Bridie Jackson EP launch

Bridie Jackson EP launchue11aprbridie_print1
With: Laputa / Nathalie Stern
Star + Shadow Cinema
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Saturday, April 11 at 8.00pm

For several years, Bridie Jackson has been opening the night for musicians such as Nick Harper, Karima Francis, Chango Spasiuk and Alisdair Roberts, each time leaving audiences confused and beguiled.

Not jazz, not pop, not blues, her music touches on all of those, but is equally influenced by fado, flamenco, and is endlessly evolving. Bridie Jackson never plays the same song the same way twice, and improvisation is a large part of her live performances.

Her influences range from Amalia Rodriguez to Ute Lemper, Jake Thackray to Noel Coward, and Melanie Safka to Janis Joplin, and she’s been compared to Laura Nyro, Joanna Newsom, Josephine Foster and Rickie Lee Jones.

Not surprisingly, Bridie lives and breathes music, a fact not surprising when you learn her father is a composer and she spent much of her childhood touring the musical hotspots of Europe, sampling pretty much every style going.

On stage she is known for going off the beaten track and she is always experimenting, even in the middle of a performance. But her raw, uncompromising music is now available on her first EP, PROLONG, on Urban & Eastern Records, launched tonight at the Star and Shadow Cinema.

Entry includes a free copy of the EP, a beautiful article in itself, with artwork by 50ft Long Horse, and design by Supanaught, and includes four tracks recorded in November by Sean Taylor.

Support is provided by two musicians Bridie admires for their ability to manipulate sound and create music of extraordinary beauty. Heart-breaking electronica from Laputa, and the delicate and magical Swedish indie-folk of Nathalie Stern will open the evening before a full set from Bridie.

Two new films, by Mat Fleming and Owen Gilfellon, and influenced by Bridie’s music, will also be premiered at the launch.

Tickets are £6 on the door (including free copy of Prolong)


Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele

With: Dirty Diamonds / Lady Caroline Marydentmay
Cumberland Arms
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Monday, March 30 at 8:00pm

“If you don’t come away with a smile on your face, you’re dead inside” – Clash magazine
“Different to anything else you will hear at the moment” – Artrocker
“The good feeling sound of 2009” – Bearded
“The simple purity of his songs proves damn near irresistible” – Observer Music Monthly

You may have heard of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, a new pop musician from Oxford, Mississippi. If not, you’ll be hearing a lot from him in the coming year.

Dent’s unique vocal style, part crooner, part falsetto, and 101 percent showman reflects the influences of some of his favorite singers (Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, and Lee Hazlewood to name a few). His love of various song styles results in a unique combination of ukulele, drums, pedal steel, violin, horns and bass. One second his songs hint at Brazilian Tropicalia, the next a ‘50s barbershop quartet or an early 20th century country swing.

By integrating his favorite pop music from around the world and writing about what is in front of him (his town, his friends, and pretty girls), Dent takes the “think global, buy local” motto to heart. He may just be one of the 21st century’s first sustainable pop singers.

Animal Collective first heard Dent May when they were recording their new record in Oxford Mississippi in early 2008. They quickly signed him to their Paw Tracks imprint and now we present his incredibly impressive debut full length, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele.

With excitement reaching a fever pitch a new term has been coined: Dent Maynia. Catch it.

Dent May will be supported by local heroes Lady Caroline Mary (“hilarious and highly accomplished” – Narc) and Dirty Diamonds (“”Imagine Kenneth Williams and Burt Bacharach, around a piano in Denmark Street, circa 1961″ – Wat Tyler”).

Dent May Biography

Jackson, Mississippi native Dent May grew up singing in local church groups, acting in school plays, and performing at nursing home gigs with a recorder choir. In high school, he wrote synthy power-pop with his band The Rockwells while recording erotically charged novelty tracks with friends on the side. After three unsuccessful semesters at NYU’s film school, May moved to North Mississippi where he helped found the Cats Purring arts collective and formed a country-rock band called Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City. In late 2007, inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Lee Hazlewood, he began performing as Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele and released a digital E.P. of cheeky lo-fi tunes, A Brush With Velvet. The title is a reference to The Partridge Family, episodes of which May obsessively collected and organized on VHS tapes as a teen. His debut album, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, was recorded with Rusty Santos in May’s home, a double-wide trailer in Taylor, Mississippi (population: 300). He continues to perform with Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City, and recently began recording dance music under the moniker Dent Sweat.

Tickets £6 on the door (or available in advance from alt-vinyl)

Lady Caroline Mary

Lady  Caroline Maryue20marladycm_r03mar
With: Mush / Fire Maidens from Outerspace
Star + Shadow Cinema
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Friday, March 20 at 8:00pm

One of the gig-going highlights of the past couple of years has been finding (Lady) Caroline Mary on the bill, invariably supporting less talented types.

With her first album A TRAY OF FANCIES fresh in the shops, Caroline Mary material impresses with tunes that resemble the best Tin Pan Alley novelty songs of the thirties, forties and fifties.

Not only a good old-fashioned songwriter, Caroline Mary is a good old-fashioned singer too!

Hilarious and highly accomplished, Lady Caroline Mary is one of the unsung stars of the Newcastle music scene, and tonight she’ll be supported by local legends Mush, and Fire Maidens from Outta Space, a quartet of hungry young female folkies with an original take on songwriting, wild humour and excellent musicianship.

Tickets £5 on the door

Ukelear Meltdown II: the second national festival of Extreme Ukulele

With: Dirty Diamonds / Molly & Me / Cat Green Bike / Mark Pembrey / Ira Lightman / Staggerin’ Jon Lee / Eilidh Macaskill / Dulwich Ukulele Club
(+ films and workshops)
Star + Shadow Cinema
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1 2009

For the second glorious year, the Star & Shadow celebrates the cheapest, easiest-to-play, most lo-fi, most punk rock instrument in the world – the Ukulele. With live performers, films and workshops, our Saturday night and Sunday afternoon will be dedicated to worshipping a “Thirty dollar wooden box with wires”.

Over two days, musicians from across Europe will descend on Newcastle to worship the uke!

There will also be films, workshops and stalls selling ukulele paraphernalia, CDs and videos

Saturday night (28 February) will feature the performance art and music of Molly & Me who will come from Denmark and Scotland to perform.  Cat Green Bike (Birmingham) and Jack Shirt (London) work at the avant-garde end of the musical spectrum, using loops, effects and tunings to subvert the instrument.  Abdul Amin, from Manchester via Canada and Pakistan, is in his sixties, and composes work inspired by Bollywood musicals, while Staggerin’ Jon Lee from Newcastle will perform using uke, kazoo, jug and stylophone.  The Dulwich Ukulele Club are a ten-piece upbeat rock ‘n’ roll and ska amalgam that will end the evening.

On Sunday 1 March, the day will start with ukulele workshops run by Sarah Jane Miller, and three short films, including a documentary on the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and another featuring Swedish indie-king Jens Lekman, a ukulele fan.

Live music will be provided by the hit acts of 2008, Eilidh Macaskill and Dirty Diamonds, plus poet Ira Lightman, and Mark Pembrey, who began playing the uke at last year’s festival.

Songs about F*¢king: An evening of aural sex for Valentine’s Night

knittingStar + Shadow Cinema
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Saturday, February 14 at 7:30pm

In the tradition of our hugely successful Murder Ballads and Drinking Songs nights, and in homage to Valentine’s Day, we present the ultimate in taboo-busting themed-nights.

We’ll be showing vintage nudie and s*x education films from the fifties and sixties, and topping that with a viagric cast of musical talent will get you hot, sweaty and running for the cold shower.

There’ll be barrel-house blues influenced Bridie Jackson, naughty English folk from Emily Portman and Christi Andropolis, and the hips that were banned by Tyne Tees – Mr Staggerin’ Jon Lee.

You can expect Lady Caroline Mary to notch up the class with her erotic hymns to cakes and cats, Nicky Rushton and Zoe Lambert to get all gender confusing, and the four part harmonies of the Fire Maidens from Outer Space to get you flustered and mathematical.

DJ Michael Clunkie Vinyl Junkie will be playing the daftest erotic hits from the seventies – orgasmic moans, blood engorged beats and Penthouse pets doing disco.

There’ll be the usual prizes for best dressed, plenty of free gifts and you should bring your own tissues!

All this for only £5? You betcha sweet ass!

Kathryn Williams at the Star & Shadow

Kathryn Williams
With: Mush / Fiona Sally Miller
Star + Shadow Cinema
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Saturday, January 17 at 8:00pm

Kathryn Williams should need no introduction, but we’re going to do it anyway.

Hailing from Merseyside, and a resident of Newcastle, Kathryn has produced a string of critically acclaimed albums and has collaborated with John Martyn, Badmarsh and Shri and Thea Gilmore.

The Star and Shadow is proud to herald in the New Year with her help.

The essence of understatement, Kathryn has the ability to stop you in your tracks with her quietly arresting lyrics and the unique ability to cut straight to the heart of the matter, making every listener feel totally at home.

Not one to be pigeonholed, Williams commands a genre all of her own, and is in complete control.

A long-time supporter of the Star and Shadow, Kathryn (and the other performers) have donated their time to the Cinema, with all proceeds going towards helping us continue our work of presenting great music, film and art.

Support comes from Newcastle legends Mush, and Fiona Sally Miller – one of the hottest new acts for 2009.

Tickets £7 (advance tickets from alt-vinyl)

Nathalie Stern at the Star & Shadow

Nathalie Stern
Star + Shadow Cinemanat
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Wednesday, December 17 at 8:00pm

“Delicate, magical, heartfelt and delivered with an uncluttered naked grace” – Echoes and Dust ”

For many gig-goers in the North East, 2008 has been the year they discovered Nathalie Stern.

It’s also the year that Nathalie Stern rediscovered her unique musical voice. Perhaps better known as one half of indie rockers Lake Me, Stern has spent the past couple of years finely honing her solo work – a voice, a delay pedal, a few bells and sometimes a guitar. Uncluttered as it is, it led the The Crack to ask, “can music be gently grandiose? This is!”

Critics have lazily titled her the “one-woman Swedish folk choir”, and she’s been the support act of choice to many discerning acts on the circuit.

At the Star and Shadow, Nathalie headlines for the first time as a solo artist, and as if to press home what exciting individual music she makes, she’s being supported not by other bands, but by a group of experimental film makers inspired by her work; including Owen Gilfellon, Mat Fleming, Karen Eliot, Brian Degger and Arto Polus.

Nathalie’s work is grounded in (but not chained down by) Swedish folk music, the vocal experiments of Bjork’s Medulla album, and the traditional Polish accordian songs played by her father.

Her work eschews traditional rock structures, and is a must for fans of Camille, Värttinä, Bjork and Juana Molina.

“…the most enchanting music I’ve heard for some time” – NARC Magazine

Tickets £5 (plus membership)