Stockton on Tees is getting some bad press at the moment due to the fact that poverty porn TV show masquerading as serious fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘Benefits Street’ has landed on Kingston Road. Of course it isn’t a true representation of this North East market town which has become far better known locally for it’s vibrant music scene spearheaded in the main by the not-for-profit organisation Tees Music Alliance (TMA) who operate several of the town’s venues and who promote and/or facilitate great events such as Stockton Calling.
TMA are the people behind Sonic Union too. The event happens across three venues and begins at 6pm, running late into the night. It’s a mini psychedelic/shoegaze festival with each of the venues hosting four bands, the price of entry allowing you to move between venues and take in as much of the action as you can.
Headlining the event at The Georgian Theatre are Toy (main picture). If you like your indie tinged with krautrock and drenched in reverb then you’ll love this London (via Brighton) quintet. It’s been a while since they toured the UK so this appearance is something of a coup for organisers.
Join The Dots by Toy
The same venue hosts Italian band The Vickers and Middlesbrough’s Corey Bowen & The Midnight Dolphins with the 4-band bill completed by Hartlepool based psychedelic folk rockers Silver Trees, a band we’ve long admired.
Elsewhere there’s some great North East bands to catch including Newcastle’s hotly tipped Kobadelta and Teessiders Cellar Door with Stockton’s very own Weird Shapes headlining the Green Room.
Weird Shapes are a hugely underrated psychedelic prog rock outfit who always put on a great show. They’re currently putting the finishing touches to some new tracks so expect to hear them aired on the 30th.
Clouds by Weird Shapes
With tickets costing £10 advance / £12.50 on the door Sonic Union represents great value for money, especially if you’re a fan of psychedelic rock.
TMA and the promoters and music venue owners of Stockton continue to do a great job of bringing top musical talent to this unfairly maligned North East town. They deserve our support and perhaps this is a different side of Stockton that the TV producers ought to be turning their attention to.
Previewer and Photographer: Russell Poad