WATCH: Little Mix slay the Brits with Black Magic

little mx mams

They may have walked away from the Brit Awards empty-handed, but our favourite girl band took home the accolade of best performance of the night.

Little Mix, pictured above with their mams(!) were nominated in two categories on the night, British Single and British Video, but lost out to Adele (it was a given) and One Direction (this was a fan vote – and you know those Directioners…) respectively.

The band, including South Shields’ Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, did however bring the house down with a tribal-infused rendition of their Number One single Black Magic. Looking flawless and complete with full dance routine and set against a backdrop of a Day of the Dead skull, the ladies proved that it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the slaying.

Watch their performance below:

Little Mix’s third album Get Weird is out now

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WATCH: Former Voice stars to represent UK at Eurovision

joe and jake

Duo Joe Woodford and Jake Shakeshaft have won Eurovision: You Decide to win the chance to represent the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The pair, who both competed as solo singers on the 2015 series of BBC’s The Voice, beat out acts including Bianca Claxton and Matthew James to win the honour to perform at this May’s contest in Stockholm, Sweden. They won the public vote with their catchy entry, You’re Not Alone.

“It feels amazing, I can’t even talk” Joe told host Mel Giedroyc, after winning the show. “It’s going to be amazing. We hope we make you all proud.”

We’re counting on you boys!

Watch their performance of You’re Not Alone below:

 

Guys and Dolls to go from West End to East End: The musical hit to tour in Newcastle

guys and dolls

One of the most-loved Hollywood musicals is set to wow audiences at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.

The iconic theatre will next month play host to Guys and Dolls, currently wowing audiences in London’s West End, when it goes on a national tour. The star-studded production features young theatre vets, such as star of Legally Blonde and Ghost, Richard Fleeshman, and the only actress to play both leading roles in Wicked, Louise Dearman. Alongside them will be Maxwell Caulfield, probably best-known for his roles in Grease 2, alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, and Emmerdale.

The sizzling New York tale of gamblers, gangsters and nightclub singers will leave you ‘Walking on air’ (The Daily Telegraph) with a glorious evening featuring some of Broadway’s greatest show-stopping tunes, including Luck be a Lady, Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat and My Time of Day. This unique production, coming directly from the capital, features choreography by Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta.

Tuesday March 22 – Saturday April 2. Tickets from £17 here

NOW PLAYING: Brit Award nominees playlist by Spotify

brit awards logo

Whether you’re wiling the work hours away until home time, or looking for a playlist to accompany a Brit Awards party tonight (which is what we’re counting down to, FYI) Spotify have put together the ultimate playlist of tonight’s nominated acts.

From Jess Glynne and Kendrick Lamar to Blur and Ariana Grande, via Catfish and the Bottlemen and Bjork, it is nothing if not eclectic – just like the awards themselves, which this year are all individual designs by punk fashion legend, Pam Hogg. Ant and Dec are returning to host this year’s ceremony. Stream the playlist below:

The Brit Awards, in association with Mastercard, are at 8pm on ITV1

NOW PLAYING: The Sound – The 1975

the 1975

The 1975 don’t seem to be too preoccupied with being cool, which is precisely what makes them exactly that. The Sound is the latest teaser from the band’s forthcoming album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.

Catchy title, mind.

But don’t let that put you off.

The song  is pure pop perfection – a near-perfect mix of ‘edge’ and tween appeal that One Direction would kill to have recorded – with clever lyrics to boot. Singer Matt Healy, who is the son of Geordie actors Tim Healy and Denise Welch, croons about a “sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe” with a pounding choral hook to make the girls (and looking at Healy, boys too) squeal: “I know when you’re around cause I know the sound of your heart”.

The 26-year-old front man has admitted the band is just as influenced by pop and R&B than the music of their rock contemporaries.

matt healy

“I think one of the main reasons our band is so groove orientated is because our influences are from R and B and Soul. My Mum was big into Motown like Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Kim Weston and stuff like that while my Dad was massively into the Stones, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, so that all played a part.” With last single Love Me sounding like an 80s INXS/Duran Duran love-in, and now The Sound, shrouded in pretty keyboards and punchy strings, adding another shade, this is one 2016 album we just can’t wait for.

The Sound is available to buy and download now. Album I Love It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It is out February 24

V Festival line-up first look: Justin Bieber and Rihanna to top the bill

Justin bieber

The organisers of this year’s V Festival have announced their headliners – and it looks like it could be the biggest year yet for pop fans.

Justin Bieber and Rihanna have been confirmed to play the event, held across two sites in Chelmsford and Staffordshire.

The US stars have both had mega years so far. Bieber is reeling from massive number one hits like Sorry and Love Yourself and will be making his V Fest debut, whereas the Barbadian songstress recently dropped eighth album ANTI and is riding the airwaves with lead single Work, featuring Drake.

rihanna

The announcement could put rest to those rumours about RiRi headlining Glastonbury. Organisers are touting her appearance as her “only UK festival of the summer”.

Other acts announced include David Guetta, Fleur East, Little Mix, Sia, Years and Years, Jess Glynne, Tinie Tempah and Lethal Bizzle.

Nostalgia will also be well-presented in the form of Faithless, Soul II Soul, Travis and the recently returning All Saints.

Tickets go on sale at 9.30am on Friday 26 February, with the full line-up set to be confirmed at 10pm on Wednesday 24 February, after the Brit Awards.

Tickets cost £189 plus booking fee for a weekend with camping, or £165 plus booking fee for a weekend without camping. Day tickets are also available for £89 plus booking fee.

v fest

NOW PLAYING: SIA – CHEAP THRILLS

The latest track from album This Is Acting to quench Sia fans’ thirst for pop bangers is Cheap Thrills, which the Aussie singer-songwriter extraordinaire this week revealed was turned down by Rihanna before she recorded it herself. The song isn’t your usual Sia fare – which isn’t a surprise as it is just one of a whole host of tracks she wrote for other artists, which were then rejected. Well jokes on them (we’re looking at you RiRi, Adele and Beyonce amongst others) as the album is a slice of pure, unapologetic pop perfection. This track in particular wreaks of Rihanna’s Bajan flava, with a bouncing beat accompanying the wigged one’s stunning voice along as she chants ‘I love cheap thrills!’. It doesn’t hurt that king of the dancehall Sean Paul (sans Blu Cantrell) features on this version. A girl after our own hearts.

Sia’s album This Is Acting is out now

The Week In Words: Your North East news round-up

brendan healy

It’s been a week of exciting highs and incredibly sad lows in North East news this week. The same week that saw Beyonce fans excitedly clamber to get tickets to her recently-announced show at the Stadium of Light this summer, saw sad news about some local legends.

Brendan Healy (above), the well-known comic and musician, passed away sadly at the age of 59. He had been battling cancer. Ant and Dec and Jimmy Nail led tributes to their fellow Geordie. Ant and dec tweeted: “Goodnight Bren. We will miss you xxx #RIP”. Nail gave a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” calling Healy a “fine man”. Healy’s family released a statement praising the way he dealt with cancer.

The post said: “His strength, dignity and humour throughout his illness is an inspiration to all his friends and family.

“A much loved husband, father, brother, son, uncle and friend to many, he will be sorely missed.”

 

On the same day Healy’s death was reported, This Morning‘s resident agony aunt Denise Robertson also revealed she was battling cancer.

denise robertson

The Sunderland-born TV star announced via ITV1 show’s Facebook page that she has pancreatic cancer but remained positive about her diagnosis. “We know that many others have suffered and dealt with this condition and I don’t plan to give up without a fight,” her post read. TV magician Paul Daniels, from Middlesbrough, also revealed this week that he is battling an incurable brain tumour. His wife Debbie has asked for privacy for her, Paul and their family. Our thoughts are with them all.

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In other news, it was revealed that global megastar Beyonce’s summer gig at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland would bring millions of pounds to the local economy. The tickets for the show, all 52,000 of them, have now sold out. Rihanna on the other hand will not be gracing Wearside with her presence – she announced that she would be cancelling her show at the venue due to “logistical reasons”.

The Rocky Horror show also rolled into town this week, taking up residency at the Sunderland Empire. Read our review here! It was certainly an experience.

Adobe RGB profile. No identifiable faces due to long exposure blur.

And last but by no means least, the Hoppings WILL return to the region this summer! The historic fun fair will set up shop on Newcastle’s Town Moor from June 17-25. After being cancelled in 2013, we are delighted the 130-year-old tradition is still alive and well. Hoorah!

 

North East music talent to unite for Ubeat Live at Riverside

A host of the North East music scene’s most talented artists will be performing at a special one-off gig at Riverside next week.

Ubeat Live will see 12 acts from series four of the Ubeat TV television show come together for the gig at the quayside nightclub. Those taking to the stage include award-winning Bre Musiq and Olivia Devine, as well as Jamie Lee Harrison and band North Road.

Dan Charles, who created and hosts the TV show on Made in Tyne and Wear, told us how important supporting local talent is. “It’s really hard to build a solid fan base these days. But because of platforms like Ubeat, which is dedicated in supporting emerging music, we are able to showcase new artists on a huge scale for free. This gig is an opportunity for fans of the TV show to see their favourite acts live on stage.”

dan charles

Dan Charles (above) is behind the event

With so much talent emerging from the local music scene and nowhere to showcase it, he saw a gap in the market to help them out. “Basically the idea of the show came from me sitting in my living room watching YouTube videos of awesome musicians doing their thing, so we decided to make an online music show.

“Off the back of the success of that, last year we managed to get the show commissioned on TV, opening the show and the artists on it up to a whole new audience. And now we’re on to our fourth brilliant series, with over 200,000 viewers watching every week.”

And with this latest gig, it looks like the future is bright for the show, and its artists. “Our plan is to carry on focusing on helping breaking and promoting more new and emerging talent. The wheels are in motion to start filming our fifth series, plus we’ll be hosting more events, and of course our huge awards show at the end of the year which will be broadcast live on TV from the O2 main stage.”

Ubeat Live is on Thursday, February 25 18.30 at Riverside. Tickets are £8 and are available at the Long Play Café or online here

ubeat poster

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show drags up and brings the house down in Sunderland

 

rocky horror show

As the bedazzled, dragged up punters filed into the Empire Theatre, I couldn’t help but feel a little underdressed. A shirt, jeans and an overcoat not does a Rocky Horror fanatic make. However, for someone who hadn’t seen the show or the 1975 film of the same name, I went into it with an open mind – and left with my eyes truly opened.

Things didn’t begin overly promising, though. Dreary staging does nothing to help show opener Science Fiction Double Feature – lovely vocals aside, for a show that packs a powerful punch mere minutes later, the audience isn’t exactly left gagging for more. Within a few songs though, the audience are up out of their seats for the infamous Time Warp. Never have I seen a theatre crowd on their feet as quickly as this one.

Liam Tamne is the perfect mix of masculinity and feminine sex appeal as Frank N Furter. Parading up stage like the cat that got the cream, he makes what is a notoriously difficult role look effortless. This is more of a singer’s take on Frank, whereas Tim Currie’s famous turn was more about the aesthetic. Here, Tamne nails both in his quest to, well, nail both Janet and Brad. he is sexy, intoxicating and vocally sensational.

Ben Freeman is also a revelation. You may know him as an ex-Emmerdale actor but he has been building quite the theatre CV since he left the soap, with leading parts in West End productions like Wicked and Legally Blonde. Here he’s camping it up as Brad alongside Diana Vickers’ Janet – high school sweethearts in perverted gaze of Frank, who wants to have his wicked way with them. Vickers plays sweet and innocent well and her american accent, along with Freeman’s, is spot-on. If you’re expecting the nasal, indie princess from The X Factor then you’re at the wrong show. Her voice has matured for the better. Mentions must go to the supporting players. Kristin Lavercombe as Riff-Raff, Sophie Linder-Lee as Columbia and Kay Murphy as Magenta continually threaten to upstage the leads. An ensemble playing off of each other is the heart of any show and here there is heart in abundance.

The show is essentially a sing-a-long version of the film. If Rocky Horror fans are anything, they’re   fanatical. I’m not sure whether the whooping and shouting out of sexual innuendos adds to the experience – it’s hard to get lost in a story when theres a thousand others sharing it (loudly) with you. In Act Two, it definitely helps – encores of Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite bring the house down and the audience are once again on their feet. Don’t expect a reserved audience – they are essentially part of the cast here. And although they may not be on the stage, they put in one hell of a performance.

The Rocky Horror Show is at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday February 20. Click here for tickets