Split Festival, Sunderland’s annual music event, now in its fourth year seemed to divide its interests. The controversy lies with the wishes of the festival founders, The Futureheads, they wanted to make the event a “festival for the North East that happens to be in Sunderland”, as Ross Millard from the band told NARC Magazine.
Although attending the festival I left feeling it was more ‘a festival for Public Image’. Despite this the quality and breadth of music across the weekend was excellent. There was a great mix of local and outside of the region bands, mostly indie-rock or pop bands, however I also enjoyed this year’s new Sunderland Folk stage.
Just some of the acts that stood out across the weekend included The Chapman Family, who played the main stage on Sunday. They performed a storming set that had the crowd electrified with their dark gritty indie rock. They are not a band for the light-hearted as their Morrisy like lead singer shouted each lyric at you and the floor vibrated due to the heavy subdued bass guitar.
A few others include Algiers with their good banter, catchy lyrics and really fun set that had everyone dancing. Citizens! Were just as fun, coaxing the crowd with their 80’s throw back indie-pop music full of synths and rhythmical guitar riffs that had toes-a-tapping in the crowd.
Then to round off the weekend The Futureheads took pride in closing the festival with their warm, interactive set. Everyone got behind singing along to the bands ‘classics’ such as a capella ‘Old Dun Cow’ and ‘Hounds Of Love’ it was a great uplifting end to a varied festival this year.
By Ruth Edmundson – Photographs on Flicker by Bradley Davison : http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearonthepulse/sets/72157631808243878/
The next Oxjam Acoustic Central will take place on August 9th at The Central in Gateshead. The Oxjam Acoustic Central are a series of acoustic events to showcase local musicians to raise their profile as well as funds for Oxfam’s work across the region and the world.
Performing on the night will be Amy Holford, Morris Ford & Lesely Roley, you can rad about them below.
Amy recently supported Willy Mason at the Communion Unplugged weekend in May, and is looking forward to recording her first EP with Dave Burn and Frankie & The Heartstrings’ Michael Ross over the summer.
‘Broken Boy Soldier is a perfect cocktail of cool seduction and muted threat, but with the blistering acapella of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and the fantastically broody stylings of ‘Blood’, Holford exhibits a diversity,’ – Planet Notion
‘A voice to break hearts….it brought the room to a standstill and gave me goosebumps right up my back. That’s a raw talent right there.’ – Matt Stalker& Fables
“In a world saturated with acoustic indie-folk, what makes an artist stand out is the quality of the song-writing. And writing uplifting, soulful songs is what Morris Ford is all about.”
“From the Royal Albert Hall to Nashville, Tennessee, audiences have fallen in love with Lesley’s pure, heartwarming vocals and winning personality. Her highly melodic songs mix elements of folk, pop and blues, creating a distinct, individual and classic sound. Lesley’s compositions can be heart-rendingly poignant (“Missing”, “Too Bad”) or hilariously vituperative such as the “Mr Sad”. All of her songs demonstrate an old-fashioned command of melody that means her music will endure once lesser talents have hung up their capos.”
Evolution Emerging is an annual night of free live music that takes place across various venues in Ouseburn, Newcastle. It can be descried as the pre-party to the larger Evolution festival that takes place on the banks of the Tyne, over the bank holiday weekend in June.
This year’s Evolution Emerging took place over six venues and hosted 27 bands from 7pm till about 11pm, with an after show party taking place at The Star and Shadow cinema. This year was the first time I had attended Evolution Emerging and was unsure of how it all worked and where exactly all the venues were in relation with one another.
My original plan was to stay at The Cumberland Arms all night not realising just how close all the venues were to each other, in all honesty I was worried I would get lost. Thankfully I was able to visit four of the venues and see five bands in total. The downside however was I couldn’t get to see everyone I was hoping to but that is a problem which couldn’t be avoided with the wide range of bands on at the same time. However below i have listed my overview of those bands I was able to catch on the night…
The Cluny 2 – Let’s Away
The first band of the night for me was Let’s Away – a band I had been hoping to catch since hearing their EP “Let’s Away … From Here”. There were a handful of people in the room, which gave it a cosy atmosphere for it was evident, everyone there were intrigued to see the band play their first ever gig. Not bad to have your first gig a part of Evolution Emerging at all I must add.
Live their songs were given greater depth and softness as the mellow melodies and lulling guitars resonated around the room. There fuller sound was due to the addition of musicians from various bands including Richard from Chased by Wolves and Josh & Bop from Lilliput. Overall it was a great way to start the night and a gig I am glad I didn’t miss because of the uncertainty of future gigs due to the logistics goes into allowing this band to play live.
I was able to grab an interview with the band after their set – thanks to the lads for chatting to me.
Here is a free download of “Concording” from their debut EP “Let’s Away … From Here”
The Cumberland Arms – Lilliput
Lilliput were the most upbeat band I saw live all night, by that I mean they were the most lively and interactive with the crowd. The set was a storm with the crowd that shuffled into the back of The Cumberland Arms to catch the band’s most relaxed and chatty performance – which included a few dance moves on stage.
There was plenty of banter within the band and with the audience who fully embraced the part atmosphere. Reminiscent of B>E>A>K Lilliput’s Joe handed out percussion to the crowd and soon they were dancing, singing and playing along with the band.
Lilliput played a selection of songs including a new song “Aerial” that took things down a notch. The standout track from their set was “Until” that went down a treat with the crowd.
I was able to get an interview with Josh and Jonathan from the band – thanks for chatting to me lads !
The Cumberland Arms – Collectors Club
I must admit I only caught part of Collectors Club set while just outside the pub gathering interviews and deciding where next I was going to go. Although from what I heard it was another upbeat and lively performance. They reminded me of Vampire Weekend and by far had the best hairstyles I have seen from a band. Their surfer pop was relaxing while outside seeing people chilling out in the beer garden and discussing who to see next.
The Tanners – Bird Island
After much deliberation outside the Cumberland Arms I decide to see Bird Island next at The Tanners, a light blue pub that looked inviting. Once there I was able to catch half of the bands set in the pubs large back room where they had drawn quite a crowd.
Their music on record sounds like the perfect chilled out driving sound track and this sensation was recreated while playing live, it was a great surf set.
The Star and Shadow – Young Liar
To end the night I ended up across the road from the Tanners in The Star And Shadow Cinema. There through an intriguing cartoon white door was Young Liar playing their set inside the Cinema.
Walking in on their set half way through I was hit by a euphoric wall of sound. The room was fixated on the stage while the band performed and lost themselves in their music – which isn’t hard to get wrapped in their raw and cinematic sound fitting for the venue. It was overall an amazing highlight to end the nigh on and my first ever Evolution Emerging experience.
Hope everyone else enjoyed their night of music on June 1st and all the bands involved had a great time as well. Can’t wait for next years…
Words by Ruth Edmundson
The Green festival is an annual event that takes place in Newcastle’s Leazes Park and offers visitors a range of entertainment, activities and information on environmental protection and social justice. Having started in 1995, as an offshoot from Newcastle University’s Green Society, the festival is now in its 17th year and is still ran wholly by a team of volunteers form the local community.
This was the first time I have visited the Green festival and was not sure what to expect although it turned out to be a day I thoroughly enjoyed. The festival has previously been dubbed as the North’s ‘mini Glastonbury’ and I can say I agree with this comparison due to the diversity of the festival.
Among the festival visitors included families, teens, people from all backgrounds and social groups such as punks to even Japanese inspired Lolita’s all enjoying the festival. There were more people there than I expected all taking part in activates and browsing the range of tents from food stalls to tents selling arts and crafts products.
Soon enough after arriving I got lost however eventually found my way to the Green tent. This was the music tent and where I reviewed and interviewed the various musicians who played there throughout the Saturday.
Inside the tent the mood was very lax with various people sitting on the ground, and others at the back of the tent drinking tea and eating pizza, it was a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
First to on stage was jazz singer Ruth Lambert with her band including bass, bass guitar and trumpet. As a music fan I must admit jazz has never been a genre I have delved into although Ruth’s vocals were infectious and created a chilled out vibe in the tent. This was also aided by the mellow tones of her backing band especially the bass solo that featured in her short set, the first I have heard.
Ruth Lambert interview …
Following Ruth on stage came King Bee a lively band who filled out the tent both by drawing in a crowd and band member wise. The band in total had seven members on stage all playing individual instruments from the saxophone to drums. They promised the crowd a fun set and that is what they delivered with songs such as “Jellymanfunk” that was as fun and wacky as it sounds. The band was an instrumental outfit and created an upbeat atmosphere through the use of the vibraphone and by the fact you could see the band themselves were enjoying the gig.
King Bee Interview …
After King Bee’s fun filled performance, Dan Walsh took to the stage with his banjo and guitar and enthralled the audience with his musicianship. He had great stage presence and interaction with the crowd. Playing his own songs both on guitar and banjo the crowd was intrigued by his ability to play both extremely well ad on top of this he had a great singing voice. Forget Mumford And Son’s he puts them to shame live!
Dan Walsh interview …
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour
I have listened a lot to Bridie Jackson’s music in the past although live it is much more intense. Her selection of mellow as well as uplifting songs caused a reaction from the crowd that reflects the power of her songs. Some tracks were poignant and the tent fell silent listening to her soulful voice where as other songs had the crowd dancing at the front of the stage. A great set all round in the green tent.
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour interview …
Peculiar Disco Moves
Simply from the name, Peculiar Disco Moves, you can guess these are a quirky bunch and live on stage their performance was unfortunately not full of peculiar disco moves but peculiar songs and dress sense. From “I Don’t Want The World To End On Tuesday” to “Mr X” they had the crowd dancing along to their pop esq songs that are the kind to get stuck in your head – in a good way. What made their set stand out was their striking clothes for lead singer and keyboardist Alix was wearing a white suit and tie with a red shirt. While bassist Jonathan was wearing a wooly coat and cowboy hat -by far the most stylish band of the day.
Peculiar Disco Moves interview …
Tomahawks For Targets
On stage Tomahawks For Targets seemed relaxed and they themselves said how it was a nice change to play somewhere so chilled out. They played a tight set with each song sounding as good as it did on their latest record “Invasion On A Budget”. Personally for me their standout song of the set was “Empire Empire” that reminded me to an extent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Tomahawks For Targets interview …
Overall the day of live music was great to see and I was disappoint to be unable to return on the Sunday to see the other bill or artists including So What Robot and Gingersnap and The Style Pile. Thanks to all the musicians who spoke to me as well as all the volunteers who made me feel welcome to be there. I hope everyone who went along to the festival had a great time and next year I’ll defiantly be going along again!
This day of music had ran from noon until late. I did not turn up until about eight but I was able to catch sight of a few good bands, who will be ones to watch for the coming new year…
Overall it seemed a great night for the bands, who had plenty of fans and other bands turning up to support them. Although personally I felt it was a shame more people did not turn up to support the more unknown local bands, yet the lack of music fans as apposed to a Split Festival event did not hinder the night. Every band I saw put their all into their sets and appeared to be happy just to play to any one who was watching.
Right here is an overall review of the few bands I saw in full, the festival it self took place over three stages in Sunderland university’s Student Union bar North Shore. The first stage (Main stage) was mainly full of indie/alternative bands, the second stage was predominantly more rock – bands heavily influenced by Korn and Nirvana, but thats never a bad thing- I found this to be one of the more busier stages and finally there was the third (emerging) stage.
The third stage was in fact the first one I went to just in time to see Rover, a four piece band who despite taking an age to tune up and be ready to play did have a sense of humour playing ‘Comfort and Joy’ to appease the small but eager crowd. Once they started playing it wasn’t long until you knew they were a strong band, with catchy lyrics from ‘Gotta get by’ and confidence in style which ranged from sounding like Tyneside’s Little Comets to their heavier borderline screamo ending to the set with ‘Canable’.
The next band I saw were a band I was told I should definitely check out as they were said to be great to see live. So popping off to the main stage I saw the full set of The Real Davina who looked almost too smart to be a band. Their music has been described as 70′s pop with a mix of new pop and to that I’d add that they have also have put a touch of vanilla into their recipe for success. To be honest their set was like a never-ending box of chocolates with most of the songs –as much of pop is- were about love, very reminiscent to the early Beatles records, ‘A Taste Of Honey’ & ‘I Saw You Standing There’. However if you do not like this kind of pop music, they could be perceived as being a bit on the sickly side. Yet with songs such as ‘Roses’ and ‘Mr Bell’ which speaks of wisdom older than their years, they are a band to watch out for.
Split Festival Christmas Show was brilliant last night! Bar was packed, there were bird masks given out by B>E>A>K, a lot of dancing to Hyde & Beast & lots of singing along. Especially to the The Futureheads & their
rendition of ‘the old dun cow’. To be honest i’m a bit sad it’s all over but can’t wait for the next split festival event!
I have put together a short video of the bands performing below. There were a lot of lights which are on the video just to warn you.
With live music from Spray on Jeans & Natasha Haws, carols and stunning fire work display this evening is topped of by the fact its all FREE.
This year Steve Cram MBE along with Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls Alyson Dixon and Fiona Tozer will along side the Mayor of Sunderland, flick the switch on the lights to dazzle the city centre.
Local band Spray On Jeans said:”When we were told we’d be playing at the lights this year we were over the moon…Natasha Haws is an exceptional solo artist, one of the best to come out of the north east let alone Sunderland.”
“We haven’t decided on a full set list for the actual gig yet although we do have a rough idea, but you’ll just have to get yourselves along and find out for yourself. Hopefully we’ll manage to get rid of a few of our copies, maybe frisbie them into the crowd or something, who knows!”
The whole evening will be hosted by Simon Grundy and the SunFM roadshow.
Thursday 17 Nov 11
6pm to 8pm
Following on from the success of this summer’s Split Festival, organisers have begun to programme a series of musical and culinary events, which will take place throughout the year, in different venues throughout the city of Sunderland. This is all planned to supplement their annual music festival, held every summer at Ashbrooke Sport Club and ‘give Wearside an excuse to party on a regular basis’.
The first of these events will be the Split Festival Christmas Special which will take place on December 10 at the Sunderland University venue, North Shore. The line up will feature live music from The Futureheads, Hyde & Beast and B>E>A>K and an aftershow club night with a DJ set from Frankie & The Heartstrings. There will also be drinks promos and festive themed food, from BBC Masterchef finalist Stacie Stewart. Tickets are only £12.50 in advance.
Split’s Barry Hyde, who is also front man of The Futureheads, can’t wait to play his beloved home city: “This gig is going to be a very special night; The Futureheads haven’t played a headline gig in Sunderland since September 2010! Far too long!”
In fact Barry will be performing in all three bands on December 10. He plays keyboards in Hyde & Beast, who are fronted by his younger brother Dave and the multi-instrumentalist will also be making a special guest appearance with B Split’s Richard Amundsen, who also performs in B Split’s music programmer and Futurehead, Ross Millard, had this to say: “After meeting Sunderland City Council and the University and getting them both on board, we’re looking to put on more big nights like this in Sunderland and bring in some national touring acts to North Shore in 2012. We also plan to have some good food at these events and Stacie Stewart, who currated our excellent food tent at Split 2011, will be on hand with some festive feasts. It’s exciting times here at Split and we hope to announce our next projects following this one early next year and also confirm the dates of Split Festival 2012.” Ticket details: £12.50 advance/£15 on the door. Tickets available from: Hot Rats, HMV, ALS, RPM, & See Tickets. See www.splitfestival.com, Facebook and Twitter for on line ticket purchases, further details and updates.
Split’s Richard Amundsen, who also performs in B
Split’s music programmer and Futurehead, Ross Millard, had this to say: “After meeting Sunderland City Council and the University and getting them both on board, we’re looking to put on more big nights like this in Sunderland and bring in some national touring acts to North Shore in 2012. We also plan to have some good food at these events and Stacie Stewart, who currated our excellent food tent at Split 2011, will be on hand with some festive feasts. It’s exciting times here at Split and we hope to announce our next projects following this one early next year and also confirm the dates of Split Festival 2012.”
Ticket details: £12.50 advance/£15 on the door. Tickets available from: Hot Rats, HMV, ALS, RPM, & See Tickets. See www.splitfestival.com, Facebook and Twitter for on line ticket purchases, further details and updates.
1 October, 2011
Yesterday while in Newcastle I stumbled across at Greys monument a boss Sounds Ska & reggae festival, the first of its kind in newcastle town centre. there was a suprising amount of people gathered to enjoy the sounds of reggae classics been recreated by various musicians. i found this a perfect soundtrack to the heatwave we have been experiencing recently. The effect of the music gave the usually busy centre a relaxed feel and a rare chance to witness a variety of people pausing to soak in the relaxed atmosphere and autumn sun.
This emergence of live street music around Newcastle has been becoming progressively more prominent and is turning into a catalyst for more performers yet also improvements for that area of newcastle city centre with new seating, bikes and now outside previews of films by the Tyneside cinema. I can’t help but feel excited every time i go to Newcastle to see if anything new is going on and what events or even campaigns are been preached from the steps of Greys monument steps. (more…)