Tipping Point. 22.6.19. Newcastle

Seemingly getting better and better each time they perform live, Swine Tax open this year’s main stage with their inspired Gang of Four meets Blur (‘Blur’ era) wail of post punk, loud guitars and spiky anger.  Edgy and experimentational, the Tax boys do what they do best in their allotted 30 minutes; playing the hell out a bunch of interesting art punk tracks, pulling strange on-stage faces, and setting a huge benchmark for other acts.  New song Relax and older favourite Tory water steal an almost perfect set.

Sticking around at The Cluny, Freese Trio are up next with their abstract three-piece electro jazz.  Consisting of keys, vocals, bass and drums the Freesers produce an interesting soundscape which focuses around funky bass grooves and emotive vocals.  Highlights Dig and Anchors focus a set which is experimental, intensely delivered, and almost drum n bass breakbeat in places. 

A run up to the newest venue on the festival line up, Kaleidoscope, is perfectly timed to see one-man electronic studio and hip-hop star John Dole and his blend of interesting dark electro.  Working both the live production as well as providing the rhymes, Dole’s set peaks at its most intense moments where his flow broaches into gender politics and rebellion.  It’s a perfect warm up for local grime act NE Dons who are up next with their blend of intense delivery and lyrical warfare.  Led by well-choreographed deliveries from MC’s Castle and Ne-o the Dons set is perfectly delivered in a set which begins with a ‘straight’ delivery of current tracks taken from the recent Ep Imminent before moving into an eskimo set of cut ups and mixed deliveries of older tracks (including stand out ‘Nang’).  Led by dj/producer $onny the Dons set is a fire storm from the word go and particularly impresses both for energy and attitude during the final fifteen minutes.  They really are on sparkling form.

Bill Ryder Jones closes out the day at The Cluny with his usual blend of melancholic guitar pop matched with between song humour.  Having spent the day visibly walking around Tipping Point, Jones is in a relaxed mood this evening yet manages to pull out raw emotion when it matters, including on showstopper ‘Daniel’.  With 2019’s Yawn album already standing out as one of the albums of the year Jones’ does what he needs to, which, really, is to reproduce tracks which will be anthems one day soon.

A diverse and well delivered day, Tipping Point proves that there are pockets of brilliance in the local scene.  If there’s any justice we’ll see some of these acts on national festivals this time next year.