PREVIEW: SummerTyne Americana Festival
It wouldn’t be any kind of hyperbole to consider the line-up for this year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival the best yet, but then having Dr John on the bill does have that effect. Into its seventh year and building a reputation as one of – if not the – foremost celebration of Americana in Europe, the festival runs from Friday 20th until Sunday 22nd July, taking over the whole of The Sage and the performance square outside.
Americana has always been a tricky category, as the diversity of the line-up for this year shows: as well as the aforementioned and surely unmissable appearance from Dr John The Night Tripper, promoting his genuinely back-on-form Locked On album (supported by the increasingly acclaimed Phantom Limb, Sunday 22nd), the main hall headliners are the legendary Wanda Jackson, the erstwhile Queen Of Rockabilly, still packing houses after more than 50 years (and supported by Jenny O and the frankly fucking irksome Puppini Sisters on Saturday 21st) and much-loved, rootsy (if a little worthy) songwriter John Hiatt, with his Combo (Friday 20th).
Hall 2 is similarly busy throughout the weekend, including gigs from Californian rock-soul outfit Vintage Trouble on (who seem to have come from nowhere in just two years, probably due to an appearance on Later With Igor) with support from country-soul-reggae maverick Jeb Loy Nicholls (Friday 20th); The North Mississippi All-Stars Duo (the offspring of Jim Dickinson, no less) on Saturday 21st and a closing night Cajun dance party (thankfully not the execrable landfill indie band) with the Pine Leaf Boys on the Sunday 22nd.
Once again, the shows in the Sage are augmented by a host of related events, not least 3 days of free gigs outside, courtesy of The Jumpin’ Hot Club – see below for more about those.
On top of all this, there’s a SummerTyne Street Kitchen (think burritos, jambalaya and margaritas) and a musical cooking demo from Sarah Savoy’s Cajun Home Cooking featuring lessons in authentic Louisiana dishes coupled with a live band. There’s movies and shorts in the SummerTyne Lounge and even a boat trip down the Tyne with some of the weekend’s bands putting in an extra performance (Saturday and Sunday). Finally, Mr Drayton’s Record Player gets an outing away from its Tyneside Cinema base, playing the classic Johnny Cash At San Quentin on vinyl (Saturday 21st).
So, whether you fancy watching Dr John getting all voodoo on your ass or sipping a mint julep in the sun in front of the Sage, SummerTyne Americana joins the ever-growing list of genuinely remarkable events in the Tyneside cultural diary. Get down and support it.
The Jumpin’ Hot Club Stage
The Jumpin’ Hot Club has been a fixture on the Newcastle live scene for longer than most of the bands in this copy of NARC. have been alive, and the sheer quality of their gigs is a credit to them (and to the discerning Tyneside audience that support them). So it’s no surprise that once again, they’ve turned a typically tight budget into a fantastic bill for the free outdoor stage at this year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival, three days of music the equal of the events indoors.
As self-effacing as ever, Graham ‘Shippy’ Anderson still becomes animated as he realises all over again that what he’s got is “a massively strong line-up”. As he explains it, once he had his two headliners in place for the Jumpin’ Hot Stage, he was set.
Swiss Cajun band (yep, you read that right) Mama Roisin went down a storm at Evolution Festival last year and are being flown in especially to headline the Saturday. Even more of a coup for Anderson is getting Slim Chance to headline Sunday. “Slim Chance were Ronnie Lane’s old band, before he died. I was a big fan, he was totally underrated as a musician so I jumped at the chance to book them when I heard they’d reformed.” As well as the headliners, there’s the haunted country gothic of The Pine Hill Haints, local heroes Rob Heron & The Tea Pad, Brixton bluesman Errol Linton and hairy southern rock types Treetop Flyers. There’s even an appearance from Jerry Lee Lewis’ daughter Mary Jean with her Starlight Boys. The Homefries Stage (Friday only) – another Jumpin’ Hot venture – brings together a full bill of local musicians including The Gospel According To Jon Lee (does this man ever sleep?), Nev Clay, Koneki Suite and Shipcote & Friends, who feature some guy called Shippy on vocals and guitar. Sounds familiar somehow…
The SummerTyne Americana Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July.
- SummerTyne Americana Festival Announces Line Up