WEEKLY ROUND-UP (24.06.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Mannequin Pussy by Millicent Hailes

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.


Join Alex Redman, resident fool, as she pits four local laughletes against each other as they compete in the inaugaral Foolympic games. Comedic challengers Seymour Mace, Kelly Rickard, Lee Kyle and Kerris Gibson will be put through their paces in a series of weird and wonderful games in this brand new gameshow extravaganza.
Thursday 26th June @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

When Earth Speaks
Welsh artist Miranda Whall integrates science, nature, technology, and art to explore the relationship between data, humans and the natural world. Drawing upon data streams generated by a soil sensor network in the Cambrian mountains, the exhibition comprises of drawings, sculpture, film and performance which introduce innovative approaches to translating and comprehending ecological and environmental scientific research.
Friday 27th June-Saturday 20th July @ Vane Gallery, Gateshead

Mannequin Pussy
Mannequin Pussy’s new record I Got Heaven has been met with universal critical acclaim; it’s a messy, self-assured collection of songs that represent a creative peak for the Philadelphia band. Pitchfork compared it positively to Hole’s Live Through This, and it’s a similarly frenetic, feminist collection of songs that may one day be considered a classic of the genre.
There is a bubblegum slickness to songs like Drunk II that doesn’t undermine the bile and vitriol; messy, powerful pop songs for the heart and the gut. Happily, you’ll have the opportunity to see this modern classic find its feet in a live setting, as Mannequin Pussy land at one of the region’s best intimate venues, The Grove, on Thursday 27th June. Given the sheer volume of positive noise around I Got Heaven, this is sure to sell out, and it’s unlikely given their trajectory that they will return to stages this small. We’re also likely to hear the choicest cuts from their back catalogue, with previous records Patience and Romantic packing as much of a punch. An unmissable event for fans of soul-nourishing rock music.
Thursday 27th June @ The Grove, Newcastle

Many Lifetimes: Yewande 103
Many Lifetimes promises to be a fascinating and immersive piece of dance performance. Created by Yewande 103, this new live work is performed in the round under a melting canopy, and builds on their body of work exploring themes such as cycles of loss and healing, using dynamic movement and watery symbolism.
Showing at Dance City on Friday 28th June, Yewande 103 (Yewande is dancer Alexandrina’s middle name and means ‘mother has returned’) uses dance, film, music, collage and poetry to explore multiple ways of being, and describes the work as ‘embodied advocacy’. Her lifelong work is shaped by “profound processing and the seeking out of reparative, embodied alternatives after/alongside violences of racism, misogyny, inadequate care and institutional failings of arts and healthcare sectors”. They want to enliven dance spaces, and develop spaces for discourse, within a sensitive and caring framework; with this piece being described as a collective moment to watch solos passing between performers, experience the hum and thud of heartbeats and gentle transformations. 
With movement, words and imagery, the audience will be surrounded and enveloped with the sounds and symbolism of water – a huge downpour, spilling, flooding and gathering – experiencing a unique piece of work and its immersive ethereal style.
Friday 28th June @ Dance City, Newcastle

Image: Many Lifetimes: Yewande 103

Goat Girl
Branching out from their South London origins, Goat Girl draws on a very eclectic pool of influences as they indulge their own post-punk, Gothic country and electronic sounds. Think of Phillip Glass, SAULT, Little Simz, The Libertines and Fat White Family as touchstones on this new album, Below The Waste, layering over their already familiar choppy guitars and expansive noise rock. Produced by John ‘Spud’ Murphy, the group presents a more finessed, wider aural listening experience. They arguably do their best work live, so watching them perform new material alongside the socio-political favourites taken from their previous two albums at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop on Friday 28th June promises a sensational experience.
Goat Girl are supported by Newcastle’s own ERNIE, real name is Joe Ernest Allan, whose trajectory over the past twelve months has been steadily on the rise. ERNIE serves up his own brand of heartfelt, fuzzy indie rock, with lyrics covering everything from adolescent dreams and difficulties, family life, relationships in all their complexity and generally being the “odd one out” in a small Northern town. He’s an artist with a dense setlist of finely honed songs and thrives performing live, so make sure you get along early and catch his sure-to-be amazing set.
Friday 28th June @ The Boiler Shop, Newcastle

New Light Art Prize
The Biscuit Factory will once again be buzzing with exciting new talent as it welcomes back the New Light Art Prize Exhibition from Saturday 29th June-Sunday 22nd September. Since 2010, New Light has been championing Northern art, supporting both well-known and up-and-coming artists with some of the region’s top awards and opportunities. This biennial exhibition is one of the UK’s biggest and most talked-about open exhibitions.
Prepare to be wowed by works from over 100 of the UK’s finest artists; five prize winners will flaunt their masterpieces, and you’ll even get to vote for your favourite in the Visitor’s Choice award. This year’s exhibition is a right mix, showcasing everything from paintings to an exclusive Sculpture Prize sponsored by The Biscuit Factory Foundation. General Manager Rachel Brown couldn’t be more chuffed: ““We’re very much looking forward to the return of New Light, which is an integral platform to the promotion of our region in the art world. We’re thrilled to be able to present the exclusive Sculpture Prize too, which will allow us to spotlight this particular form of art.”
Every artist has a tie to the North of England, with local legends like Narbi Price, Gavin Watson and Leanne Pearce making a return.
Saturday 29th June-Sunday 22nd September @ Biscuit Factory, Newcastle

Fancy a tasty treat for your ears? The bubbly, bouncy and brilliantly named Bubamara will be bringing you the glorious sounds of the Mediterranean, via a direct flight* to Toft House, Middlesbrough on Saturday 29th June. (*Flight not included).
Following the release of the Darlington-based band’s newest album Zotica, the self-described ‘folk exotica polka bandits’ will be offering a selection of their finest enchanting jams which you just can’t help but wiggle along to. This album is a collision of coming together tales of celebration, told through hypnotic rhythms and sprightly melodies, transporting your mind to somewhere warm and sunny by the sea (with something zesty to drink!)
With elastic twanging strings, lively percussion and mischievous vocals, these beautifully skilled musicians present a gorgeous array of instrumentation that just radiates with playful joy. Sound like your bag? Then make a beeline for Toft House where Bubamara’s endless bank of uplifting tunes will have you toe-tapping, linking arms and dancing around the room with the folks next to you in celebratory style.
Saturday 29th June @ Toft House, Middlesbrough

Harry Ford & Connor Read
If there’s one thing that cannot be denied, it’s the fact that this region simply cannot stop producing quality comedic talent. We’ve always been a cracking draw for top-tier touring comedians, but now more than ever, the North East is proving its worth as a venerable incubator of side-splitting splendour.
For an insight into the next wave of rising talent, look no further than this double-bill of debut comedy shows from two fledgling talents, gracing the boards of Newcastle’s hallowed Stand Comedy Club on Saturday 29th June. Firstly, with This Must Be The Place, “fast rising anecdotalist” Harry Ford recounts the frenetic series of events that led to him travelling to Brazil to meet a Tinder match for the very first time. Promising to be far from predictable, the show is the culmination of some hard graft for the Manchester-based talent. Co-headliner Connor Read debuts Impish, a show which, against the advice of his therapist, finds him sharply scrutinising his school reports, comedy reviews, job references and other people’s opinions to try and piece together who the hell he really is, making for a no-holds-barred and frank exploration of self which further pushes at the boundaries of the stand-up art-form.
Saturday 29th June @ The Stand, Newcastle

Image: Harry Ford & Connor Read

Saturday Afternoon Party People
Presenting free and accessible live music for all, this month’s line-up for Saturday Afternoon Party People includes Cabridge-based Anglo-American pop rockers Iona Sky, local moody alt. rockers The Agency, the unassuming lyrical genius of The Young Property Developers and heavy riff rockers Psy of the Dead.
Saturday 29th June @ Two By Two Brewing, Newcastle

Although far from a household name (except perhaps in the most discerning of households), :zoviet*france: cast a long shadow over the underground scene in the UK and beyond, their astonishing blend of soundscapes, musique concrete, ambience and dub’s sense of space showing others how it should be done for more than 40 years and perhaps two dozen albums.
Based in Newcastle around Ben Ponton and now a duo (with Mark Warren, himself a member for nearly three decades), they’ve played and released all over the world and operated so far beyond the mainstream, most other acts can only look on in awe. Hometown shows are rare these days, which makes the Lubber Fiend gig on Sunday 30th June a special one, and to make it even more appealing they’ve asked French outfit Cantenac Dagar to support; they’re a remarkable duo, who use an intriguing blend of banjo, human beatbox, percussion and tapes that plays in the round and is roughly a collision of folk, punk and industrial textures.
Sunday 30th June @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Death Lens
The release of Los Angeles alt. punks Death Lens’ latest album, Cold World, further demonstrates the band’s explosive energy and attitude, thanks to slick guitar sonics and tender backing vocal harmonies that feel like the best parts of indie, punk and shoegaze. Their shows are thrillingly chaotic.
Sunday 30th June @ Little Buildings, Newcastle

Morden @ 60
On 16 June 1964, Connie and Tom Pickard organised the first poetry reading at Morden Tower in the Newcastle town walls. Over the next few years the venue became an epicentre of the explosive Sixties poetry scene, playing host to Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and inspiring local poet Basil Bunting to write the poem of the century: Briggflatts.

On the Tower’s 60th anniversary, there will be celebrations at the Tyneside Irish Centre featuring music from Paul Smith of Maxïmo Park and The Mighty Doonans, poetry from Cork Soundeye Festival collective, an open mic and a Q&A with Tom Pickard.
Sunday 30th June @ Tyneside Irish Centre, Newcastle


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