Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Music, Dance, Drama, Comedy, More Music!

Bye Bye Science, old friend 
It's all change for me right now. I've taken redundancy from my science-based government job. I'm now about to embark on what could be the gateway to a new, exciting career "facilitating" the future of new music, or a lot of regret about dropping the increasingly insecure civil service job and the pension, which although its being attacked, isn't a bad supplement to what was a pretty poor salary for a scientist. But, we should never regret what is done, and regret is often over what we haven't done, and perhaps should have. Enough of all that, music...its the future!

A Busy Week 
This week I embarked on a series of rehearsals for "Until We Are Lost" at Dance City. I've done a bit of singing, and this production by Okham's Razor dance company calls for a 20 strong choir drawn from the local community, and follows on from the company's sell out success with "The Mill". As I am currently free I felt this would be an excellent opportunity to do a bit of public singing. The production looks like it will be spectacular and the music, by Graham Fitkin (twice winner at the British Composer Awards) is very emotive and beautiful, and challenging for an inexperienced "soprano" like myself. Okham's Razor will be performing acrobatic movements amongst aerial scultures. The audience will be immersed in this, along with the choir! The show runs from Thursday 11th October to Sunday 14th October. Tickets are available from Dance City's website http://www.dancecity.co.uk/events/performances/301/not-until-we-are-lost-ockhams-razor

Theatre this week was a visit to People's Theatre in Jesmond to see their production of Terry Pratchett's "Carpe Jugulum". As a family we are big Pratchett fans and were interested to see how this story of Discworld vampires could be brought to the stage. This was a very ambitious play for an amateur group (many of the cast were from the youth theatre) and there are some faces in the cast who will no doubt be moving on to bigger things in the numerous professional theatres in the region, We enjoyed the night although as I say, this was a big ask for the younger members of the cast, they played it well. Pratchett's stories are hard to adapt for stage because of their complexity and the focus on the minds of the characters. The story deals with the inevitable evolution of vampires. They can't be scared of garlic and crosses forever!  The stage set and the costumes clearly took some serious work to produce, I loved the massive floor painting of the Discworld. There were some nicely timed pyrotechnics to lift us out of out seats as well! We will be returning to People's Theatre as it is a great place for local actors, writers and stage workers to hone their craft. It also presents great value for money for the audience. All the seats seem to give a great view of the stage and the staff are lovely friendly people, all volunteers. If you want to get involved get in touch with People's Theatre at http://www.ptag.org.uk/ . They need all sorts of people to sell ice cream, act, lighting...well anything that happens in a theatre, you can get involved.

As for music, it was time on Sunday to go along to th O2 Academy in Newcastle and see Nik Kershaw W.A.S.P. Now I'm as big a fan of Mr Kershaw as of heavy metal monsters W.A.S.P. The music of both played key roles in my youth. But, the hubby and I decided that as we had seen Nik 3 years ago at the Cluny, it was time for a W.A.S.P. gig. And it was an excellent show. The support band, Crimes of Passion  http://www.myspace.com/crimesofpassionrock were incredibly tight and the vocalist has an amazing set of pipes to complement the classic heavy rock. A very heavy sound that I'm sure warranted all those extra strings on the bass and guitar! W.A.S.P came one and did what a lots of "older" bands seem to be doing..play the first few albums only. The tour celebrates 30 years in the business of rock and roll. http://www.myspace.com/wasp/music All my favourite tunes were played perfectly by a great band that Blackie Lawless has enlisted to take the back catalogue on the road. A back of a beermat calculation gave us an approximate age of 56 for Mr Steven Duren, as baby Blackie was named. Age did not inhibit his performance and he worked the audience as well as ever. We found the format of the gig a little confusing. Gaps between the album sets with video took the place of encores, and the final part of the gig was taken from the "Crimson Idol" album. This was a concept album, very meaningful but not packed with the crowd pleasers of the early records. "Blind in Texas" was the final song, getting us back into the party mood, then thank you's and the gig stopped. The crowd hung around hoping for a further "proper" encore, it didn't happen. We were left wanting more, I suppose better than wanting to leave halfway though. I love W.A.S.P. Blackie is a very talented guy and attracts some great musicians, but I can't help thinking the format of the gig will evolve as the tour goes on. My voice took a real beating though...hope its back for the next Okham's Razor rehearsal!

As promised I need to give you some future events coming up in the Northeast. So here are some dates for your diary. Get in touch if you want your event adding!

 Music: Stan  will be bringing their unique take on guitar pop that tugs at the heart strings at the Riverside, South Shields, on Friday 28th September
              Shame Club a mix of Indie, Rock, Pop from the DJ and live bands at the Dog and Parrot on Saturday 29th September
               Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen)/Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds) at O2 Academy, Westgate Road Fiday 28th September www.ssdconcert.co.uk
               Nina Nesbitt and Josh Kumra Wednesday 10th October at O2 Academy www.ssdconcert.co.uk
               Collectors Club, Tissue Culture, Cohesion st the Head of Steam, Newcastle Friday 5th October https://www.facebook.com/theoutsider4music/events

Theatre: Never So Good  by Howard Brenton at the People's Theatre, Jesmond from 9th - 13th October
               Chalet Lines until 6th October at Live Theatre Broad Chare http://www.live.org.uk/ see my review for the Northeast Hub http://thenortheasthub.com/blog/theatre-review-chalet-lines-at-live
                The Sacred Flame by W Somerset Maugham murder mystery on from 25th to 29th September at Northern Stage http://www.northernstage.co.uk/

Comedy: Gavin Webster's Northern Assembly Gavin's unique take on modern culture plus guests, games, sketches...you never know what's going to happen. The Stand, High Bridge, every Sunday night. http://www.thestand.co.uk/listings.aspx
               Charity Night at the Cluny https://www.facebook.com/AlMacPresents Al McWilliam (compere) Big Lou Jones, Steve Rimmer, Si Gutherless, Alan Fletcher, Cal Halbert  Wednesday 3rd October
                Danny Pensive at the Stand, High Bridge Newcastle Wednesday 3rd October

This blog is likely to change format in order to get the"What's Ons" and the "Been Ons" in there rightful places. In the meantime, bear with me...no seriously there is a big massive bear with me.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jo, where to go?

So what's all this then? What am I up to? Well, I've been blogging on behalf of a certain PR company for a while and feel, well, I may as well do some independent blogging, then I can focus it in my chosen direction. This ain't my job, I do it for the love of Northeast Culture after all. What I want to do is provide a source of new music, comedy and theatre reviews, as well as letting you know what's going on. Going on? Where? Well, Northeast England is where I get up to most of my gigging, theatre, comedy. So most of it will be there. I do sometimes escape abroad for festivals, so I'll be telling you all about that. You still there? Coming up soon will be a review of the keenly anticipated (in our Pratchettphilic house anyway)" Carpe Jugulum" at the People's Theatre in Jesmond. I promise to make these blogs full of info and bonny pictures. This, I've just done on my phone. Cripplingly jumpy and hard to get around. I'll not be doing that again. Til we meet again...

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