WEEKLY ROUND-UP (25.03.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Thundercat by Adam Titchener

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.

Ghost Huns
Bringing their esteemed podcast to the live stage, comedians and horror fanatics Hannah Byczkowski and Suzie Preece are taking Ghost Huns on tour, stopping at The Stand in Newcastle on Tuesday 26th March. Self-proclaimed ‘basic huns’, the duo use their relatable humour to tell some of the world’s scary stories. Hot off an immensely successful year, they have gained a cult-like following on social media for their ghost stories and spiritual experiences; audiences can be sure to expect the same from the live show.
With their comedic take on the paranormal, both Hannah and Suzie are respectively celebrated comedians, taking on their own acclaimed stand-up shows to sold out audiences across the country over the previous year. Furthermore, Hannah is also known for winning the first series of BBC show The Traitors.
With the promise of ‘we get haunted, so you don’t have to’, the duo aren’t shy of using a Ouija board or a pendulum to contact supernatural beings; this spectacle alongside the inevitable duality of laughter and fear will certainly have all their ‘huns’ afraid yet elated.
Tuesday 26th March @ The Stand, Newcastle

Image: Ghost Huns

It would be easy to take potshots at Sunn O))), but you’d be missing the point and missing out on one of the most powerful and inventive live acts around. The grimm-robes, the portentousness, the claws and the hails are all easy to mock, but it’s much more satisfying to immerse yourself in their schtick and feel your internal organs vibrate to the point of failure. Because Sunn O))) are loud. Beautifully, crushingly, cathartically loud.
With core members Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson both fully immersed in all sorts of metal subgenres but also pulling everything from jazz to minimalism, drone to ritual music into the black hole that is their sound, a Sunn O))) show is a powerful and affecting experience, regardless of the trappings. It’s a real coup to get them at the Boiler Shop and like the man said, maximum volume yields maximum results.
Wednesday 27th March @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle

The Hives
When opining that the poor will always be with us, Jesus might also have mentioned garage rock: unchanging, unreconstructed, eternal. Bands will drag rock’s most gloriously troglodyte genre into the limelight for a flickering moment – be it The White Stripes, Thee Headcoats or even The Hives – but even as trends move on, the riffs persist. The Hives have been at it (‘it’ being the rockier end of the garage sound) for more than thirty years and were nearly a decade in before they caused a stir with the timeless Hate To Say I Told You So (one of those classic Later… performances helped). They didn’t release anything after 2012’s Lex Hives album until last year’s Death of Randy Fitzsimmons but seem to be having a notable second act, without really messing with the formula at all.
So if your idea of fun is caveman drums, buzzsaw riffs and a brilliant/ludicrous frontman giving it loads, presented with matching threads and a sense of punky camp, you’ll want to be at O2 City Hall on Thursday 28th March, as these magnificent Swedes strike poses, recycle 50 year old guitar lines and mangle the English language.
Thursday 28th March @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle

Image: The Hives by Bisse Bengtsson

Multi-Grammy award winner and virtuosic bass player Thundercat will perform at O2 City Hall on Friday 29th March.
An LA native, Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner has been in the business for over two decades as a musician, producer and songwriter. Thundercat’s history as a collaborator is colourful; he’s worked extensively with Erykah Badu, Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar, and most recently with Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Gorillaz and Tame Impala. His skill set is perfectly honed and multi-faceted; from a session musician to a creative contributor on major albums to a touring performer (he is, in fact, fresh from touring with Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Strokes).
Mainstream solo success has been relatively recent. His latest album It Is What It Is was a gorgeous blend of jazz, funk and progressive R&B and nabbed the singer his second Grammy in 2020, while his first Grammy was for his work on Lamar’s seminal rap album To Pimp A Butterfly. 
His live show will undoubtedly cross an expanse of genres and styles, whilst spotlighting the distinctive, dazzling bass runs he’s known for. Expect full-bodied orchestral grooves and lyrics that veer between existentialism and frivolity. The latter is delightfully present on smooth psychedelic setlist regulars like Dragonball Durag.
Friday 29th March @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle

Drag Castle: Rock & Riot
The acclaimed and highly talented Drag Castle troupe bring a touch of glamorous rock ‘n’ roll to your life, as they present a celebration of rock and roll legends told in their own inimitable way. Join Baron LaVey, Cara Bonara, Frida Sapphic, Ivy and MXYM for an electrifying night as they ignite the stage to the rhythm of your favourite rebellious anthems. 
Thursday 28th March @ The Grove, Newcastle

Now, Then
An exhibition celebrating Darlington and the people who have made it the place it is, lead artist Lizzie Lovejoy uncovers the town’s heritage and its ever-growing present, with stories collated from members of the local community through workshops and conversations, exploring what it means to be Northern and Darlo culture.
Friday 29th March-early May @ Crown Street Gallery, Darlington

Image: Now, Then by Lizzie Lovejoy

Exit Music
The Byker venue presents a weekend of alternative sounds including spoken word/hip-hop-adjacent artist Anthony Szmierek, rap trio Frozemode and beat-heavy project Ebbb, plus neo-soul artist Rivkala and Sweets on the Saturday; while on Sunday 31st, enjoy indie post-punks English Teacher, heartfelt indie rocker Ernie, indie popster Ellur, shoegazers Waves of Dread and synth-heavy band Home Counties.
Saturday 30th March @ The Grove, Newcastle




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