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle

m o t i o n s
Trigger warnings are a little bit of a hot topic right now – but regardless of which side of the debate you fall, post-metal outfit motions ought to slap a big one on their brand new EP, The Paralysis. Art gives us the space to explore uncomfortable subjects in safe ways, which is why the Teesside post-metal group’s exploration of the sensitive subject of suicidal ideation ultimately makes sense. Beneath the facts, figures and statistics of depression and suicide rates is a human experience that is less easily quantified, and sometimes more effectively conveyed via creative means.
The band’s six track record follows the dark journey of a person who truly feels as if they have lost it all as they descend through, and rise from, a troubled time in their life. Whether you find it cathartic or just a little depressing to listen to, motions’ ability to move you with their music is entirely the point of such an exercise. The Paralysis launches with a release show at the Georgian Theatre on Saturday 27th April, and a further performance at Little Buildings on Friday 3rd May, to truly give the EP its moment to shine – with an audience for moral and emotional support. 
Saturday 27th April @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton



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