Alt-rock quartet Pave The Jungle recently released their debut single ‘Ants’, a foretaste of their upcoming debut EP The Hissing which is due on their own DIY label Cow House in October. Having received mentoring from fellow Tynesider Nadine Shah and her co-writer & producer Ben Hillier and shared stages with local favourites such as Cauls and Pit Pony, we thought they’d be the perfect guides for a tour of the North-East’s music scene – drummer Scott Jeffrey kindly obliged.
For as long as we’ve been involved in local music, it’s seemed as though Newcastle (and the wider North East) has been punching well above its weight.
The diversity is mind-blowing. From some of the UK’s most unique singer-songwriters of recent years (Nadine Shah, Richard Dawson, Sam Fender), through to envelope-pushing noisemakers like Pigsx7, Kylver, and Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister (RIP), our wee corner of England has it all.
As a result, there’s always been a healthy dash of North East acts in our daily rotation. In the noughties there was The Chapman Family, YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO, Dartz!, Lavotchkin, Kubichek!, Ever Since The Lake Caught Fire, The Casino Brawl & Little Comets (still smashing it). Later came Let’s Buy Happiness, Polarsets, Enter The Lexicon (now Sick Joy) Shields, EAT FAST, Du Blonde, Bernaccia, VANT & Demob Happy (aye, claiming those last two for the NE).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Live music in Newcastle relies heavily on its venue owners and promoters being stereotypical Geordies: ridiculously friendly, up for anything, and just a little bit mad. Lots of people see our city as a party destination, and that commitment to the good times definitely permeates through the music scene here.
Our beloved Ouseburn Valley houses at least half of the city’s creative and cultural space inside a leafy square mile. It’s home to many grade-a places to get boozy and watch bands. The Cluny is an award winner and hosts national/international touring artists every damn day of the week. The Tyne Bar‘s famous outdoor stage is a summertime jewel in our region’s crown, while The Little Buildings has noted the kind of meteoric rise – from obscure dive into crucial asset – that would make a top-notch Netflix six-parter.
Recent years have also seen increased harmony between the grassroots and the bigger players in the city. An emphasis on putting artists first has allowed new acts to reap the growing number of opportunities available. We’ve never struggled to attract bigger touring acts (at least in my memory), but now we have promoters taking an active interest and working directly with fledgling bands to put them on the bigger stages and bills.
That said, the DIY ethic is still the norm here. With very little in the way of tapped-in industry representation, any local act’s staying power is definitely linked to their willingness to clue up and learn to do things for themselves.
Despite the endless and inherent challenges that presents, all of the artists we’ve included in this playlist are smashing it at the minute. And all of them off their own steam.
So gan check them out. And believe us when we say this list could have been ten times as long!
Check out Pave The Jungle’s No Place Like Home Playlist: