INTERVIEW: Brave Exhibitions | NARC. | Reliably informed
Image: Mykki Blanco
There have been three Brave Exhibition festivals so far, two before The Awfulness, and one this time last year, as we all emerged, pale and anxious, from our own personal hell. They’ve all been rightly acclaimed, especially last year for his diverse and inclusive bill that largely eschewed blocky guitar bands in favor of laptop acts, a strong showing for female and queer artists. and a general sense of new possibilities. The festival is largely the brainchild of Joel Thomson and it began when he booked the bands for The Cluny, continuing once he went on his own as a promoter under the F54 banner.
This year, rather than a festival taking place in Cluny over a single weekend, Brave Exhibitions is taking place throughout November (and a bit of December) at various venues in Newcastle and Sunderland. Thomson explains that this new approach is a response to the circumstances and the mood of the moment. “Asking our guests to spend a full weekend in one place seemed over the top at this point. We felt we had to adjust to the great economic turmoil and a very real cost of living crisis in this part So while a full Brave Exhibitions festival was not practical this year, a busy November meant we were able to put on a schedule of great concerts under the BE banner.
a busy November meant we were able to put together a program of great concerts under the BE banner
What Thomson couldn’t foresee when constructing this schedule was that Low’s gig at the Boiler Shop – which looked very much like the centerpiece of the festival – would be canceled as the band’s Mimi Parker takes care of the cancer treatment. Nevertheless, the remaining twelve concerts build on the highlights of last year’s festival, focusing on two central weekends with a few concerts on either side.
Things kick off with a performance by Liverpool pop/R&B artist Jetta who plays The Cluny on sunday 6e November, before the first big weekend of concerts the following week. On Friday 11enext indie outfit The Bug Club play Jin Cluny, while the ferocious Russian feminist punk happening that is Pussy Riot plays Cluny 2; at Zerox you will find psychic brotherhood GENNwhich undoubtedly attracted new fans to BE last year. Saturday 12e the mighty Part Chimp – also veterans of Brave Exhibitions past – play The Cluny with Ghum and local supergroup Irked in support, while punk outfit Derry are at Zerox backed by Tin Ribs. The weekend ends with AO Gerber at the Cumberland Arms on Sunday 13ethe LA singer-songwriter stopping over in Newcastle as part of a short UK tour.
Anthemic yet inventive Chicago trio DEHD kicks off weekend two with a show at Pop Recs Ltd. in Sunderland on Friday the 18the November, with Teesside ragers Benefits in the same venue the following evening supported by the wonderful Straight Girl. Manchester rapper Algernon Cornelius is at Zerox on Sunday 20eand New York indie outfit Widowspeak wrap up the weekend at Pop Recs Ltd. Monday 21st with the support of Night Shop. Finally, Brave Exhibitions pulled off a bang by having the remarkable Mykki Blanco play at La Cluny on Monday 5e December, beautifully ending the series of Brave Exhibitions with their intense and funky, powerful and political take on hip-hop and R&B.