Looka Teesside Rocks Stockton’s Riverside


                               (Images courtesy of North East Live)

                              Rocking out on Stockton’s Riverside

It was a weekend of early summer fun as creativity was brought to Stockton’s Riverside this past weekend.  In the words of event organiser, Looka Teesside being the brainchild of local, Stephen Irving, he closed Sunday’s second day festivities by not only thanking the massed throngs that had attended over the two day festival but saying that “we were looking at providing a two day celebration of Teesside’s creativity, we did that.

“Now we are already planning ahead and looking to be back bigger and better next year.”

Alongside Mr Irving, credit must also be afforded to the hard work afforded by those at North East Live, ably ran by John and Angie Taylor. With their dedication, support, knowledge and expertise, as well as providing the well-motioned teams that voluntarily ran all four music stages, the weekend was to become the success which it did.

Beginning early on the Saturday with a host of activities around Stockton there would be a Crafts Fair at the Parish Gardens; a selection of film and poetry round on Dovecot Street as well as that of Stockton’s Riverside College playing host to student performances across an array of talents.


Meanwhile, in venues across the Stockton Riverside area, that of Music, and Teesside’s massive local talent would be brought to the fore. All told there was some 87 performances in four venues over two days.

Dockside’s Electric Stage had talent such as Lost in the Crowd, The Lemontops, The Unsound and Sirens in the Delta belting out tunes into the evening calm.

The Endeavour Ship, providing adequate backdrop to those Dockside, would have a mixture of talent from that of Jim Hayden and Melissa Davison, through to Zach & Georgie, Jim Blenkhorn and Carmella Roxx, several of whom would also appear at the nearby Cafe Infinity.

The Tees Terrace Stage, at The Don Bar also hosted The Unsound along with Huntsville, Black Nevada and Audiofyre.

With an interlude of acting performances from the talented children of the Val Armstrong School of Perfoming Arts in Hartlepool, Sunday’s fine fare was all about Teesside’s musical talent and nous as the Stockton Riverside was rocked out from noon till evening with a vast array of talent packing out Cafe Infinity, The Don Bar, the Dockside Electric Stage and the impressive Endeavour Ship.

The sun shone at its fullest and the music filled the air.

Serinette pulled a dual set when appearing at the Dockside mid-afternoon before rocking the proceedings for the weekend to a close with the headline set at The Don Bar. They also played host to the likes of Shotgun Charlie, Gnome Invasion and The High Bridge Street.

Cafe Infinity had that of Midway Arcadia and Claire Louise Matthews portraying their dulcet tones whereas down in the summer Sunday sunshine the music was catering to masses both inside and out.

The Endeavour had the day’s starter coming from the wonderfully named Mel & The Micro Pigs fronted by the amazing voice of 15 year old Melissa Spouse and her friend, also 15, Kayleigh Ryder (doing an excellent job on the keyboard). When a young lady with a voice like Miss Spouse’s starts ringing out tunes such as ‘Summer of 69’ and ‘Chasing Cars,’ you really start to listen. The performance, not only by Miss Spouse, but the band as a whole, was a mesmerising, crowd pleaser and a glorious way to start proceedings off.


Speaking after their performance a band spokesman said that “Mel has been involved in music since she was around twelve. We are trying to be different but professional and there is very much a promising future.

“She and Kayleigh were picked up by (fellow band vocalist and guitarist) Al Theirot at an open mic night and it all just went from there. She would love to pursue a career within music but we are away as to how difficult it is. It’s also hard because of both Mel and Kayleigh’s young ages, making it harder for them to be able to get certain gigs, but she has the wow factor with her that we hope will push her on more and more.”

Skyran started proceedings off Dockside with some original music of their own that included ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘The Show’ as they rocked the noon-time sun. They were ably followed by the guitar-driven five-piece called Charabanc Dreams, the multi-talented band provided original tracks with an array of song and an accompaniment of instrument to allay the crowd.

Back inside the Endeavour solo singer/guitarists were taking centre stage on the lower deck as Ben Taylor, Steve McCormick and Johny Phage provided some good materials, the latter providing an eclectic mix of sounds from opposite ends of the musical spectrum. 

The well-supported Halcyons were rocking the Dockside as families were up dancing in the sun before Serinette produced their first performance of the day. Brilliantly interacting with the crowd the four-piece, led by lead vocalist Louise Radford, put on a brilliant performance that had a well toned voice mixed with musical nous, topped by their newest track ‘Me to You.’ Serinette have been together around six years under their former name, although the present quartet has been rocking venues for the past twelve months or so now.  


Shrug provided the loudest entertainment of the afternoon as they blew apart the Dockside with their enigmatic musical style giving the baying crow that alternative mix. It was a mixture that included crashing drums, rampaging guitars, keyboard and immense vocals from the clay-faced, blonde wig-wearing lead singer.

Their performance was to be followed by first Kildare then The Bends who brought their own version of guitar rifting to proceedings before being enticed into providing a further ballad to end their set and with it the end of Dockside’s musical repertoire.

Inside the Endeavour meanwhile soloists Andy Brewster, Tom Williams and the beautiful Megan Wardell were also bringing matters to a close. The finish arrived with the appearance of Mark Boden’s Flamenco Confusion. The unplugged quartet provided a crowd pleasing acoustic set as well as several vocal tracks from what was a catchy, relaxing finale consisting of good, well-earthed sounds.


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About petermannwriter

Freelance (Sports/Music) Journalist

Posted on 03/06/2013, in Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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