WEEKLY ROUND-UP (24.07.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Avalanche Party, who play Tracks in Town

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.

Durham Fringe Festival
The Durham Fringe is a grassroots community-led festival that aims to celebrate the best and brightest performing and visual arts that the city has to offer. Among the extensive line-up there’s set to be plenty of laughs from Amarpal Singh, Becky Heaviside and Metroland Comedy (among plenty of others); a huge host of Shakespeare and bard-inspired theatrical productions courtesy of Elysium Theatre among others; more magic than you can shake a comically long hanky at and even the odd family-friendly, space-pirates-hurtling-through-a-trash-vortex extravaganza.
Wednesday 26th-Sunday 30th July @ Various venues in Durham

Based between Detroit and Brooklyn, Moonwalks third studio LP, Western Mystery Tradition, which was released in May, has been hailed as somewhat of a departure from their usual psych rock sound, featuring a more polished vibe that contributes to the maturity of their sound. Apparently inspired by “the isolation of the polar vortex in the northern US in 2019 that basically made outdoor life impossible”, it’s filled with suitably heavy atmospherics.
Wednesday 26th July @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

An Evening with David Haslam
Former Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, the author of several full-length and short format books, will be discussing music, life, art and more with special guest Paul Smith from Maximo Park. So, expect inspiration, ideas and some exclusive career spanning anecdotes from Manchester, Berlin, New York and more.
Wednesday 26th July @ Biscuit Factory, Newcastle

52 Monologues For Young Transexuals @ Live Theatre, Newcastle
52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals is an award-nominated hour of experimental verbatim and cabaret theatre. It is a two-woman show based on interviews conducted with transgender women in the London and Cambridge area. Catch it at Live Theatre, Newcastle on Thursday 27th July before it previews at Edinburgh Fringe.
Thursday 27th July @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

ASHTRAY is a devised surreal comedy by BrainSoup Collective. Exploring the escapism of the mundanity of the 9am-5pm existence, through use of clowning, movement, music, A.I. and sock-puppets.
Thursday 27th, Friday 28th & Sunday 30th July @ Assembly Rooms, Durham

Byker Arts Festival
Brinkburn St Brewery, as well as Ballast Hills and Hadrian’s Square, will become a social hub for artists and entertainers, as a rich programme crammed full of workshops, crafts, stalls, talks and performances takes over the area. This thrilling new experiment aims to celebrate the rich heritage of independent art that is deep in the heart of Byker. Highlights include the debut of Séayoncé: Res-erection by Dan Wye, in which a ghoul haunts Byker Arts; a performance from PRNCSS, who brings heavy bass music with gorgeous African rhythms showcasing the next steps of Afrofuturism; witness CIRKO NORDA’s youth circus throw themselves into stunning acrobatics; Toi Guy and Adele Clifford’s Spinsters is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary catwalk show exhibiting clothing made by the local independent designers; Many Hands Circus present their spectacular Light Work circus theatre show; audiences can relax with Swannek’s jazzy neo-soul stylings or enjoy a programme of music curated by Tyne & Queer; or perhaps you want to try your hand at pottery, puppet making, block printing or Yoga, or countless other fun things – the festival caters to an array of different art and performance disciplines beautifully!
Friday 28thSunday 30th July and Thursday 3rdSunday 6th August @ Brinkburn St Brewery, Ballast Hills and Hadrian’s Square, Newcastle

Image: Princess

Imogen Bose-Ward
Imogen Bose-Ward released her debut single Just Fine back in 2022 and has had a run of support ever since, particularly from BBC Introducing. Growing up in Lanarkshire, Scotland, Imogen has roots in Scottish traditional music but has shifted her sound towards a hybrid of folk, jazz and Americana, as heard in single Red Bricks. Latest single Elton shows off her introspective and candid lyricism, through its mellow, harmony-filled Americana sound.
Friday 28th July @ Bobiks, Newcastle

Tracks in Town
Darlington music promoters Tracks bring you a dazzling afternoon of live music in the town’s market square; the seven hour extravaganza will feature some of the area’s most exciting live acts, and best of all – it’s free! Including the summertime funk of Teesside’s Moon Wax, the jangle pop stylings of Hartlepool’s James Leonard Hewitson, India Arkin’s indie pop ballads or Darlington’s own soulful urban pop songwriter Luke Royalty. Headliners Avalanche Party will round out the event, currently flying high with festival appearances at Reading & Leeds, and SXSW in Texas, anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of their raucous and thrilling live show is in for a real treat.
Saturday 29th July @ Darlington’s Market Square

Current Affairs
Glasgow’s Current Affairs bring their new album, Off The Tongue, to town. A project designed to promote queer and female-fronted music, Current Affairs’ song-writing process is collaborative and straddles new-wave pop and gothic post-punk with grit and panache, a rallying diversion from hopelessness and fear.
Saturday 29th July @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Funny Way To Be Edinburgh Fringe Previews
Four comics debut their Fringe Festival acts for comedy promoters Funny Way To Be. Louise Young’s opening act will be titled Feral, and will see the Geordie comic explore the chaos derived from her own life, spanning subject matter which includes themes of class and coming out. It’ll be a hilarious opening, setting the mood for the rest of the evening. Following on, Matt Bragg has supported some of Britain’s most high-profile comedians, and been heavily praised for his observational comedy, his set is titled Matt Bragg Has Nothing Wrong With Him – a bold statement! Dan Tiernan’s set is labelled as a work in progress, which is either incredibly meta or there isn’t a name for it a yet, which either way I respect. The Mancunian with dyspraxia explores the insanity of his own personal life through a gag-heavy set. Ending the night will be Anth Young, detailing his life as a single man living with his parents to being a parent himself.
Saturday 29th July @ The Witham, Barnard Castle

Image: Anth Young

Stockton Pop-Up Pride
Presented by LGBTQIA+ arts charity Curious Arts, Stockton Pop-Up Pride will celebrate the Tees Valley’s LGBTQIA+ community through a variety of free and low cost activities at partner venues across the town. Of particular note is Curious Arts’ Creative Youth Challenge, inviting LGBTQIA+ teens to take part in free creative workshops led by theatre and creative learning charity, Mortal Fools at ARC; Stockton Globe hosts free choir and DJ workshops for anyone wanting to sing-along or take to the decks and the Pride Live Stage at The Link will feature live DJ sets and performances from local musicians and drag talent from across the North East, including the iconic Miss Ophelia and a takeover by Free 2 B U, plus much more besides.
Saturday 29th July @ Various venues, Stockton

Music on the Marina
The line-up at this free event includes national hero Nev Clay, diffident exponent of confessional heartbreakers and tangential chat (in roughly equal amounts), upcoming teen outfit Idle Hands (with a sold-out Cluny 2 gig recently behind them), a mash-up of British and Pakistani influences from Haaji Ka Halva, a contemporary choir in the form of Voice Of The Town and the always on fire John Pope Quintet bringing fiery bass-driven jazz. All this and the Spin City DJs including the magnificent DJ Awkward Black Girl completing the line-up.
Saturday 29th July @ Urban Garden, Newcastle Quayside

SoundWave Festival
The Main Stage will play host to indie pop headliners Bastille; local heroes The Futureheads; rock band The Subways; Hartlepool native Michael Gallagher, who performs his anthemic indie rock; Teesside’s own Finn Forster, whose bluesy pop vibes are infectious; Stockton-based alt. rock four-piece We Tibetans; brat-pop duo ZELA and the UK’s 2019 Eurovision representative Michael Rice. The Hideaway Stage champions even more local talent, featuring music from X-Factor contestant and R&B singer Kerianne Covell; Stockton’s alternative indie folk singer-songwriter Frazer Lambert; and Billingham’s Cally Billie Gatley who will perform a chilled-out acoustic set. The Comedy Tent will be full of laughs all day, with sets from James Kilvington, Matty Oxley, Cal Herbert and Fran Garrity.
Sunday 30th July @ Seaton Reach, Hartlepool

Martha Ffion
Born in Northern Ireland, but moving to Scotland when she was 18, talented songwriter Martha Ffion brings her selection of heartfelt tunes to Newcastle’s Cumberland Arms. The past year has seen the artist incorporate a live band into her performance, bringing a punchier element to the ballads that placed her on the map, and seeing her described as reminiscent of Sharon Van Etten or Angel Olsen. This Newcastle show is one of a select few for the artist, and audiences can expect to hear songs from the her brand new third album, The Wringer, released in June. The album’s namesake, and recent lead single, sees Ffion’s vocals weightlessly glide over a dynamic indie rock soundscape, which slowly builds in intensity and features a beautiful mixture of keys, drums and guitars. It’s a sound that stays with you, and Martha’s vocals are liquid gold to the ears. Fusing a vintage pop vibe with stunning songwriting prowess, this will be a special show indeed.
Monday 31st July @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

Image: Martha Ffion by Laura Meek

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