End Of Year Review 2015

Well its that time of year again and like last year I really need to apologise for our lack of activity in 2015. Less reviews, less recommendations, less of everything, sorry. We are a busy bunch working full time and having new babies even though we had everything prepared from the baby-zoom
site, still we really should all know a whole lot better. So, the Northern Line has been quiet but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been to any gigs or festivals or bought or listened to stuff!!! Of course we have and what follows is a small selection of our favourites. I do promise to do more next year but I’ll probably break that……..


2010: MITCHELL MUSEUM “The Peter’s Port Memorial Service”
2011: THE MINOTAURS ” Eat Yr Hate”
2012: THE WELLGREENS “Wellgreens”
2013: LANTERNS ON THE LAKE “Until the Colours Run”
2014: TWILIGHT SAD “Nobody wants to be here and Nobody wants to leave”.

Another year of great releases; The Maccabees keep going from strength to strength and their fourth album “Marks to prove it” was as good as any of the previous three. Sleaford Mods with their uncompromising style unleashed another great long player with “Key Markets”. Lanterns on the Lake returned with “Beings” and proved they have a talent that will last for a long time. Ezra Furman with “Perpetual Motion People” and Sufjan Stevens with “Carrie and Lowell” show that our American cousins can produce both uplifting and melancholic music in equal amounts.
Du Blond have burst out of the remains of Beth Jean Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny to produce one of the albums of the year in “Welcome Back to Milk”. The Pop Pigs have returned with the superb; “Rain on Water, Rain on Stone”. Admiral Fallow keep churning them out; “Tiny Rewards” being their third great long player.
Our old friends The Lake Poets finally released their debut. Recorded in Nashville with the help of Dave Stewart it is an amazing album and would have been our album of the year in any other year. But 2015 has finally seen the release of Cattle & Cane’s debut. If you’ve been following the Northern Line then you know we have been eagerly anticipating this release since 2010. Did it deliver? Was it worth the wait? Most definitely. “Home” was finally released and as was as good as we’d hoped. Album of the year? Did we expect anything else???


2010: “Wreckin’ Bar”: THE VACCINES
2011: “Sold my Soul”: CATTLE & CANE
2012: “I Just Can’t Stop Thinking of You”: DEERHART
2013: “The Morse code for love is beep beep, beep beep. The binary code is one one” SWEET BABOO
2014: “Red Road”: THE CAROLS

Our great friends Washington Irving have unleashed a great track which is a precursor to their second album which we are very much looking forward to in 2016. “We’re all going to die” is both an anti-war tirade and a window into the current situation in the world. We are all going to die but hopefully not for a while. Cattle & Cane’s debut provided a number of great tracks but as they’ve already won album of the year we will look to one who missed out on that accolade; The Lake Poets. Now I could pick any track from this debut but special mention must go to “Black and Blue”, “Edinburgh” and “Friends” but the winner goes to saddest song on the album and a real grower; “To the Lighthouse”.


2010: Woodenbox with a fistful of Fivers/Washington Irving/Cattle & Cane @ The Westgarth
2011: Stockton Calling (Various venues in Stockton)
2012: The Lake Poets/Union Choir/Natasha Haws @The Sage, Gateshead
2013: Edwyn Collins/Fake Major @ The Westgarth, Middlesbrough
2014: TWISTERELLA @ various venues in Middlesbrough.

Now my gig going has been limited this year but I’ve still seen some fabulous gigs. Ezra Furman at the Westgarth was one of those “I was there…” moments. He is absolutely fabulous. Sleaford Mods at the Georgian in Stockton. FatherSon at the Duchess in York and twice during the Twisterella festival in Middlesbrough. in fact the whole of the Twisterella festival was superb. One of the highlights of the year and we are certainly looking forward to it being even better next year. The Charlatans, Gaz Coombes and Young Fathers on a great day at the Sage in February.
But the winner was a day of two concerts, we don’t do that very often. On a Saturday in April we went to the Sage to see Sting perform his Shipyards musical. Now I know you are thinking; Sting!!!! But I was invited as one of his former pupils and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe as my ex-teacher I have a soft spot for him. And I loved the Police, although he didn’t perform Roxanne or any such tune that day. He had Jimmy Nail and the Unthanks to help him and it was good. Gig of the year? Don’t be daft!! Following an afternoon of drinking and merriment at the Sage I ventured to the Cluny to see one of my new favourites; The Twilight Sad. And they were amazing. Songs both old and new, an intensity not seen since Ian Curtis. They are truly magnificent and well worthy winners of gig of the year.


2011: THE SMITHS: Complete
2012: THE JAM: The Gift box set
2013: VARIOUS ARTISTS: Still Mad At Me? 15 Years Firestation Records 1998-2013
2014: NME C86

As we bought no new box sets this year the winner will go to a compilation; Ten Little Records: The Woosh collection released on Jigsaw records and collecting all the releases from the label hailing from Newcastle in the late 80s. Such stars as the Pooh Sticks, the Holidaymakers, St. James Infirmary and of course The Nivens. Whatever happened to them?


2011: This is England ’88
2012: The Olympics
2013: The Wrong Mans
2014: The World Cup: Brazil 2014.

Again we spend far too much time watching football to have time for anything else but a few programmes have tickled our fancy. The Last Leg, Coast, Britain Beneath Our Feet, This is England 90, The Hunt and Peter Kay’s Car Share which I’ve just been catching up on. But the winner is a film I watched on TV the other day. A film about one of my all time favourites. Both sad and uplifting. Ladies & Gentlemen this year’s winner is “The Possibilities are Endless”. A film about the illness and recuperation of former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins. A true legend.


2010: “No Redemption”: KEITH PATTISON
2011: “Clough & Revie: The Rivals who changed the face of English football”: ROGER HERMISTON
2012: “Kimberley’s Capital Punishment”: RICHARD MILLWARD
2013: “Autobiography”: MORRISSEY
2014: “The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins”: IRVINE WELSH

I’ve only read one book this year!!! So again the winner is my favourite author of all time; Irvine Welsh and his rediscovery of “Juice” Terry Lawson in “A Decent Ride”. A proper laugh out loud, crazy, rampaging force of nature of a book. It really makes me want to read more but I just don’t have the time!!!


2011: DEERSHED 2011
2012: DEERSHED 2012
2013: DEERSHED 2013
2014: DEERSHED 2014

We only went to one but it is great so I reckon it would win even if we went to a hundred. The Deer Shed Festival takes the prize for the 5th year running. Highlights included Billy Bragg, the Wedding Present, FatherSon, Rick Buckler and Du Blond as well as the hundreds of activities for the kids and the laid back, feel good atmosphere. I’m looking forward to next year’s already.


2011: THE WESTGARTH SOCIAL CLUB in Middlesbrough
2012: THE WESTGARTH SOCIAL CLUB in Middlesbrough
2013: THE WESTGARTH SOCIAL CLUB in Middlesbrough
2014: THE ARENA in Leeds.

Last year we had a new winner and in keeping with that tradition we are choosing a venue we have visited a number of times and have always found it welcoming and well run. The Cluny in Newcastle is both a great bar/restaurant and a great venue for bands. Actually two great venues as the Cluny 2 is next door. Our venue for the gig of the year and a well deserved winner. Special mention also to the Sage which we visited twice this year. A truly awesome venue.


2014: No winner this year

This year has seen our relationship with Sam Jefferies being strengthened as we acquired his latest print and even got to meet him in York. A wonderful person as well as artist but as he has had this accolade before we thought we’d find a new winner and we have; A few weeks ago we visited the Python Art Studio in Middlesbrough to view the works of Glen Middleton. Not so young but definitely an emerging talent. Have a look at his work in the photos below. And we promise to feature him and Sam in more detail in 2016.



A number of bands could have won this accolade; The Twilight Sad, Hyde & Beast, The Lake Poets, FatherSon, Cattle & Cane for the second time. Even Washington Irving for the 3rd time despite no new releases this year but some thrilling live performances. Some great new bands like Dressed by Wolves, Kid Wave, Plastic Mermaids and Model Aeroplanes to name a few. But the winner is a band that have come back from the dead. They were around a few years ago as Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny. This year they re-emerged as Du Blond with a fabulous album “Welcome back to Milk”. We managed to see them live at Deer Shed and headlining the Twisterella festival in October. They were superb on both occasions and thoroughly deserve this accolade.


New albums from Fake Major, The Winterhill Transmission, Washington Irving, Woodenbox and Frankie & the Heartstrings. Lots of gigs to look forward to; ForeignFox, Stockton Calling, Ian “Mac” McCullough, the Deershed Festival and this year’s Twisterella, of course!!!

Do you agree/disagree?? Let us know what have been the highlights of your year.

By peter on January 3, 2016

Check out all the pics

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