No need to be sad at the end of January, too much going on for that. Put your sorrows in a box, kick them to the back of your mind and get on with enjoying some music, comedy and theatre in our wonderfully vibrant area...despite the cuts. Support local music and entertainment, it needs your help and you need it.
Some great music on this week..
Wednesday 23rd January
The GoGo Midgets are at The Cluny have a listen...they sound like they'll be great live, good solid rock tunes with decent lyrics. Liking this a lot.
|The Go Go Midgets: matchboxes in picture actual size|
Thursday 24th January
Mad Hatter Thursday at The Bridge Hotel. The really excellent Hattie Murdoch (made for a much bigger audience) have a listen to her music on Amazing Tunes (the source of music for Amazing Radio..all new original music) right here. Support from Nick Gladdish, Simon Chester and some special guests.
Tanita Tikarem at The Sage Gateshead. Showcasing her new album: "Can't Go Back". Have a listen to her latest single "Dust on My Shoes". Tanita came to fame back in 1988 with "Good Tradition" from her debut album "Twist in my Sobriety". She stood out then, remains to be seen if she still does. Go and see her. Find out. She certainly looks good!
Saturday 26th January
J D McPherson at Gateshead Old Town Hall. J D McPherson specialises in old school rock and roll. The Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Elvis kind. I first heard him on Amazing Radio and was struck by the contrast to what is playing on mainstream radio most of the day. Brighten your week and go and see him. He is being supported by Sean Rowe with haunting melodies pulled together by an amazing voice.
|J D Mcpherson: Rock and Roll is hard work|
However, This Ground Moves are playing at The Cluny with support from Ian Courtney, Roger Emerson and Revelator. So you may have a bit of a dilemma. I love a bit of This Ground Moves, me! Have a listen to their latest single "Shoulders of Fortune".
Sunday 27th January
Russ Tippins, The Bandits and the Mojo Hand Band in a 21st Birthday Bash at The Cluny get yourself a night of blues rock and excellent real ale at what is becoming one of my favourite live music venues in Newcastle.
At the Queen Victoria in Gosforth (I barmaided there back in the day!) is an Open Mic Night hosted by Driven Serious...Have a listen ...lovely folky rock with an edge...think I need to see them soon! Oh, and free beer if you "do a turn"!
Monday 28th January
The Vieux Carre Jazzmen are at the Cornerhouse bringing the jive alive.
Tuesday 29th January
Rita Ora is on her Radioactive Tour at the O2 Academy. The adorable 22 year old is bringing her poppy Kosovan style to the Toon. Ok, I had to check out her tunes before writing this....clearly she is loved by hoards of fans. Her video for "Shine Ya Light" had over 5 million views when I wrote this. I've forgotten the song already! Sometimes music just doesn't float my boat, this is one of them.
|Rita Ora: a very shiny star|
Wednesday 30th January
Little Mix at the O2 Academy signed to Syco, on their debut tour. Will they be remembered in 20 years? Who cares, enjoy them now.
|Little Mix: just eye candy or so much more?|
The Militanz are at the Cluny if you want some original and new poetical political hip hop rap fusion.
|The Militantz: wanna buy a gas mask?|
Thursday 31st January
Paloma Faith is at the O2 Academy with support from Josephine. Now, I do like miss Faith. She's got that quirkiness and originality that so often gets rinsed out of pop stars, and she can sing in an individual and soulful style and write a canny tune. Have a listen to Josephine in her video "What a Day". I'm afraid there's a health message before the music video, but very important stuff!
There are some major comedy acts coming a little later in the year, but in January and February comedy is a little thin on the ground.
Saying that, the Grinning Idiot Comedy Club is back in action in February, with Mick Ferry, Phil Nicol, Dougie Dunlop Sean Percival all making appearances. Check out the Grinning Idiot website for details and follow them on Facebook. The Grinning Idiot has hosted comics as big as Sarah Millican and Michael McKintyre. Comedians, even when they can fill an arena often need to try out material in a smaller, more intimate venue. And that, in my opinion is the best place to see them. I saw Reg D Hunter at the Grinning Idiot, in a small catholic club. He was in the bar queue...he has massive hands (swoon).
The Stand on High Bridge has something on every night, it seems, so you have an endless supply of comedy despite the January relative lack of entertainment. My own personal recommendation is the Wednesday night Red Raw show where new and old comedians try out new material...you never know what, or who you will get for your tiny 2 quid ticket. Check the listings.
The Hyena is very a different comedy experience to the Grinning Idiot and the Stand. It caters for parties of people, with packages including food available. Corporate venue hire is also possible. Have a look at what's on.
Tuesday 22nd until Saturday 26th January
Comedy: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is at the Theatre Royal starring Jess Robinson as "Little Voice" a shy young woman who spends her time in her room with her Dad's record collection perfecting her impersonations of her favourite stars. She is overheard by a talent scout who wants to mould her into a massive star and a cash cow for himself. But is this the life for her? Beverley Callard (Coronation Street, 2 Pints of Lager and a Bag of Crisps) stars as Little Voice's mum. Contains realistic adult language!
Arsenic and Old Lace is at the Peoples Theatre, with everyone a volunteer, community theatre at its best. 'Look, I probably should have told you this before but you see, insanity doesn't just run in my family - it practically gallops.' A farcical story about crazy old spinsters and their sane nephew. Their desire to "save" their lodgers from the "sorrows of this world" leads to interest from the police and complications in the young man's romantic life.
Wednesday 23rd January
Bright Club at the Black Swan on Westgate Road, is describe as the "thinking persons variety night" with comedy, music, performance, academics, scientists...real variety!
A Great Day Out
Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is well worth a visit whether its just to have a relaxing walk while looking at and interacting with the various attractive and often comical wetland birds, or to help with your children's understanding of wildlife. I've been taking my son there since he was in a pushchair, he's 9 now and still loves feeding the birds (with the correct food) and seeing them as the different migrant birds come in and out of the centre at different times of year. The plumage right now is gorgeous as the birds are getting ready to attract a mate in the spring. There is an insect garden (insects all asleep right now!) and a "Close Encounters" area with the birds that don't mind you hand feeding them. There are walks around the site. Its a good way to get the stresses out of your mind and feel really in touch with nature. There is a play area with a chance for kids to got messy with water. As they should! We (my son, my husband and me) were there this weekend. I got some really nice pictures...
|Close Encounters of the Bird Kind!|
|Handfeeding Nenes (Hawaiian ducks)..very gentle!|
|Asian short-clawed otter at feeding time.|
That's all for now. I shall now crack on with turning some of this information into a radio show. I've had word from NE1FM that they are happy to make me a regular presenter. We just need to finalise the time slot. So do listen to your local radio station....possibly the only really local one. You can volunteer as a presenter or to help in any of the essential work involved in running a community radio station. Excellent experience and training in a friendly team.