45+ Evolutions per minute
Is Ouseburn the “Shoreditch of the North” asked the Guardian recently, to which the answer is surely a resounding “No!” Ouseburn has better pubs, better eateries, better craft brewers - and significantly better haircuts - and what it lacks in hipster cafes selling bowls of Froot Loops cornflakes for five quid a pop, it more than makes up for with (free) honking ducks. Ouseburn also scores over Shoreditch by having Evolution Emerging which is celebrating its 10thanniversary this year. And, as you’d expect, all manner of boats are being pushed out with over 50 of the region’s most exciting bands and artists gathering together to play 10 different venues scattered right across the valley.
Among the headliners worth getting excited about this year are The Pale White (pictured) who we shoved on the front cover back in January. This Newcastle three-piece knock out the kind of indie-rock that you can imagine swaggering into your living room and sitting in your favourite chair without even asking. You wouldn’t mind though because you’d be too busy swooning over the twangy, glammy riffs and soaring sense of purpose. Also on board on headlining duties is Cape Cub (a man don’t you know), one of the region’s finest singer/songwriters who pens songs that arrow straight towards your heart. Another headliner comes in the delectable shape of one of my very favourite local outfits Martha, from Pity Me in County Durham. They play the kind of blistering indie-power-pop that has a playful punky edge and is thrumming with their sundry passionate concerns (including a dollop of politics).
The Pale White will be hunkering down at The Cluny and be joined by Newcastle’s singer-songwriting sensation Courtney Dixon and fellow Tynesiders PRIZE and Sauvage.
Also lining up at The Cluny look out for Hartlepool’s Michael Gallagher, Sunderland electronic pop outfit Vanderbilt (nu-disco vibes ahoy!), Middlesbrough’s Leedie MC, and indie popsters The Yada Yada Yada’s.
Cluny 2, meanwhile, is where you’ll find Cape Cub who will be joined by other Teesside based acts including NME faves Llovers (who have sent antennas twanging across the UK with their glorious Just Lustsingle, which takes dream-pop into skyscraping territory) and expansive indie band Para Alta. Cluny 2 is also the place to be if you want to catch The Old Pink House who have emerged as one of our favourite local bands of recent years. Eschewing any notions of “will this do?” their glittery indie-pop is all kinds of special with their delicious melodies given room to really take flight. Also appearing at Cluny 2 will be R’n’B tinged POLO and Holly Rees, an incredible acoustic artist with a heart-stopping amount of talent.
The Tyne Bar is always one of the most popular ports of call for Evolution Emerging and this year their stage will be graced by Middlesbrough’s outrageously talented Mouses, a garage-punk duo who’ll slap you up good and proper (in the nicest possible way). Also doing the biz here will be Sunderland’s Social Room, neo-psych rockers Behold a Pale Horse and the Newcastle based Irish act Good Friend.
The Cumberland Arms, meanwhile, will throb to the sounds of Tom Joshua, Casual Threats and the French pop-punk duo Noise & The Naïve.
There are far too many bands playing to highlight here but there are a few I’d particularly like to pick out which give an indication of the sheer range of genres being plundered. There is Archipelago, for instance, who we flagged up on our Local Scene page last year. They’re an avant-jazz band who draw on everything from garage rock to minimalism to free improvisation and have now caught ears nationwide. Reali-T is an MC that was born in Hackney but is now based in Sunderland and has been at the forefront of many of the good things happening to hip-hop in the north-east, with a style that harks back to the golden age of rap. Shy-Talk are a band who arrived seemingly full formed earlier this year. We couldn’t resist their mustard coloured clothing nor their exciting clatter of a sound which straddles John Lydon’s two bands: Public Image Limited (70%) and The Sex Pistols (30%). They’re Ones To Watch x 100.The Evolution is coming; I can feel it in the air.
Evolution Emerging, Saturday 9 June. More info and ticket information: generator.org.uk/events/evolution-emerging-2018