My Top Three Hit The North Performances
Hit The North 2019 played host to some monumental performances and live shows thanks to this year’s lineup.
Hundreds of people attended Newcastle’s loudest bank holiday weekend with over 130 live acts spread over 12 venues in the city centre…
This is a list of the three most memorable, riveting and standout performances, in my experience, from Hit The North 2019.
One thing was very clear this year, you certainly did not necessarily have to be from the North of England to play there, and the organisers brought in worthy musicians from all over the world. This has always been the case for Hit The North, but I think this year it was definitely amplified.
Tucked away in the cozy basement of the beloved Town Wall bar, Australian band Body Type played their debut UK show with girl-powered grace.
Playing tracks from their 2018 self-titled EP and their keenly named ‘EP2’ 2019 EP, the band opened ears and hearts alike.
A long and laborious journey had brought Body Type to Newcastle, but everyone in the room was thankful. From middle-aged bar regulars to starry-eyed teenagers, everyone was fixated on these pretty ladies from the South-East and how they effortlessly strummed and hit their instruments; it was quite cathartic.
I think it’s an understatement to say that I had a bit of a girl crush on Body Type the whole time that they were playing. They have to make it into my top three performances from this year’s festival, because even though they didn’t have one of the biggest venues or profiles, they sure played some of the best music I heard that day.
The really thoughtful and glazed indie rock songs that they played will reside with me for a while and I’m just thankful that I can say I was in the room the first time they played a show in the UK.
This West-London indie band have done considerably well for themselves recently and have become huge in the national scene, having their early 2019 release ‘M5’ featured as Annie Mac’s Track of the Week in February.
They’re definitely regarded as one of the bigger, more notable, bands in the recent indie-dream-pop wave that has been coming in heavy over the past year or two and, following the release of their 2018 single ‘Kutcher’, Sports Team have seen nothing more than a boost in popularity.
This fact was echoed when the crowd screamed aloud at Riverside during their HTN set when lead singer Alex said “This song’s about Ashton Kutcher”.
Sports Team are 6-piece band and each member has a different on-stage personality which was very clear during their. Their bass player, drummer, rhythm guitarist and lead guitarist jumped about the stage and bopped with the beats, you know like most band members do. However synth player, Ben, held a stone-cold, still glare and stance throughout the whole of the set; occasional synth parts or tambourine shaking moments are exceptions in terms of movement - but that’s it. It’s quite impressive actually and has become a trend for the band, if anything - it livened the crowd more.
While Sports Team blasted their pristine tracks, frontman Alex marched about the stage between instrumentals, beating his chest and exclaiming desperately like he was in the middle of an argument, one he was clearly winning. At one point he also climbed up atop the huge PA stack to one side of the stage, and treated it as if it was a platform to preach upon, and it totally was. If that speaker was a street corner and Alex was a busker I would have dropped a tenner in his open guitar bag for his performance - it was quite something. And if his animated arguments hadn’t been enough to get everyone listening during his set, climbing on top of the PA definitely was.
Sports Team were extremely memorable for me at this year’s HTN, their set was faultless and their stage presence was gripping.
I can only hope that they come to Newcastle again, but next time Alex has to climb higher…
If there was ever going to be a band to end Hit The North 2019 with, who could give it a more momentous, sweaty, exhausting and immense send off than Shame. The London alternative punk band have been growing swiftly in popularity after Rough Trade made their album ‘Songs of Praise’ its number 1 best album of 2018. They’ve just recently been on an American tour and have played Coachella, AND are setting off for another one soon, as well as receiving 5 stars from NME, Q, The Guardian, The Times, Record Collector, Dork and DIY for their album. It’s fair to say Shame are getting a lot of attention.
The moment that frontman Charlie walked out onto Riverside’s stage there was a roar, and their set had begun. Band members and crowd members alike began thrashing around on stage and on the floor of the packed out Riverside.
Charlie continually interacted with the crowd, touching hands and bending down right to the barriers from the top of the stage. Staring directly at everyone dancing and pointing at people to sing, he was invested in getting everybody moving. As Shame’s set went on and people got more lively, circles and mosh pits sparked up as Charlie decided to crowdsurf more than once, and also stand ontop of the crowd as fans held up his boots with their hands and shoulders.
He navigated the crowd like a stage.
I cannot stress enough how much of a perfect end to Hit The North 2019 Shame were, a sweaty set of grooving tunes left everybody there satisfied, fulfilled and glad. The band have such a way with crowd involvement that it is hard not to get caught up with their instruments and their punk-influenced shouting.
If I could have only seen one band play at Hit The North, it would have been Shame - that energy they created was unforgettable.
Cover Photo: Body Type
Photographer: Dakota Gordon