WEEKLY ROUND-UP (26.02.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Lande Hekt by Maciej Mastalerz

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.

Ross Millard: Destination
The Futureheads musician, artist and writer Ross Millard has turned his talents to photography, and presents his first exhibition of images which span several years of personal travels and time spent on the road. From the familiar to the exotic, Ross’ keen eye for composition and subject matter makes for engaging viewing.
Until late April @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

Image: Tokyo Wheel by Ross Millard

North East creatives come together to try out brand new work for the first time in front of an audience. With four short plays, two live musicians and a proper funny comedian.
Greenhouse is a melting pot of regional creatives coming together from all stages of their career, with a mix of early, mid-career and established artists. Plays include Act 1 Beginners by Carl Wylie, The Phone Box by Sarah Davy, Blood Moon by Alison Scurfield and Direct Action by Arabella Action, plus there’s a comedy set from Si Beckwith and music from Tom Hall-Davidson and Maya Torres.
Tuesday 27th February @ Live Theatre, Newcastle

Vittorio Angelone
Vittorio Angelone may appear, and indeed be, relatively young as a comic, but when he brings his Who Do You Think You Are? I Am! show to Middlesbrough Town Hall’s Crypt on Tuesday 27th February, he does so with extensive experience in his craft that belies his relative youth.
In an age where many comedians skate by doing sporadic shows here and there, focusing primarily on their social media platforms and podcast appearances to generate interest – and money – Angelone is prolific in his output in all of the mediums a modern comic must be fluent in to succeed. But behind it all is a hard-earned ease on stage, won through an impressive dedication to getting up there and performing night in night out, resulting in seamless crowd work and improvisation mixed in with carefully crafted written material.
His new show features a deceptively thoughtful look at his own identity, being of mixed Irish-Italian heritage, as well as the notion of identity more broadly, and can be relied on for sheer laughs as well as a peek into one of the scene’s brightest young talents refreshingly dedicated to honing their craft the old fashioned way – on stage, microphone in hand.
Tuesday 27th February @ Middlesbrough Town Hall

Blame Yourself, Without Trust, Holding Out & Dutch Elm
North-East music curators Veritas Promotions put on a night of alt-rock delights at Trillians in Newcastle with an all-star bill featuring, Newcastle Midwest Emo outfit Blame Yourself, Edinburgh pop-punk band Without Trust, Tyneside punks Holding Out and local post-rockers Dutch Elm.
Wednesday 28th February @ Trillians, Newcastle

Esprit D’Air
Initially formed in 2010, Esprit D’Air will be recognisable for their iconic track Shizuku, which was most notably the first playable J-rock song in the history of the once-ubiquitous rock band gaming franchise. The band, initially a five-piece spearheaded by guitarist/composer Kai, blazed a trail until 2013 when, amongst shifting personnel changes and some personal struggles, the band broke up before they could even release a debut album.
Kai resurrected the band in 2016, returning effectively as a solo project for the prolific and talented musician, with session musicians on board to flesh out his intricate Gothic metal compositions in the live arena. This led, in turn, to the long-awaited release of 2017’s debut Constellations, which was welcomed with open arms by fans and metal royalty alike, being awarded Best Metal Album at the subsequent Independent Music Awards. A staggering 13 singles would precede the 2022 release of sophomore effort Oceans, which has been equally welcomed with a raft of acclaim. Kai has achieved all this without the input of a major label, following a strong DIY ethos and self-producing and releasing his material. This creative freedom translates into some gloriously engrossing and bold metal, which will translate brilliantly to the stage at Red’s Bar.
Wednesday 28th February @ Northumbria University Students’ Union

Image: Nabil Abdulrashid by Matt Stronge

Nabil Abdulrashid
Nabil Abdulrashid is stopping in at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle on his UK tour, The Purple Pill, on Thursday 29th February.
Nabil was the youngest Black comedian to perform stand-up on Live at the Apollo in 2010 at 25 years old, but he shot to mainstream fame after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent in 2020. Since then, he has appeared on Have I Got News for You, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and The Big Narstie Show.
A charismatic comedian with uncompromising humour, he exudes comfort on the stage. His sets usually strike a balance between thoughtful and defiant, as he dissects UK politics, class, racism and Islamophobia with satirical urgency. 
His perspective is often provocative, which he makes no apologies for, as he articulates his existence at the intersection of several differing cultures. A Black Muslim, born in Nigeria but raised in Croydon, Nabil’s a privately educated ex-con with an ADHD diagnosis; a thoughtful and joyful family man. He is powerful and engaging on the stage, fuelled with vying tender anger and joy, as he makes sharp cultural observations accompanied by varying amounts of modest self-deprecation.
Thursday 29th February @ The Stand, Newcastle

Jock & John Mooney: Not In Service
Only the third time father and son artists have exhibited together, Not In Service is a rare chance to see creations from John and Jock Mooney hanging side by side.
Throughout March, Gateshead’s Vane Gallery will bring together a mix of drawings, paintings and sculpture in an exhibition which responds to the creative prompt ‘not in service’, resulting in pieces as diverse in media as they are in meaning.
Though the Scottish artists use different methods and materials, their work is universally thought-provoking and shares a sense of the absurd. The pair create a diverse, kaleidoscopic visual world, exploring the theme through intricate pen drawings, garish and colourful sculpture, enamel reliefs and family portraits.
Described as “a mirror to our trouble times”, Not In Service is a playful and macabre dive into the gnarly questions of life, from mortality to religion, science and the supernatural.
Thursday 29th February-Saturday 23rd March @ Vane Gallery, Gateshead

Shipcote & Friends with Aurora Strings Quartet
In any just world, there’d be a statue of Shippy in the middle of Times Square, a testament to his services to the local music scene going back almost four decades. His work as one of the Jumpin’ Hot Club team is reason enough to salute the guy – as celebrated in the recent Where Good Music Belongs book about them, they’ve been bringing the best Americana, roots, blues and reggae to the city since the eighties. Not only that, but he’s a fine musician too and his informal, laidback country-swing/Geordie creole outfit Shipcote & Friends have been making people grin for a long time all over the North East.
This month the outfit are releasing an EP of Shippy originals which sees them paired with both the Aurora Strings Quartet and the marvellous Bridie Jackson, called – with impeccable logic – Shipcote With Strings. And to launch the EP there’s going to be a very special gig at The Cluny 2 on Friday 1st March where Shippy and his band are joined by the Quartet for a one-off performance, which is going to be pretty damn lovely. And Bridie will be the support for that too. Wonderful stuff.
Friday 1st March @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Based on personal experience, Gamble is about the gambling industry, its destructive influence on those that become addicted and the effect on those in their lives. With a goal of raising awareness and de-stigmatising this addiction, co-creator and performer Hannah Walker’s play lifts the curtain on the multi-billion pound online gambling industry to understand and sympathise with those that find themselves unable to stop chasing that jackpot win.
Performed at Northern Stage on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd March, the show features accounts of industry experts, health professionals, people in recovery and their loved ones, leaving the audience with an affecting, well-rounded picture of the scale and scope of this issue. With a phone in all of our pockets, we’re now only ever a few clicks away from a quick bet. Leaders in the gambling industry, whose interest it is to encourage addictive behaviour rather than protect users against it, have more power than ever before. Covering themes of loss, resilience and love, this show empathises with the struggle of addiction away from judgement and stigma.
All performances will be followed by a post-show discussion with Dr Matthew Gaskell, Clinical Lead and Consultant Psychologist for the NHS Northern Gambling Service.
Friday 1st-Saturday 2nd March @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

Image: Gilla Band by Mark McGuinness

Gilla Band
‘Nightmarish’, ‘ungodly’ and ‘cataclysmic’ are just some of the terms used to define Gilla Band over recent months, and with a full UK tour in the offing, a fresh flow of combative adjectives is surely heading their way. Of course, none are unbefitting a Dublin quartet whose fiendish assaults – underpinned by the curious magnetism and lyrical absurdity of frontman Dara Kiely – have earned them a place among Ireland’s most notorious contemporary outfits. This needle certainly characterises their studio work – the mangled, deconstructed avant-pop of 2021’s Most Normal being perhaps their most barbarous offering to date – yet the full force of Gilla Band’s experimental rancour is invariably reserved for those experiencing it in person.
Fortunately, their show at The Cluny on Saturday 2nd March not only offers devotees and newcomers alike an opportunity to do just that, but does so with the added fillip of a support slot from noise terror comrades The Psychotic Monks. Hailing from Saint-Ouen on the outskirts of Paris, this radical four-piece’s unhinged din is built from improvisation, a penchant for harsh textures and the desire to lure listeners into a world of bleakly hypnotic, flesh quivering physicality. Check out last year’s excellent third album Pink Colour Surgery (recorded and produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox) for a taste of what to expect. Oh, and bring earplugs, silly!
Saturday 2nd March @ The Cluny, Newcastle

The North Will Rise Again
An afternoon and evening of talk and music, paying tribute to the energies, reveries and maladies of the contemporary North of England. The North Will Rise Again novelist Alex Niven will join Isaac Rose, author of The Rentier City: Making Modern Manchester, to talk about their books; and there’s music from Marginal Gains and Lady Lamp.
Saturday 2nd March @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Lande Hekt
Over the last couple of years, The Lubber Fiend have remained steadfast and prolific in their efforts to bring a broad variety of quality DIY acts to the city centre, further reinforcing the brilliant support that the city, and the region as a whole, gives to an array of left-field talent from across the globe.
This particular offering on Sunday 3rd March is a further reinforcement of this, with a headlining set from the iconic Muncie Girls frontperson Lande Hekt. Hekt has blazed a trail as a solo artist, beginning with the marvellous debut Going To Hell in 2021, followed swiftly by 2022’s Backstreet Snow. Her phenomenal command of songcraft favours heart-on-sleeve lyricism with a strong melodic sensibility that firmly reinforces the raw and brutally honest songwriting. A string of singles have followed, which further showcase her phenomenal command of the craft, with songs that are anthemic in spirit and yet intimate, organic and relatable in their execution, channelling a wealth of emotion and character through dense harmonies, chiming lead guitars and golden, sun-soaked melodies. It’ll translate beautifully to the stage. Support comes from local icons Bitchfinder General and the almighty Weekend Faithful.
Sunday 3rd March @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle




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