Play Hard

Indie house: Here’s the online gigs you should check out this Independent Venue Week

As The Globe in Newcastle joins the nationwide initiative, we look at what some of our favourite indie venues have to offer online this week

Written by High Life North
Published 23.01.2021

By Becky Hardy

There’s just something about an independent performance venue, isn’t there? That je ne sais quoi factor about sipping a cheeky craft, watching an act that you’re willing to swear is going to make it to the big time from about three feet away, sometimes packed in so tightly with other like-minded flâneurs that you can smell what they had for their tea before they came out. Those are the nights you always remember, no matter how much you had to drink.

But from an artist’s point of view, indie venues give them their first show of support; they’re the first stage they get to perform in front of a live audience on. And for better or worse, the biggest learning curve of their career happens on that stage. Similarly, these venues are a Mecca to anyone who wants a career in live entertainment behind the curtain – offering an unrivalled opportunity to learn up close from real experts in stagecraft. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that independent venues are the very backbone of the live performance scene. And we know plenty of others who feel the same.

Because these venues aren’t just places to go to catch some live music – they’re cultural hubs for learning about and creating art, all the while bringing people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and walks of life together like only art can. And we’re so lucky that right here in the North East, our independent scene is alive and thriving (if, admittedly, taking some enforced downtime right now).

All this (and more) is why indie venues are among the things we’ve been missing most since the pandemic began – and why we couldn’t be bigger fans of Independent Venue Week, this year more than ever.

IVW is probably the only nationwide initiative that has a completely local feel to it. A seven-day celebration of performance venues across the country, and a more-than-deserved nod to all the incredible folk who own, run and work in them week after week, IVW has created an entirely online programme for 2021 – with over 141 virtual events taking place across the UK. Which means, in the true spirit of indie venues, we’re getting even better access to some of the most exciting performers on the live circuit than ever before, albeit not in the flesh.

Community-owned music venue The Globe is doing Newcastle proud in the national stakes by becoming officially involved in IVW, and offers up a bumper weekend of live music to celebrate. And while you can also tune into the other IVW events going on across the country too, (don’t miss the launch of IVW ambassador Arlo Parks’ debut album on Friday 29th January), there’s plenty more livestream events going on right here in Newcastle. Don’t believe us? Read on…


7.30 pm, Monday 25th January

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

The first of Alphabetti Theatre’s Listen Up project – which aims to showcase nine short audio plays written by underrepresented writers in the North East – There’s Nothing To Worry About is just what we need to hear right about now. An exciting thriller written by local actor, playwright and comedian Julie Burrow (who is currently working on another project about a six-foot showbiz moth, FYI), There’s Nothing To Worry About promises to entertain.

Livestream is free on a donate-what-you-can basis.

Find out more at Alphabetti Theatre


7 pm, Monday 25th January

Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle

This powerful play tells the remarkable true story of two ordinary lasses from Sunderland, who achieved extraordinary things. They were an eccentric pair: spinster sisters who lived for opera, traveling the world to listen to their favourite performers sing. Yet Ida and Louise Cook harboured a secret – for years they worked to bring Jews out of Nazi Europe, using their avid opera-going as an elaborate cover.

Livestream is free to watch.

Find out more at Gosforth Civic Theatre



8 pm, Friday 29th January

The Globe, Newcastle

The Globe is offering up a bumper weekend of live-streams thanks to its involvement with IVW, and kicking us off on Friday is Serious Sam, who is definitely up there with some of our favourite curly-haired Yorkshire folk singers. Having garnered plenty of attention in the UK after the release of his debut album Close To Home back in 2009, he has since toured the US widely too, usually in the company of friends and fellow skaters The Pine Hill Haints. If you want to catch what is really a pretty magical amalgamation of clawhammer banjo, southern blues, and quintessentially English wit, then seriously – Sam’s your guy.

Tickets for livestream are £7.50, £15.00 or £20.00.

Find out more at The Globe



7 pm, Friday 29th January

Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle 

South Shields singer-songwriter Cortney was brought up on an eclectic mix of Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, Bowie and The Clash, and you can hear a little bit of all of those influences come together in her wistful, whimsical musicianship. First championed by BBC Introducing in the North East as one of their Top 10 Tips for 2020, Cortney can now boast another collection of songs to her live offering – those she wrote and produced for her own sanity during lockdown.

Livestream is free to watch.

Find out more at Gosforth Civic Theatre


8 pm, Saturday 30th January

The Globe, Newcastle

Sunderland may be known as the home of the Black Cats, but these indie rockers have just about had it with Lady Luck in all her forms. Made up of a couple of brothers and their school mates, the quartet are rough and rambunctious in equal measure and promise to have you roaring away to their big ol’ choruses at home just like you would if you were actually there. A sonic stress-buster if ever we’ve heard one.

Tickets for livestream are £7.50, £15.00 or £20.00.

Find out more at The Globe


8 pm, Sunday 31st January

The Globe, Newcastle

To say the music of these four performers is energetic is a serious understatement. Made up of two of the pillars in Newcastle’s jazz scene – bassist Andy Champion and guitarist Mark Williams – alongside two recent Leeds College of Music graduates, saxophonist Harry Keeble and drummer Abbie Finn, this quartet are making huge waves on the jazz circuit. Even if jazz isn’t usually your thing, we’d give this gig a go.

Tickets for livestream are £7.50, £15.00 or £20.00.

Find out more at The Globe

Independent Venue Week takes place from 25th–31st January. For more information and to buy tickets to any of the livestream events, visit the IVW website, their Facebook page or on Instagram

Other stories by High Life North
A month in the life of Laura KIngston - editor of High Life North magazine

A month in the life of our editor – November

High Life North
Bistro Greggs Fenwick Newcastle Pop Up Fine Dining Restaurant

Bistro Greggs launches at Fenwick Newcastle

High Life North
Three Mile Gosforth

Christmas is coming at Three Mile, Gosforth. Here are the dates for your diary

High Life North
Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth

Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth is the family-friendly neighbourhood eatery with a new menu to check out

High Life North
Derwent Manor Hotel

A Christmas market, baking with elves and NYE in a Tipi – the festive events at Derwent Manor Hotel this 2023

High Life North
Rest at the Nest County Durham Staycation Lodges

Rest at the Nest – a perfect couple’s staycation in County Durham

High Life North