Believe me, this wasn’t an easy decision as there are so many awe-inspiring artists coming out of the North East at the moment that my list could have easily contained 50+ names. But after some thought, here are the top 10 North East artists that I personally think you should see live in 2019.
This Newcastle/Sunderland-based indie/dark-pop outfit, fronted by the charismatic Rick Lanning, certainly have what it takes to create the ultimate post-punk/indie-pop anthem. They played the likes of Evo Emerging 2018 and the main stage at Lindisfarne Festival and I’m certain that they’ll be playing some even more established venues and festivals in 2019.
Once described as ‘The 1975 meets New Order’, Newcastle’s Deep.Sleep is one of the most promising new talents making their way in Newcastle’s thriving local music scene. Their angst-filled yet upbeat melodies make Deep.Sleep the perfect festival band, which is why they played the likes of Newcastle’s own Hit The North, Hook & Gun Festival in Wakefield and Kendal Calling in 2018.
Have you heard Llovers’ recent track, ‘Go Get Her, Go Getter’ yet? If not, head to Spotify now and check it out as it may even be my ‘Track of the Year’. It’s a swooning, shimmering dream pop gem with catchy guitar riffs and stunning harmonies.
- Martha Hill
As Martha told NE Volume writer Tracy Daniel earlier this year: “There’s an influx of female musicians being treated seriously and given the same opportunities, which is fantastic.” Martha deserves credit for her tenacity, her songwriting genius, and her sensational, soulful vocals.
Another favourite band of mine are Newcastle electro-pop outfit, Shamu. Not afraid to go down the political route (listen to ‘Up in Arms’ featuring Sagaboi), Shamu is an excellent example of a young rising band in the North East that have the ambition, the drive, and the technical know-how to go a long way.
- White Legs
Made up of members from This Aint Vegas, B>E>A>K and The Lake Poets, this post-rock/post-punk supergroup have only been together a few months but are already showing signs of maturity. For fans of Gang of Four, Wire and early Police.
- Charlotte Grayson
18-year-old Hartlepool singer-songwriter Charlotte Grayson plays self-penned songs about love, loss, teenage angst and social commentary that are hard hitting, direct, and life-affirming. Charlotte has been championed by the likes of BBC Tees and ourselves and has plans to release her debut album in 2019.
- Anthony Vacher
Ukulele-wielding Anthony Vacher recently released single ‘This Could Be’ in support of ManHealth, a not-for-profit peer support group run by men with personal experience of depression. The single aims to end the social stigma attached to mental health issues – an issue close to my heart.
- Heel Turn
Middlesbrough post-grunge/hardcore outfit Heel Turn take inspiration from their life experience and surroundings in Teesside to create songs that really do hit home. The band is also advocates for the North East music scene and run their own label, Sad For Life Records.
- Cortney Dixon
South Shields’ Cortney Dixon is becoming one of the most talked about artists on the live circuit in not just the North East but the UK as a whole. With a gift for intelligent lyrics and a distinctive voice, the rising alternative pop star draws inspiration from the likes of Haim, Amy Winehouse and St Vincent.