Despite my mother being a native of Jarrow, and despite spending every childhood Saturday bouncing around my Nana’s on Primrose Terrace eating saveloys and pease pudding and pretending to drink tea that had been made with Puro milk (seriously, what the hell was that stuff?), I’d never once been to Bede’s World.
Given that I’m an annoyingly vocal advocate of all things North-Eastern, this revelation was met with a mixture of disbelief and ridicule from my extended family. The words “Bollocks”, “You liar”, and “Seriously?! Never??” may have been tossed about.
Because I am now the proud owner of an iPad, I spent an inordinate amount of time faffing about online, looking for gigs that peak my interest. The second annual Rivet Catcher festival at yes, Bede’s World, was promising beer! And bands! And sausages! A bit like the Boilershop Steamer, only with markedly fewer New Look kimonos, beards, and four-quid crêpes. I was sold.
Unfortunately, I was without transport for most of Saturday, so after a mad dash through the tunnel, I arrived in time to see People Making Noises tuning up. In a thrilling turn of events, I was also mistaken for someone IN a band, something that hasn’t happened since I popped into The Alberta club to use their toilets in 2010 and was mistakenly announced as “the turn”. Jarra truly is the place where dreams are born.
I only had time to catch two bands on Saturday, and the first of the two, Jarrow-based rock group People Making Noises (their Twitter handle is, somewhat confusingly, @WeKillBoxes) were polished but by no means predictable. They’d put as much time and effort into their visuals as their acoustics, projecting graphic images and ironic cartoons onto the screen behind them. A Mogwai-esque vibe permeated their set, but People Making Noises have an other-worldliness about their material that allows them to rise above mere comparison. At times, their melodies evoked the image of being pulled down a whirlpool to the depths of the ocean, at other times, it was a struggle not to jump up and thrash about. Although that didn’t stop the little girl in the AC/DC t-shirt, who danced about at the very front of the stage for the entire set! The band were not only polished and impressive, they were also having a bloody good time. They made it all look deceptively easy, which just made the set even more enjoyable.
At times, it felt a little disconcerting to be sitting down listening to these bands in what I’m assuming is normally a function room. If People Making Noises had been given a later time slot, I’ve no doubt we’d have all been on our feet, BBQ sausages and beers in hand, bopping the night away. However, sometimes just sitting and listening to what a band has to offer is a good thing. I’ll definitely be revisiting their material on Bandcamp.
The second band I saw were Newcastle-based Indie group, Twist Helix. If you want to search online for them, be sure to Google “Twist Helix Band Newcastle”, otherwise you’ll just end up with a load of hits about DNA. Laudable, but you can’t really sing along to it!
Despite the bass player going all ‘Rock Star’ and repeatedly demanding “More bass, damn it!”*, Twist Helix proved a hit with the crowd on this, their debut gig as a four-piece – no dancing toddlers, but almost every head in the room was nodding along to the beat. Clean vocals, catchy guitar, rhythmic bass and absolutely barnstorming drums made for an irresistible combination which left me humming their third track, ‘Burnt’, for two days after the event.
As with People Kill Boxes, Twist Helix’s combination of co-ordination and talent enhanced their performance. They’re a relatively new formation, vocalist Bea Garcia and drummer James Walker having previously been part of The Ghost Tours’ line up, but they all seem perfectly in-sync with each other, even being so comfortable as to perform a cover of ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries. Anyone brave enough to merely take on a Dolores O’Riordan track deserves a pat on the back at least; Twist Helix invested it with an appealing innocence and freshness. The band confided afterwards that they were nervous about the gig – they really needn’t have been. The random woman who gave a drive-by review as she exited the car park – “You guys were AMAZING!!” – seemed to agree.
*may not be actual quote
Reviewer: Frances Holland