WEEKLY ROUND-UP (31.07.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Caroline Cardus, an artist taking part in the All The Women We Could Have Been exhibition

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.

Northern Summer Exhibition
Selected from an impressive entry of 240 images, the Northern Summer Exhibition at Newcastle Arts Centre shows off a varied and fascinating showcase of regional work, exhibited in a variety of mediums, genre and subject. The resulting exhibition features work by more than 120 Northern artists across 174 pieces of work.
Runs until Saturday 26th August @ Newcastle Arts Centre


Monkey’s Blood
A new play by local playwrights Jamie Eastlake and John Hickman, Monkey’s Blood is the tale of protagonist Micky, who rallies against convention and turns his love for puppetry and performing into a successful show with the help of his coked up sidekick, a monkey called Colin. An absurdist plot ensues, involving the far right, children’s TV and a foul-mouthed monkey, leading the production to being described as “absolutely barking mad”. The tone for the play is perfectly encapsulated by its trailer, which sees a Colin the monkey lip-synch along to Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence.
Tuesday 1st-Saturday 5th August @ Laurel’s, Whitley Bay

All the Women We Could Have Been
A group of disabled female artists who bonded over shared experiences during lockdown will present a landmark exhibition at Stockton’s ARC. All The Women We Could Have Been is the brainchild of Teesside-based artist and activist Vici Wreford-Sinnott, with the artwork on display presented by the IN/Visible Disabled Women’s National Arts Collective which comprises of Michelle Baharier, Samantha Blackburn, Caroline Cardus, Honor Flaherty, Pauline Heath, Cheryl Martin, Julie McNamara, Lynne McFarlane, Dolly Sen and Vici Wreford-Sinnott.
The exhibition will be a powerful exploration of what life might have been like for disabled women had external limitations not been in place; taking a call-to-arms celebratory approach, the artists are keen for viewers to interact with work by some of the Disability Arts Movements leading disabled women artists and thinkers, and the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to enjoy works which are witty, poetic and provocative, across a multitude of mediums.
Wednesday 3rd-Wednesday 30th August @ ARC, Stockton

Musician’s Mental Health Alliance NE gigs
The Musicians Mental Health Alliance NE have made it their business to uplift their community with a series of charity events across the region, with all proceeds going to If U Care Share, a North East suicide prevention foundation. Two shows are on their books for August, both hosted at the always iconic Trillians. Thursday 3rd August will see Teesside metalheads Motions supported by nu-emo newbies Blame Yourself and pop punkers Set Your Sights. Thankfully, you have a couple days of recovery before you can indulge in another soiree headlined on Sunday 6th August by joyful joycore band Kkett, Nomad Anthem (who put the ‘punk’ in punk rock) and Failed To Ignite (who put the ‘pop’ in pop punk.) Two nights, six local legends, and a worthy cause won’t leave you wanting.
Thursday 3rd & Sunday 6th August @ Trillians, Newcastle

Boasting some of the best street artists and performers from across the world, the Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) is a glorious four day cavalcade of exciting performances, stunning visual experiences, daring dance, live music, circus and more.
Beginning with a special Alive After Five party on Stockton High Street on Thursday 3rd August, the festival’s official launch show, the spectacular Perceptions by Bivouac, starts at 7pm on Friday 4th (with a repeat performance on Saturday night at 9.30pm, giving you a chance to see it after dark). There’s also the return of the fabulous SIRF Green, with a wealth of tasty treats on offer from local traders, live music sets from Old Time Rags, The Dead Seat and a healthy dose of tomfoolery from 16rpm, alongside street performances from Akademi, Unlimited Theatre, Upswing and 2Faced Dance. Saturday also sees a free entry all-dayer at The Georgian Theatre and The Green Room, with sets from Common Courtesy, Coral Snake, Haunted Hair, Blackout The Arcade and Seventh Heaven (in the Georgian) and Pave The Jungle, Ward, Charlotte Grayson, Parissa Zarifi and Mary Elizabeth Webb (in the Green Room). To close out the festival, the ever-popular Community Carnival will parade down the High Street on Sunday, ending at Trinity Green, where a truly spectacular high flying acrobatic show from CirkVOST brings things to a close. Best of all, it’s free throughout!
Thursday 3rd-Sunday 6th August @ Stockton



Castle of Comedy
Drag troupe Drag Castle have garnered quite the name for themselves since their humble beginnings doing online livestream shows in 2020. Specialising in witty performances and thought-provoking lip syncs, this is a drag show with a difference – expect anything from cosplay to satire with guests Anna Morphic, Frida Sapphic, Gladys Duffy, Ivy and Stacey Rhect.
Thursday 3rd August @ The Stand, Newcastle

New Act New Material Night
Hilarity Bites have their fingers firmly on the pulse when it comes to the hottest up and coming comedic talent in the region, and their ‘new act new material’ nights are a great place to discover your new favourite rib tickler. This event features performances from David Eagle, Zoe, Andy Fury and a host of new acts too.
Thursday 3rd August @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool

The end of Mclusky in 2005 felt like a very turbulent affair, and it was a damned shame – in a few years and three brilliant albums the trio brought an acerbic fury, and their live shows were astonishing. The very gradual return of Mclusky (starting with a benefit show in 2014) has been confusing, tentative and full of complicated punctuation – (Mclusky), Mclusky*, mclusky – but is surely a very good thing. There are no new recordings yet, although that’s apparently going to happen, but there are sporadic tours and they are absolutely as fearsome as ever, with OGs Andy Falkous and Jack Egglestone joined by Damien Sayell from St Pierre Snake Invasion. Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues will still feel like a jet taking off IN YOUR FACE.
Thursday 3rd August @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

Live at the Bunker
A mainstay of the Sunderland scene, studio and rehearsal rooms The Bunker also play host to regular live shows where they champion some of Sunderland’s most exciting up and coming artists. This gig features metal/grindcore band Yersin, Equitim and Divine Image.
Saturday 5th August @ Bunker, Sunderland

Queer As Fest
Queer As Fest is an unapologetic celebration of the LGBTQ+’s diversity and strength, and the music they make. Queer punk four-piece Dream Nails embody the full range of emotion, from unbridled Queer joy to rage-fuelled political anthem. The line-up is rounded out by Queer artists from across the genres: event organiser Holly Rees brings her indie rock trio to the sub-headline spot; multi-instrumentalist Soft Lad offers up her authentic, autobiographical indie catalogue; South Tyneside’s own avant-garde creator MXYM will once again rock the stage and your world; Manchester-based singer-songwriter Chloe Hawes blends folk and Americana for a transatlantic transcendent experience; and Jade Mia Broadhead’s outspoken outlook on her life experiences show the real impact of politicising a person’s right to exist. There’s also performances from Young Musicians Project artists including Eve Cole, Lily Mac, Izzy Price and Jenali.
Saturday 5th August @ Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland

Surf Bonanza
Providing a fantastic opportunity to experience four of the region’s surf-inspired bands, as well as a selection of vintage short films. Performing on the night are The Milk Lizards, who blend surf rock with a punkish energy, creating a sound that would not be out of place in a modern interpretation of Hawaii 5-0 and creating a truly engaging listening experience. Toxic Peak are a relatively new band who specialise in instrumental surf-based tunes, describing themselves as “lost in the waves of a quarry lagoon”. Also on the bill are X-Ray Surf Vehicle, an off-shot of the band X Ray Cat Trio, that will only be around for a few live shows this summer, as the surf-punkers use the opportunity to experiment under a new pseudonym. While Jon Lee’s Hawaiian Serenaders will complete the line-up for a summer night of groovy tunes.
Saturday 5th August @ The Cluny, Newcastle

Borders Ukraine Fundraiser
Local legend Jacklyn, Berlin-based Beth Alana, and upcoming Lithuanian talent Šikšna will team up to spin some electrifying techno in aid of a fundraiser for Helping To Leave, a foundation that helps Ukrainians evacuate from military conflict areas.
Saturday 5th August @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle

Canny Queer Fest
Presented by the Newcastle-based Canny Queer Collective, this celebration of the LGBTQ+ scene will feature Polyvinyl, Ceramic, Pink Poison and Gaydar, plus unplugged sets by some local favourites. Profit will be split between suicide prevention charity If U Care Share Foundation and the collective themselves, enabling them to continue to support the region’s Queer music scene.
Saturday 5th August @ Old Coal Yard, Newcastle

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