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For those of you who dared to venture off the beaten track down to The Royal Standard on Saturday, (two minutes from The Leadmill, one and half minutes if you get your skates on) not only were you greeted by Northern Exposure staff and their free cocktails, described as ‘fruity, powerful and effective’ by one happy recipient, but the most amazing line up of new talent from the four corners of our great country raring to share their music.
The super-talented Alan Triggs opened for us, an acoustic singer-songwriter from Rock Ferry on The Wirral. He has been described as something of a mix between Noel Gallagher and Jake Bugg bringing his gritty lyrics and catchy melodies along to delight! We heard the title track from his EP Algy and his new single She’s My Sunshine – both incredibly powerful and personal songs which stay with you. A mellow start to our perfect afternoon.

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Then, Atmospherics brought us a little sunshine from Blackpool with their upbeat and optimistic set, vibrant and lively from the off. They shared tracks from their EP and their new single Chances – both of which have been given extensive air time and we were lucky enough to hear them live. Dancing punters upfront and a lively crowd showed their appreciation throughout for this heady indie-rock set.
The Hudares were our first homegrown set of the afternoon – they brought with them catchy riffs and bizarre earworm melodies! Their powerful yet subtle sound had a little Led Zeppelin and a little Oasis about it. Such a warm reception from the crowd for tracks from their recent releases – Will You Ever, Furnace Hill, Shadows and Bohemian Book. Gentle rocking sound with their own psychedelic indie twist.
Ranking up a gear now, the cosmic Voodoo and the Crypts brought up some Brighton sunshine and their shimmering guitar hooks and danceable grooves chased the clouds away. However, their dark lyrics lurked there and were a striking contrast for anyone listening a little more intently. They played Feeling for us – their debut single released earlier this month and played on BBC Introducing a few weeks ago.
Moving inside for our early evening sets, Samuel Rogers kicked off with his eclectic mix of rock n roll, soul, funk, folk and psychedelic rock with many a SHABBA!

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An experimental singer-songwriter from Birmingham, his comic, high energy performance was just what we all needed for the second part of the day. He gave us the title track from his new EP Turn It Up and racked up the volume and fun setting the bar high for the rest of the evening. The Jack Fletcher Band came from Wolverhampton to play their rather gentler set with stripped back guitar. Their sound is inspired by early rock n roll with an indie edge.

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They gave us a husky mellow sound in their chilled set which gave us time to catch our breath before the last stretch of the evening.
Sisteray brought their gnarly 2000’s sound to us, one which is being taken to the four corners of the British Isles due to their tireless touring and sell out performances. They brought us a heady mix of Velvet Underground and Smiths infused ‘butt-kicking new punk’ whipping the audience up into feverish anticipation!

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Their full-on performance gave us upbeat and high-octane energy melodies sharing lyrical observations of life in 21st century Britain.
Berries were our first all-female band of the evening and are well deserving of the accolade ‘one of the hottest prospects on the guitar led scene’. One of the People’s Favourite Hidden Gems of 2016, they are known for their energetic shows.

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Their original take on riff-driven rock has earned support across the airwaves and they have been listed as one of Fenders Top Ten Favourite Unsigned Acts 2016. Their first release Lights last year was then followed by singles Waiting and Siren and EP Those Funny Things. Find them on all the usual platforms! Tonight, they brought us their indie-rock energy, their lead singer evoking a young PJ Harvey with her badass stare and slash of sarcasm in her smile. They gave an authentic and true performance and music that stains your soul.
The Northern Riots are an exciting new four-piece from Scarborough whose pre-gig quaking-in-boots made a few members of the audience a little nervous for them to say the least.

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But the moment they started playing, their distinct sound – indie/alt/rock with subtle influences from The Who, Ocean Colour Scene, Hendrix and Velvet Underground– and sheer talent of these musicians was evident. Their tight psychedelic riffs and heavy drum beats locked you quickly into their catchy and uplifting sound.
Stray Scene had also travelled down from Scarborough this weekend as part of a tour spreading their retro vibe. They are described as harking back to 1960s motorcycle culture and go-go clubs and received recent recognition from BBC Introducing. They wowed the crowd with their stage presence with the audience dancing throughout.

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SAP had travelled up from London to be with us today as part of their tour. Their heady indie-punk set was a riotous clash of Sex Pistols and The Clash with a little Adam and the Ants going on across the boys’ cheekbones and eyelids in shocking punk pink. Very dark lyrics throughout their updated punky vibe.

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Our headlining act tonight were The Americas, a West Midlands-based band whose ‘singular frenetic brand of twisting songs within songs within songs’ gave us a power-packed performance from the offset. With to live EPs and an album on the way, they play and tour non-stop delivering their ‘music to ride a motorbike to’ Their soul lifting sound hit us all full in the face tonight and showed their talent and creativity off to the full.

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The audience were blown away by their tight performance – so talented and original – they headlined and completed Northern Exposure’s event perfectly with the audience leaving on a (natural) high!
An amazing night soon to be repeated. Northern Exposure are all about creating a platform for new and upcoming artists while building a dedicated following who know to expect a fab night! This was a great example of this and a perfect blueprint for even greater things to come.

KATE O’BRIEN

(PHOTOS: Rachel Brown/Mal Whichelow)

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