wed 08/12/2021

Newcastle

The Unthanks, Songs from the Shipyards, Purcell Room

When The Unthanks staggered into the spotlight with their haunting and beguiling Mercury Award-nominated 2007 album The Bairns, with bracing songs about infant mortality and child abuse, they became a folk band adored by people who don’t even like...

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Northern Sinfonia, Zehetmair, The Sage Gateshead

Sting, Debbie Harry, the Pet Shop Boys, Brahms, Mozart, Schumann. This is the kind of thing an average year throws up for the Gateshead-based Northern Sinfonia. Their visits to London are mostly to provide a backing track for the top pop acts. Which...

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CD: Cheryl - A Million Lights

Apparently Cheryl Cole is now “the nation’s sweetheart”. These days that doesn’t mean broadcasting sung radio support to a besieged island while the Nazis plot our demise 21 miles across the English Channel. No, instead, all it requires is smiling...

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Vera, Series Two, ITV1

It becomes increasingly difficult for a detective to create any sort of elbow room on the small flat screen in the corner. Up in Denmark they’ve been taking the extreme route, where the dour, bejumpered Sara Lund of The Killing looks like a Butlins...

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Hit the Road Jack, Channel 4

It can't be often that producers are faced with the agreeable problem of trying to shoehorn in several talents when devising a debut solo vehicle for a stand-up making the transition to television entertainer, but Hit the Road Jack's makers had that...

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The Sarah Millican Television Programme, BBC Two

There comes a point in every successful stand-up's career when television executives start calling. First it's appearances on panel and quiz shows, then a solo programme that showcases their live talents - but what then? Not everyone is a Graham...

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AV Festival, Newcastle/ Heiner Goebbels's Surrogate Cities, RFH/ London Contemporary Orchestra, Brunt, The Roundhouse

It's often more fun on the margins. The pickings are richer. The view is clearer. You can take aim easier. The AV Festival has spent more than eight years here, on the counter-cultural edges, delving into the divisional cracks between art, music and...

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CD: Field Music – Plumb

With 15 songs in just 35 minutes, Field Music’s fourth album doesn’t neatly conform to the prog rock brush they’re usually stroked with. Releasing Plumb exactly two years after its double-album predecessor (Measure) illustrates how methodically...

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Lanterns on the Lake, Cargo

Shock, horror. London audience keeps quiet. And in Shoreditch too, under a railway viaduct. Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake did something virtually no band achieves – directing the focus onto them. London audiences will babble through anything and...

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Regional Opera, 2012 Season

Popular operatic love stories by Puccini, Wagner and Mozart dominate the regional scene in 2012, but key talents like producer Tim Albery in Leeds, Lothar Koenigs in Cardiff and David McVicar in Glasgow all promise significant stage experiences....

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Turner Prize 2011, Baltic, Gateshead

The Turner Prize has headed to the North East. It’ll be back in London next year, thence to Derry for 2013. Tate Britain plan to host the prize biennially, with a regional public gallery presenting it in the years in-between. This must be hailed as...

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John Martin: Apocalypse, Tate Britain

John Martin is heaven. Well, as many of his contemporaries would have pointed out, John Martin is also hell, or The Last Judgement, or, as the Tate’s show title would have it, the Apocalypse at the very least. For John Martin was, after Turner, the...

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