Our Review of Evolution Emerging - Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle (Review uploaded 27/05/2014)

By: Lee Allcock

Evolution Emerging is one of the North East’s biggest events for discovering emerging music from across the region, and the event showcased 40 up-and-coming artists, across 9 venues, with over 1000 music fans descending on the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle.

Headliners of the event included The Lake Poets, Bridie Jackson and Boy Jumps Ship who were joined by a wide scope of emerging artists from across the entire region including the likes of High Tide 15:47, Mouses, Vinyl Jacket, Kobadelta, Mat Hunsley and Avalanche Party no-less.

With so many artists playing across a wide range of venues it was impossible to see every act, and it was extremely difficult to decipher who to see first, but I decided to head over to The Cluny to catch Crooked Hands. Considering Crooked Hands were the first act playing The Cluny, the venue was packed.

The 5-piece indie/alternative rockers entered the stage wearing some rather striking surfer shirts, but staying away from their extraordinary fashion sense I listened tentatively as they played through their incredible set showcasing singles: ‘The Stream’ – a mellow indie folk track with essences of intoxicating indie pop, to ‘Fine Now’ – a track that perfectly sums up the band; full of graceful, powerful vocals, enlaced with soulful harmonies and perfectly textured by their delicately plucked guitars.

Next up I headed just round the corner to The Cluny 2 to witness International Departures, a collaborative song writing project between multi-instrumentalist Henry Carden and tunesmith Chris Charlton, and they were joined by two members of Teesside based band John & The ragmen, including frontman John Harrison and bassist Simon Shaw.

The Cluny 2 is a venue I’ve never been a massive fan of, simply because the entrance way reminds me of that of a school - an establishment where rules must be followed – not a music venue where rebellion, intoxication and eccentricity is often at its forefront.

International Departures however were incredible, unique, and completely diverse, and John and Simon seemed more than happy to be playing with the song writers (They didn’t stop smiling, joking around or having banter for the entirety of the set).

The collaborative band played through a number of tracks including my personal favourite: ‘Give me something’ and they didn’t stick to the conventions of modern day music, were bands tend to conform to one specific genre, and instead they even introduced a saxophone player to the mix which helped them to create an amazing spectacle, and a simply fascinating live show.

Next I headed over the Cumberland Arms, just a short walk away from The Cluny 2, to witness High Tide 15:47.

I had the pleasure of witnessing High Tide 15:47 at Sunday Live in Stockton-on-Tees just a few weeks back, and I also recently interviewed band member Dan Murray who noted that the grunge/shoegaze inspired band are set to release their debut EP over the coming weeks (definitely worth looking out for).

The bands set started later than planned, so I sadly didn’t have time to head over to see Avalanche Party at The Tyne Bar, but their set was well worth the wait.

Playing in a small intimate venue to a rowdy, packed crowd, the band simply delivered. Their dream-pop was intertwined with essences of raw edginess, with heavy bass lines and pounding drums. Drummer Dan and guitarist Steven Gordon even traded places near the end of the set (as they quite often do), and to me it displayed the bands exceptional technical ability.

The stand out track of the set: ‘Too Much Time Alone’ was roared back to the band, word for word, and has simply got to be on their debut EP. It was a combination of everything the band stand for – it was rash, bold and fretful yet at times mellow and pensive.

After High Tide 15:47s storming set I headed back to The Cluny to see a much more mellow act, and one of the three main headliners of the night, The Lake Poets. The Lake Poets, often a solo project created by Martin Longstaff, is very often joined by a full band, and tonight we managed to witness both essences of The Lake Poets.

Martin delicately played through a number of heart-wrenching and thought-provoking tracks such as ‘Windowsill’ – his opening song of the night. The sombre track instantly created an extremely powerful atmosphere in the jam-packed venue, and the song had an honesty rarely found today in the charts - it showcased Martin’s really knack of sticking his audience to the spot, whilst plucking vigorously at your heartstrings.

Martin was later joined to the stage by his full band, which added an extra dimension and intensity to the set, and they went on to play through a number of beautifully sentimental, honest and captivating songs including new track: ‘Honest Hearts’ from their brand new EP which takes the same name.

Martin, who obvious to say is extremely proud of his local roots, also penned track ‘Vane Tempest’ a touching track, and the perfect tribute to the North East’s industrial past with gripping and provocative lines such as: “They don’t care for you and me, we don’t live in London, do we.”

Martin, along with his band, delivered a simply captivating set, and it was the perfect way to end a fascinating evening which truly showcased what the North East music scene has to offer.

Find Crooked Hands at: https://soundcloud.com/crookedhands Find International Departures at: https://soundcloud.com/internationaldepartures

Find High Tide 15:47 at: https://soundcloud.com/high_tide_1547 Find The Lake Poets at: http://thelakepoets.com/

Find Organisers Generator at: http://www.generator.org.uk/

Photograph by Dylan McKee: https://twitter.com/djmckee

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