Middlesbrough Music Live 2010

One miserable and wet Sunday morning I got up, called a cab and went and stood in the rain to watch a band. Brilliant. As the band turned out to be Young Rebel Set then this wasn’t quite the sad tale it sounds like. And this was Middlesbrough Music Live 2010. So despite the crap weather it was one of the days of the year. Well done to all who organise this event. Surely one of the best in the country. Which other town is putting on the array of talent that was seen in Boro on June the 6th this year? For Free?? Nobody, thats who!!

My day began with Stocktons finest. http://youngrebelset.co.uk/

Surely they are destined for bigger things. I look forward to seeing them next month at The Deer Shed Festival in Thirsk. (More on that soon). http://www.deershedfestival.com/ Despite the rain they drew a very healthy crowd. Many singing along to their tunes. I have seen them a few times both as YRS and Billy The Kid (as they used to be known) and in their various solo guises (Billy the Kid (solo), Leno etc) And each and every time I have been amazed at how good they are. Songs such as “If I was” and “Walk on” are destined for a bigger stage. The chances of them headlining MML in a few years. I think 9 to 2 is a safe bet!

The rain kept coming down so I reckoned one of the many indoor venues was the next safest bet. So I ventured into The Town Hall and came across a bunch of young upstarts called The Crookes. Once I got passed the inevitable Vampire Weekend comparisons. (They even dress like them!!!) I found them to be quite pleasant in a quirky, Vampire Weekend sort of way. http://www.myspace.com/thecrookesmusic After a while I started to enjoy their brand of off kilter pop. As well as the aforementioned Vampires they also conjured up images of Noah and the Whale (who were my favourite at last years MML) and The Housemartins. Maybe it was the rain or other things on my mind but I knew I had to be somewhere else soon.

The Central, upstairs to be exact, at The Cosmos Stage. This is where I knew I had to be. I caught the end of Leno and waited in anticipation of who was next. Many seemed to have the same idea because by the time they came on stage the place was rammed. Who, I hear you cry. Why, Cattle & Cane of course. As I have reviewed them already this week at The Dormans and will see them countless times this summer I will spare you my youthful gushings about how great they are. Just one thing. That bandwagon careering down Linthorpe road, yes, you’ve heard it in the distance? Well get on it before it crashes right past you and your only claim to fame in Boro musical history is having seen Journey South having a pint in the Rudds!!!!  http://www.myspace.com/cattleandcanemusic

Because of the rain or maybe because they’re from Hartlepool I ventured into The Hairy Lemon (surely the best name for a pub ever?) to see The White Negroes http://www.myspace.com/whitenegroesband I didn’t really know what to expect but they had a hefty local crowd to see their brand of covers/originals that kind of all mixed into one. The lead singer was a mix of Shaun Ryder, Bez, Liam Gallagher and your drunk uncle at an indie disco! I enjoyed them for a while but soon decided that Frankie & The Heartstrings http://frankieandtheheartstrings.com/ were due on and I didn’t want to be late. So back to the Town Hall for Sunderlands own wayward sons. If you have been keeping up with The Northern Line you will know that Frankie & The Heartstrings have a special place in our hearts. Yet this is the first time I have seen them live. Like a young Smiths, the bass player was even wearing a Meat Is Murder t-shirt, they bound energetically onto the stage. Only 25 years separate them from Morrissey and Marr treading the same boards. They do have a bit of The Smiths in them but the singer reminds me of Paul Quinn and Bourgie Bourgie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqLDLWPJm_M Watch that and see if you agree. Best song is Breakdown which is fabulous. Looking forward to seeing them at the Split festival in Sunderland in September. http://www.splitfestival.com/

Then I break the habit of a life time. Instead of going to see an up and coming young band doing their own songs I am drawn to The Empire to see a bunch of old men doing a full set of covers. Why? You may well ask. Well the old men are The Wildcats of Kilkenny and the covers they are doing are the whole of Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. If these words mean nothing to you then look away now. If they, like me, represent one of your favourite ever albums then you’ll know why I went to see them instead of somebody else. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash is the classic 1985 album by The Pogues. Now I saw The Pogues perform this album at their Christmas show in Newcastle in 1985 but I was still intrigued to see what The Wildcats of Kilkenny would do to it. And, they did a bloody good job. I really enjoyed their set. They even had a special guest performance from Jessica Robinson. (She of “Over the Rainbow” fame). She came on to do a stunning version of I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day. Taking the vocal part of Cait O’Riordan she did herself proud. She could have taken to the main stage and sang Over the Rainbow to a bunch of teenagers but instead she turned up in a sweaty club to sing a raucous old song with a bunch of raggle taggle Irish men (or pretend Irish men). She came back to do the Kirsty MacColl vocals on Fairytale of New York. Technically this shouldn’t have been allowed as it wasn’t on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash but who cares? Great venue, great songs and great afternoons entertainment. http://www.myspace.com/wildcatsofkilkenny06

Due to the poor weather and the pull of the bar I stayed in The Empire. Watched a bit of John Power, he of The Las and Cast fame. Began well with a Cast song but soon I was thinking of other better things. So it was off  to the town Hall to see Freebass. A Manchester super group containg 3 bass players!!! Pete Hook, Mani and Andy Rourke. The first problem was that Andy Rourke didn’t actually turn up. The second problem was that they weren’t really very good. They sounded ok to begin with but there wasn’t anything there to distinguish them from any other middle of the bill indie band. The lead singer looked like the brother from Gavin & Stacey. I actually thought it was the brother from Gavin & Stacey but I had had a few by then. Mani should stick to Primal Scream and Pete Hook should make up with Barney and get New Order back on the road. Andy Rourke probably did well to miss it. http://www.myspace.com/freebassuk

Then back to The Empire to catch the end of Turin Brakes. http://www.turinbrakes.com/index.php I really wish I had stayed for the whole of their set. I caught the last few numbers including a stunning vesion of Underdog. But as with all festivals you can only see so much. You miss a lot more than you actually witness. Overall, though, a great day out. I really enjoyed the bands and the crowds. The weather could have been better but I don’t think anyone has much control over that. For all those who moaned about the bands before hand; don’t. Middlesbrough Music Live is a great event for the town. And as its completely free I really don’t see how anyone can complain. I look forward to next year.

A big thank-you to Oliver Perry who took all the photos of the days events for The Northern Line. More photos can be found at The Northern Lines Facebook page.


By peter on June 22, 2010

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1 Comment » RSS Comment Feed

  1. Hi Peter

    Thanks for the great review. Glad you enjoyed the band’s show. Please send us an email address so we can keep you informed of our live shows
    ‘Your drunk uncle’

    Comment by The White Negroes — July 27, 2010 @ 11:40 am

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