Twisterella. Middlesbrough. 12.10.19

Kicking off this years Twisteralla’s Student Union stage, and in keeping with the festival’s legacy of opening the festival with well known artists, it’s Red Rum Club who open the day and pack the venue out.

Full of South American flamencos and horn sounds, The Club’s get the festival off to a very ‘up’ and ‘pop’ sound, though the fact that not everyone can make it into the venue feels like a shame.

A run across, through the rain, to the WestGarth 2 venue means we arrive just in time for Leif Erickson, who’s moody indie and delicate guitar sounds are an early festival highlight. Building into a slightly haunting, slightly Americana, style of space rock, Leif are on fine form today with a sound close to turn of the century Wilco. Stand out’s ‘Sleep like a child’ and ’21 grams’ steal a tight, emotive, set. 

A tough act to follow, it’s Talk Like Tigers who meet the challenge of Leif with a similarly empassioned thirty minute set. Driven by their familiar blend of electro pop, and delicate vocals, The Tigers match their 80’s synth sound with glorious vocals to build a great set. Highlights ‘Tropical’, ‘Diamonds’ and an unplanned, unplugged, improtue ‘Metallic’ showcase evidence of a great act on great form.

It’s back to the Student Union for Fever Days’ first ever Middlesborough gig. Part rock, part electro pop, the Days set fizzles in places (notebly ‘What’s your problem’ and ‘Drugs’) but fails to take off in others in a set showcasing a band full of promise but with a little tweaking left to do.

The Townhouse provides a fine venue for packed out Only Sun, who provide loud, shaking, indie rockers before The Vegan Leather push things into new wave with a terrficly over the top performance including stand out The Hit showcasing the sound we can expect from their glorious debut album.

Continuing the performance art element of Twisterella, Babyteeth pick up the mantle of genuine pop stars with their punk/ colourful/ comical approach to live playing. Highlights ‘Cut it’ and ‘Siamise Twin’ are fine demonstrations of a band who’s search for punk takes them into the more sleazier, L7, elements of rock than the straight forward 3 chords and the truth approach to punk.

A trip back to the main stage for ‘Far Caspian’ settles the atmosphere from punk to indie shoegazing, before Dylan Cartlidge across at Westgarth 1 closes the evening with bass driven funk and good times. This being an inner city, one day, festival however it means that by this point of the day the crowd has dwindled a little; again feeling like a bit of a shame.

Twisterlla often seems to want to change the usual approach to festivals; their stages are diverse and their lineup often inverts the usual warm up to headliner format. There are slight opportunities for improvement (changing the layouts of some of the stages) , but not much; another Twisterella, another great Twisterlla.