Looking to finally celebrate 2019’s “in on the ground floor” award from the Independent Festival Awards, Middlesbrough’s premiere inner-city music festival Twisterella makes it’s return this weekend. The team behind this festival have a knack for bringing through some of the newest and brightest emerging artists as they’re breaking.
This festival that’s previously given The 1975, Sam Fender, The Vaccines, Wolf Alice and so many other’s their first festival appearances, is once again filled with some of the best up and coming talent from both the North East and the national circuit. Twisterella takes place across 4 stages in Middlesbrough city centre, includes unique pop up experiences in some of Middlesbrough’s independent bars and is topped with headliners, Fatherson, The Howl & The Hum and Lauran Hibberd.
Below are 5 of the 40+ artists that have caught our attention ahead of this weekend to help you make your way through the noise.
Darlington’s effortlessly cool twee-indie pop 5 piece Marketplace open the Townhouse stage of the festival. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Blaenavon, Hippo Campus and Mystery Jets, the band have been tipped as BBC Teesside’s ones to watch for 2021 and have since released two of the biggest ear worm tracks in “Charlie” and “Condensed Milk”. With a live show that brings the party energy as much as 2006’s Black Kids (of “i’m not going to teach your boyfriend…” fame) and a sound reminiscent of indie royalty Alvvays, Marketplace have potential to become one of your new favourite bands (or at least get stuck in your head for a few days afterwards).
A real hidden Gem of the day comes in the form of Darlington’s Luke Royalty. Just one listen to Luke’s lazy sunny day hip hop draws instant parallels to the likes of Loyle Carner and Tom Misch and it’s no wonder he’s piqued the attention of Radio One’s Jack Saunders. It’s been a hell of a run so early on in his career for Luke as he’s taken the festival circuit by storm playing the likes of Liverpool Sound City, Dot to Dot festival and being invited for a virtual set at Radio One’s Big Weekend 2021. Luke Royalty is one of the opening acts at the festival's main stage at Teesside University Student’s Union.
Leed’s Based Remy Enceladus, going by the artist name Straight Girl caught my eye after starting a conga line at one of their most recent performances. As Self proclaimed “overlord of electropunk”, they meld together jarring synths, booming 808 drums and distressed and reverbed vocal lines giving warpaint a run for their money. Straight Girl has been a regular on BBC introducing and BBC 6Music, and with good reason. Their most recent track “Limon” is nothing short of excellent. Their show may not be for the faint hearted but you’ll definitely reap the rewards of having seen one of the festival’s most exciting and experimental artists of the day.
Perhaps one of the more well known acts of the North East music scene to grace this year’s Twisterella are Synth-pop veterans Twist Helix. Expect electric walls of synth, pounding and yet also somehow disco-esque drums underlined with bouncing and driven bass riffs from the Newcastle trio. Still riding high from the release of their second LP “Machinery” in 2020, the band have carved their own brand of electronic alt-pop and take aim at the state of current politics, gentrification, representation of women in the industry and so much more. Twist Helix play mid afternoon at TS One.
Hailing from Hartlepool, solo act turned west coast indie-pop trio Mt. Misery, deliver their own brand of melancholic and dreamy indie to Middlesbrough’s prestigious Westgarth Social Club. Citing inspiration from the likes of Belle and Sebastian and being likened to Whitney and Real Estate, the three piece have been on a meteoric rise since their emergence. This has led to festival appearances at the likes of Deershed Festival, a run of dates with The Futureheads and their debut LP being stocked in Rough Trade. If you fancy a change of pace during the day and a set of warming and beautifully constructed songs, Mt Misery are for you.