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The Crack Magazine


Let’s Twisterella again…

I don’t think I’d be ruffling any feathers if I slapped a “Roaring Success!” rosette on last year’s Twisterella Festival. Featuring the very best up and coming bands around, it’s back again this year, but, rather appropriately, there’s a twist! All the acts will perform naked! (Legal note: They won’t.)

Gotta love Twisterella! The Teesside promoters (say “Hi! How’s tricks?” to Pay For The Piano and The Kids Are Solid Gold) must have some kind of magic lasso as they’ve managed to rope together a line-up of real quality. Names? I’ll come to them in a second. First up, if you missed last year’s knees-up and don’t know what I’m warbling on about, you’ll need to get a handle on what Twisterella actually is. Well, it’s a multi-headed beast, with around 40 of the most dynamic bands you’ll find anywhere, playing at five venues in Middlesbrough in one day. In short: it’s a live music lover’s dream date. (And a cheap date at that, with tickets pegged at only 15 quid.) Of course, all this would add up to Louis Walsh’s X-Factor pay cheque (ie precisely nothing) if the line-up wasn’t packing real heat, but 2015’s Twisterella is hot to trot. Names? Read on…

Fickle Friends (pictured) are among my “Must See!” bands this year. This Brighton bunch knock out the kind of sparkly indie-pop that feels like it has been rolled in hundreds and thousands, and they’ve got plenty of killer tunes to boot. Their debut EP came out in the summer (entitled Velvet, fact fans) and was daisy fresh and shimmering with grooves and hooks aplenty. Miss ‘em and miss out.

Du Blonde is the Newcastle lass (previously answering to the name Beth Jeans Houghton) who put herself through the Reinvention Mangle earlier this year and came out even better than before. Her debut album (as Du Blonde), Welcome Back To Milk, is fantastic and nailed on in my Undoubted Top Ten Releases Of The Year chart. Its mixture of low-slung rock and sweet and sour ballads is a fabulous confection, and the fact that she’s also one of the most utterly captivating live performers out there, only adds to her allure.

Fatherson are a three-piece Scottish band making plenty of waves at the moment, particularly in the pool marked “Indie Rock”. Last year’s I Am An Island album showed what they were all about which was crashing choruses coupled with much intricate guitar work and vocals set to “Soaring!”. They are a band that are truly plugged in and going places.

South London’s Misty Miller is another woman who has went through something of a startling reinvention, starting off as a 16-year-old folky type, complete with flowing blonde locks, but is now a black-bobbed force of nature, given over to up-and-at-‘em garage rock. Crucially, she still retains top-notch song-writing chops, and certainly knows how to put a tune over.

The all-female Manchester quartet Pins are indie-players with plenty of snap about them, all slacker-ish cool and gum-snapping insouciance. Their tunes have a cheap-bottle-of-cider-in-the-park rush and they’ve even recorded a song with the UK’s Greatest Living Person: Maxine Peake.

Other hotly tipped acts on the bill that are also causing lights to flash on the dashboard of the national consciousness include Beach Baby, Washington Irving, Model Aeroplanes, Plastic Mermaids and NYTCLUB.

Among the big-hitters on the local scene giving it some will be the likes of Slug (amazing!), Hyde and Beast (amazing!) and former Chapman Family frontman Kingsley Chapman & The Murder (amazing!). BBC Tees’ local music mogul Bob Fisher has selected some of his top Teesside tips to open the festival: Serinette, Dressed Like Wolves, General Sherman and George Boomsma. They’ll be joined by fellow regional acts Bi:Lingual, Joe Ramsey, Keep Breathing, Josh Newell-Brown, Lissie’s Heart Murmur and Plaza. The five venues will be Teesside University, The Keys, Westgarth Social Club, TS:one and Sticky Fingers, and festival co-director Henry Carden trilled: “We’re thrilled to have secured the continued support of our venue partners. They all share our vision for creating a vibrant day of live music right in the heart of town. It was incredible to see hundreds of people enjoying some of the brightest and best breaking bands in the centre of Middlesbrough last year and we’re already incredibly proud of the line-up we’ve put together for this year’s event – we’re sure you’ll discover your new favourite band.” Stick or Twisterella? It’s Twisterella every time for me…

Twisterella, Saturday 10 October, Middlesbrough, £15. Tickets available in person from Olde Young Tea House, Sticky Fingers and Westgarth Social Club; or box-office: 0871 220 0260; or: seetickets.com/go/twisterella2015