WEEKLY ROUND-UP (29.01.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Reliably informed

Image: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, image by Mike Korostelev

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.

The Bowes Museum hosts Murmuration, a groundbreaking exhibition where people will be able to delve into the world of birds by exploring avian symbolism in art and trace its significance across cultures and time. A wide selection of work from artists across various generations, backgrounds and disciplines will discover the pivotal role that birds play as indicators to the health of the environment, reflecting the urgent climate crisis and, through the work, ponder the metaphor of birds as messengers of home and belonging.
The show includes works by Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Henna Asikainen, Shiraz Bayjoo, Bentley Beetham, Bowes Museum founder Joséphine Bowes, Ryan Gander, Sally Madge, Bethan Maddocks, David Shrigley, C F Tunnicliffe and Hanna Tuulikki among many others. 
Pieces from the museum’s own vast collection will be set alongside the contemporary works, with additional loans from other institutions including the British Council, Great North Museum: Hancock, Stephen Friedman Gallery, Copperfield Gallery and individuals. The exhibition will also feature previously unseen works from Bowes’ collection, alongside contemporary pieces that, together, explore our human impact in and on the natural world. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a public programme of radical ecology events aimed at adults.
Saturday 27th January-Sunday 23rd June @ The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle 

Image: © Henna Asikainen, Icarus and Other Fallen Angels, 2013–ongoing

Jacqueline Poncelet
This solo exhibition from acclaimed Belgian artist Jacqueline Poncelet will survey five decades of the artists’ work, exploring her deep engagement with cityscapes and rural landscapes through large-scale watercolour paintings, sculpture, massive textile works, delicate ceramics and architectural interventions. Runs until 23rd June.
Thursday 1st February-23rd June @ MIMA, Middlesbrough

Discover the everyday and the otherworldly, in this new exhibition featuring work by Christy Burdock, Mani Kambo and Bethany Stead. Through drawings, painting, embroidery and ceramics, the artists explore everyday personal narratives and heritage, shot through with a dose of magic and the surreal, offering a unique portal into their individual ways of viewing the world. Runs until 16th March.
Friday 2nd February-16th March @ Gallagher & Turner, Newcastle

Richard Dawson
Recent shows have included a number of tracks from what looks set to be the Greatest Living Geordie’s eighth album, the follow-up to the magnificent The Ruby Cord. In the meantime, Dawson is bringing his inimitable, astonishing music to Stockton for a night, with support from the wonderful Me Lost Me.
Friday 2nd February @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

Sunny Blunts
Sunny Blunts is the North East’s contribution to the seventh International Biennale of Non-Objective Art, and is named after the Peterlee housing estate designed by Victor Pasmore. As well as a strong collection of exhibiting artists either from or connected to the North East, this preview event will feature an Industrial Coast-curated performance from industrial musician Culver.
Friday 2nd February @ Various Peterlee venues

Silly Billies Cabaret Show
If you’re familiar with the North East comedy scene, you’ll likely have seen a Silly Billies show at least once (and if you prefer your comedy a little more conventional, it’s possible once was enough!) However, if it’s a sillier, more bizarre comedy show you’re after, you won’t want to miss Silly Billies Comedy Cabaret Show at Alphabetti Theatre on Friday 2nd February.
Oddball hosts Jack & Sam present a line-up of Northern comedy talent, including Silly Billies favourite Fernando, and star of BBC’s Ideal, Man Stroke Woman, Pramface and Game of Thrones, Ben Compton – who you will have certainly seen on your screens and now you can catch live!
For a truly original, alternative comedy experience, make sure you grab tickets to this delicious variety show. Expect pure lunacy, offbeat humour and the unexpected.
Friday 2nd February @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

Vija Celmins
Continuing the gallery’s involvement in the Artist Rooms programme, Latvian artist Vija Celmins’ closely observed work is typified by intricate and exquisitely drawn depictions of natural phenomena, including the ocean, spider webs and the night sky. Her delicate work is extraordinarily precise and as such utterly beguiling. Runs until 4th May.
Saturday 3rd February-4th May @ Hatton Gallery, Newcastle

Bordered Belongings
The Newbridge Project’s Bordered Belonging is an exhibition and event series exploring the intersections of health, precarity, care and hostile environments. Developed with writer and social-tech activist Bhavani Esapathi, the project platforms the voices and perspectives of those living in a system that does not always offer compassion, adequate care, or sanctuary.
Saturday 3rd February-30th March @ The Newbridge Project, Newcastle

Endless Window kick the month off with a noisy bang, bringing DIY duo Polevaulter and their industrial electronics, post-punk and noise rock sound to Little Buildings. They’re ably assisted by the pure punk energy and digital hardcore of Gonzo Dog, dark garage vibes from Melting and drum machine-driven noise rock courtesy of Zilch Patrol.
Saturday 3rd February @ Little Buildings, Newcastle

Image: Novelty Island by Frankie Tibbles

Novelty Island/Meadow Meadow
A pessimistic person might tell someone hitting the double digits to enjoy it while it lasts, because it doesn’t get better. But those types of people are wrong. 
This year marks a significant anniversary for Newcastle’s own Wandering Oak, promoters of all sounds trippy and noisy. Wandering Oak have become infamously talented for bringing some of the most in-demand artists to the North East and blessing the ears of gig goers with their roster of psychedelia, electronica, alternative and hazy sounds.  
And what’s a birthday without a party? Saturday 3rd February will see Newcastle’s Cluny 2 host a double headliner to celebrate the big one zero, as Novelty Island and Meadow Meadow plan to get their party hats out for the promoter’s big day.  
Novelty Island is the psychedelic pop project of Liverpool-based songwriter Tom McConnell. The artist releases his forthcoming EP on 2nd February, titled Taped Over, which aims to capture McConnell’s childhood through its dream-like synthetic world. Recently turned into a four-piece band, Meadow Meadow are coming off the recent release of their debut album, You Are So Alive. The therapeutic release invites the listener in with gentle and textured melodies.  
Saturday 3rd February @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Sound x Vision
Having spent last year proving themselves to be at the forefront of the North East’s alt. Queer scene, promoters Tyne & Queer step up their game with a genre-clashing event which spans two venues: Newcastle’s Zerox and Sunderland’s Independent, on Saturday 3rd and Tuesday 6th February.
Sound x Vision aims to be a powerful showcase of the North East’s cultural richness, celebrating artistic brilliance while also seeking to foster community and artistic engagement and collaboration. As with everything Tyne & Queer do, the event also promises to celebrate inclusivity and creativity, and artists performing across both venues have been chosen for their captivating live performances and inclusive attitudes.
Artists performing at Zerox on Saturday 3rd include lo-fi punk duo Mouses, riffy rockers Hivemind, The Hollows and Frogge. At Independent on Tuesday 6th, expect performances from multi-instrumentalist Tummyache, whose alt. rock soundscapes are a vehicle for songwriter Soren Bryce, post-punky garage rockers TV Death and the punk-pop brilliance of bigfatbig.
Tyne & Queer’s Beck Carol says: “Sound x Vision is a platform that celebrates art and music, creating connections that resonate deeply within our community. This collaborative initiative is a testament to the power of diversity and creativity.”
Saturday 3rd February @ Zerox, Newcastle & Tuesday 6th February @ Independent, Sunderland

Describing Amsterdam four-piece Loupe as an indie rock or pop band hardly does them justice. Their sound has a wider expanse incorporating synth pop, dream pop and folk. Insistent, stuttering rhythms also imbue their songs with a unique dynamic and resonant feeling.
The band consisting of Nina (lead vocals), Jasmine (guitar), Lana (bass) and Annemarie (drums) use their combined expressive chemistry like a hypnotic secret language. Songs sound lush and conspiratorially rich with subtle moments of interplay. Their debut album Do You Ever Wonder What Comes Next?, released in June last year, is bursting with a sing-along set of songs that twist and turn, covering some of life’s bigger coming-of-age dilemmas. I Keep Changing, Vortex and Holding Me Too Tight all embrace the intimate and personal reach that engages with audiences.
Performing at Zerox on Monday 5th February, Loupe will present their angelic, exuberant vocals and virtuoso playing, and sprinkle shimmers of cool insouciance which bring to mind everything from Slowdive to salsa. Using emotive lyrics and building up tensions to often ecstatic sonic climaxes, their songs command everyone’s attention. The quartet spread their musical colours and images in a painterly, impressionistic way that we can all find empathy in and fully embrace.
Monday 5th February @ Zerox, Newcastle

Image: Loupe by Tony Dočekal

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Amongst our planet’s greatest scientists and academics, it has often been noted that a connection with nature has the capacity to inspire increased empathy in humans towards our world and the harm that we do it, as well as the creatures we share it with. The power of events such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year have become famed in recent years for its ability to draw global attention towards the most beautiful and precious corners of our earth, and encourage this connection in audiences, from sprawling urban metropolises to the deep polar seas, isolated deserts and incredible rainforest scenes.
Coming to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens this month, this exhibition boasts extremely high-level talent from some of the world’s greatest visionaries and adventurers, who have captured the phenomenon of life and the complexities of our ecosystems, as well as the harm we are currently perpetrating on nature. Thought-provoking and immersive, audiences are presented with images of species close to extinction, the impact of oil spills, and the cruelty caused to animals for human commercial and entertainment purposes. A very important collection, created to inspire increased awareness with nature and what we can do to protect it, filled with the beauty and charm of the animals we live amongst.
Monday 5th February-Saturday 1st June @ Sunderland Museum

Miles Jupp
Given his vast amount of work across film, TV, radio, theatre and books, Miles Jupp is a man who has never been short of topics to talk about in his stand-up routines. Most recently he’s appeared in Sex Education on Netflix, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? on ITVX, The Full Monty on Disney+ and in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon as well as starring in one-man touring play The Life I Lead and releasing his debut novel, History.
As anyone who’s seen him on TV panel shows will know, he’s an eloquent and self-deprecating character and on stage his monologues on life are always witty and compelling. On his latest tour, On I Bang, which arrives at Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Monday 5th February, however, he has the added story to tell of how, two years ago, he was forced to undergo major surgery to remove a tumour after suffering a brain seizure. Thankfully he promises that he now feels “pretty chipper”, and the fact that he’s about to embark on a sizeable tour of the UK would certainly seem to support the fact that he’s back to full health. Jupp’s first live show in seven years will therefore be a story of “surprise, fear, love, luck and qualified medical practitioners” – and thank goodness for the latter.
Monday 5th February @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle

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