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North East music, and particularly its rock scene, is positively thriving as we head into 2017 with a number of acts looking at making some incredible noise.
With Twister claiming the Best EP/Album for Designed State of Mind, and Best Band awards at the recent Ubeat Music Awards; Craig Roddam and his band blasting their way through Christmas Live at the Arena; and Black Nevada providing immense support for Dani Filth and Devilment at Think Tank, you’d think the close to 2016 would be hard to top.
Actually, it’s already being set up to do just that as Twister
have recently announced that they’ll be headlining the O2 Academy in mid-May for a Refined/Combined State of Mind double release, an opportunity arriving off the back of a hugely successful Academy Two slot were they were more than ably supported by Roddam, Catalyse and Singapore Safehouse.
followed up the release of their excellent EP, Fragments, with that Think Tank performance and go into the New Year talking of a possible new music video release and an early year tour taking in Leeds, Nottingham and parts of bonny Scotland, and that’s before summer festival festivities.
on the other hand has certainly taken his opportunities the past year, following up supporting Twister to playing in front of thirty thousand plus at the Metro Radio Fireworks in Saltwell Park, to Christmas Live, in a matter of months. His new single, to be released early next year, places emphasis on Where do we go from Here.
“I already have a few things I want to get done next year and I’ll be in the studio soon enough,” said Roddam.
“I’ll look at releasing a single first so I can build some momentum, some hype, towards either an EP or album. There’s also the possibility of a tour along with some big support spots at places like the Academy.
“The band also deserves credit and I can’t believe how good they sound when playing my music, they deserve the big stages.”
Big stages are places the like of Micky McCrystal
and Kyle Hughes
are getting used to, for differing but similar reasons. The pair, along with Edward Bell, are still coming to terms with a recent mini tour they embarked upon with former Guns n’ Roses guitarist, Bumblefoot.
Beginning at Trillians in Newcastle they also took in the Diamond Live Lounge in Doncaster and a date in Featherstone, leading to the duo being offered an opportunity, amongst others, for a trip to LA next month, ahead of Hughes announcing something pretty special himself.
McCrystal meanwhile been guitarist with local rock gods, Tygers of Pan Tang
, since Belgium in June 2013. The band releasing Only the Brave earlier this year before a home, Cluny launch, of their mass-acclaimed, self-titled album, in late October where they were, in turn, supported by…..Twister.
Releasing the album through Mighty Music in Denmark McCrystal said; “I had in my mind tas to what the fans wanted to hear and that’s how we approached it.
“Now we’re gearing up to record another video next month which won’t necessarily be old school Tygers, but more a fun song with a hint of classic Tygers all the same. The record label is keen on releasing more if all goes to plan which will be a combination of that old school, recognisable but new.
“That and, with my filling the boots of John Sykes there’s been a level of expectation for me, I’ve had to put my own stamp onto the position whilst still being respectful.”
An exciting addition to the scene the past few years has been Teesside’s Lisa Kilcar
, who parted ways with a rock covers band to produce an array of her own, rock originality. The trodden path of many a rocker, before and after, came as a surprise to friends and loved ones alike.
Pushing boundaries of the blues, rock and ballads, Lisa has already penned material enough to release an album in the New Year alongside her new band.
She added: “Things will happen quite quickly as most of the album is done.
“After leaving the covers band I picked up a guitar and wrote a whole new batch of songs. I’ve always wanted to sing as well and, although people were surprised I took this path it’s always been one I wanted to take.
“I’m hoping to release a varied range of material next year across several genres whilst doing some solo work at the same time.”
Firelight Opera are making a transition from covers to original whilst penning an album, something they’ve already begun with Lee Hardy stating: “We’ve been down Liverpool already and began putting material down on a new album and is something we’ll go back to in February.
“There’ll be an official video and single release in March with an album launch come the summer.”
Mark Rayner and Death to Indie are in a similar position album-wise with their heading to the studio late spring.
“We’ve had a great response this year, support-wise, so we’re keeping the early part of the year free in order to refresh social (media) and website presence,” added Mark.
“Then we’ll build towards an album later in the year with a live video performance as a teaser, maybe two to build momentum.”
Social Room successfully released their latest single, Be Forever Mine, at Independent in Sunderland and the new year will be a massive one for the six-piece fronted by vocalist, Matty Smith alongside Adam Jefferson, Adam Potts, Simon Bewick, Chris Leonard and Alex Gunn ; Scream of Sirens followed up an EP with the launch of Get Some which landed them a slot with Wipe Out Publishing.
Off Peak meanwhile are brothers Jamie and Robbie Pick with friends Kier Hutchinson and Jackson Raw from Esh Winning who have been providing indie music for the past three years now.
The past twelve months or so have seen them come into their own following up the release of debut single, Stay the Same, with an Academy launch, in 2015, before an EP and mini tour last year.
“We’ll be releasing a second EP in January with a launch gig at Durham University,” said Jamie.
“Afterwards we’d like to release an album but an EP would be great as we’re enjoying it which is why we do it, doing it all off our own back.”
All of this, and more, will be played out on international radio station, EGH Radio Rocks, with Anne and Stephen Lambert, on Monday nights from 9pm; they themselves are looking at a big year ahead and can followed on Twitter through @EGHRocks
whilst the online radio show can be reached via http://mixlr.com/egh-radio/