Feb 14 2012

Standing up for Music, Comedy and Community Radio

Just to prove I don’t live at the Sage, events were a little different this week. For my birthday nights out I was treated to a night at the Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle and then a rocking good night at the Cluny with Sonic Boom Six. As a family, we did return to the Sage, Gateshead this weekend. More of that later.

At the Stand on Saturday 4th February my other half and I saw a varied line up. Host, Bruce Devlin was a funny but lethal combination of humour and put down leaving me relieved I wasn’t in the firing line. Lee Kyle and his routine based on flags of the world…well, you had to be there. Luke Benson: in his own words is a “giant”.Steve Day describing the funny side of being a deaf man in a largely hearing world was an eye opener (?)  Ron Vaudry was headlining, a very accomplished Canadian comedian who had me laughing in a most unladylike way. Don’t ask me about his material though. Sometimes a really intense comedy experience and have you walking away think, now what was he talking about? An excellent night. People around me were partaking of the Stand’s menu, it all looked and smelled very nice. I have yet to experience it myself. Talking to Ron Vaudry in the bar afterwards I get the impression that the Stand is thought of as comparable with comedy clubs in London. I think they are doing something right.
The Cluny gig on the 6th of February was always going to be a bit difficult for us. Not as young as we were, and a “school night”. Talking of school, it was a shame that the venue was over 18s only as the fan base for Sonic Boom Six has grown since their exposure on national radio recently. Support bands were Rossi Noise and Hildamay. Rossi Noise played their  “heavy beats with dub influences, fusing Dupstep, Dance, Drum and Bass, Hip Hop and Rock into cinematic proportions” with passion, despite the slightly reticent early evening crowd. Hildamay were very loud and very dramatic, they rocked, hard. By the time Sonic Boom Six came on stage, the crowd was ready for a party..some more lubricated than others. I have seen SB6 evolve over the last decade into a very different beast. Their music still has some of the ska/punk/hip hop fusion going on. But there is also the rock anthem of “For the Kids of the Multiculture”, and the touching street commentary of “Meanwhile Back in the Real World”. I was jumping around like a mad thing after a couple of songs, the gig was a valuable aerobic workout as well as entertaining. I only had one beer, the “real” lager Schiehallion, which was delicious. A smashing birthday night out.

Some of you may not have heard of NE1 FM. Its a community radio station based in Newcastle run entirely by volunteers. The new schedule (just starting this week) represents many different sections of the community and numerous musical genres. I went along to a meeting as I fancy getting involved. NE1 FM is a great opportunity for people to get into broadcasting, whether starting on one of the “open slots” as a presenter, helping with marketing, outside broadcasts, or just helping with answering phones or sorting though CD’s! The station offers advertising at reasonable rates, so if you know someone who needs a bit of on air advertising, do contact them.

This weekend has been much more grown up. We had to seek out CD storage, and battle with the flat pack only to realise we still have CD’s to home. To be continued, I guess. Sunday was time to return to the Sage for a French production for children. “La Chanson du Retour” (The Song to Get Home) is a collaboration between Théâtre Sans Frontières (based in Hexham) and The Sage. Its aim is to introduce young children (8+, although I saw younger ones there) to the French language in a fun way. Our son found the story of Léa and her adventures trying to escape a computer game amusing enough to forget it was in French, and he took part in the audience participation parts which help consolidate the words in the children’s (and the parents’) minds. The players were very enthusiastic and engaged the children right to the end.

That’s all for this week. Coming the Live Theatre my husband and I will be seeing “Nativities” described as “a darkly comic new play set in the world of petty office politics, designated smoking areas and the cheeky pint after work.” I think a lot of us might recognise some of the characters! Goodbye for now.