Their reputation for trailblazing line-ups is safe
Conor Roy
14:17 12th October 2021

Saturday 9 October saw Middlesbrough’s Twisterella festival make its triumphant return. The multi-venue festival has always been known for its trailblazing line-ups of emerging new music (having previously given the likes of The 1975 and Sam Fender some of their first festival shows) and this year’s line-up delivered on that promise once again. 

To kick off proceedings, Darlington five-piece Marketplace laid down their slices of vintage shop indie-pop to The Townhouse’s light-up dancefloor. Set opener and absolute earworm 'Charlie' serves as the band’s mission statement for what's to come as the band weave through an infectious display of Alvvays-esque dreamy indie. New track 'Fruit' brings a charming male to female call and response dynamic to one of the highlights of their set and crowd pleaser 'Evergreen cements them as one of the fan favourites of the day.

Next, to TS One for Newcastle’s synth-pop trio Twist Helix, a band renowned for their politicized and anthemic subject matter laid over a huge wall of noise synth tracks, thundering bass licks and indie-disco drums. It’s clear that the band definitely need to be on bigger festival stages, fighting to get in the venue reveals a sea of people (spilling into the street) and a riotous and memorable set featuring heavily from the band’s second LP Machinery.

To the festival main stage of Teesside SU and Luke Royalty brought his own take on Loyle Carner/Tom Misch, lazy day hip-hop. An effortlessly cool display from the wordsmith with his live backing band providing real laidback groove to the mid afternoon.

Twisterella’s hidden gem comes in the form of industrial electro-punk artist Straight Girl. A set of pounding dark-dance tracks from the Leeds artist could have tricked anyone, after a couple of pints, that it was 4am and not 4pm.  Armed with just a microphone and a keyboard, Remy took apart the Townhouse, at one point swinging from the bar and leaving bystanders shaking in the best possible way.

Westgarth main room played host to Edinburgh four-piece Swim School who have seen a meteoric rise of late featuring appearances at All Points East and support slots for Declan McKenna. The band played all tracks from their debut EP Making Sense of It All and proved to be the highlight of the day. The band will without a doubt be quickly making their way up festival line-ups in the very near future. Their sound is nothing short of huge and while it’s difficult to choose a favourite, 'see red' and 'let me inside your head' really drive home their mastery of penning room-filling indie-rock anthems so early in their career as a band.

Glaswegian three-piece and Westgarth headliners Fatherson shook the very curtains of the social club with beautifully uplifting vocal lines over their own brand of guitar rock. A perfect closer to the day from a band who have been away for a number of years and making a triumphant return with smiles on their faces.  

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Photo: Austin Tweddle