The North Easts largest inner-city music festival ‘Hit the North’ packed a punch into the bank holiday weekend. With 16 of the best music venues in Newcastle showcasing a jam-packed line up for the festival this year. This year did not disappoint, the night before was spent planning set times and venue logistics and of course, food pit stops!

As I roll up into the city (not via metro), the vibe is happening and it’s great to see and hear non-locals flooding out of the train station with Hit The North maps and wrist bands.

First stop today is at the Boiler Shop, where I have managed to bag a quick chat with punk band The Dunts. The Dunts are playing the Think Tank? At 5:15 so it was really cool of them to squeeze InNewcastle in for a few questions before the gig. The lads – fresh from playing Leeds the night before were a spritely bunch ready to hit Newcastle with their live set which includes their latest EP release ‘Self Proclaimed Council Punks’ which has had rave reviews after The Dunts blasted SXSW with their live council punk glory.


The Dunts are Rab, David, Colin and Kyle great pals from the south side of inner-city Glasgow. Formed for the love of making noise these four punk pals make no bones about letting go in their live performances. Having made a huge imprint at SXSW this year the band sees their touring schedule ram packed. Having played Leeds the nights before, The Dunts are ready for Hit The North Festival. I caught up with The Dunts before their gig at The Think Tank.

You guys have just played Leeds – how was it?

Rab – Good – It was really good! A little empty towards the start of the set but as the first few songs went past it started panning out and by the end of it people were crowd surfing so I’d say it was successfully converted.
Kyle – It’s the first gig we’ve played since coming back from America and the first gig that we’ve played in the UK since January so it felt great to be back on stage.

SXSW – How on earth was that?!

Kyle – Aww it was incredible – I had just said I didnae want to come back after that!

Rab – It was just so different me and Colin had never been to America before – it’s kinda amazing and humbling to be there for the first time and knowing its on account of your musical side of it, it’s just mindblowing, the people over there are so friendly, its such a big place everything is bigger everything is busier – just full on all the time

Colin – We didn’t what to expect in terms of crowds as well as we know at SXSW – you could be playing pizza shops and stuff, there might only be five people and; we know people who have played before who’ve played to empty rooms – we were a bit worried it was gonna be like that. We played two gigs and both gigs were full, people were getting knocked back at the door, that meant a lot to us. Even then after that, we were like “aw this must be an accident” but people were genuinely into us and listen to us and wanted to see us live – which is good knowing that anyone listens to our music; considering we are from Scotland – that’s pretty amazing.

David – Aw it was so good

The Dunts are self-released, Your fans must be quite die hard, do you have quite a following in then?

Colin – Yeah, they are so passionate, when it used to be our friends jumping about we like ‘ah this is cool’ – they’re our friends and it means a lot to them it means a lot to us but, when it got to the point where it was strangers throwing themselves off stage – mosh pittin’ and stage diving about sweating their heads off – and that means so much to us. Especially seeing the younger crowd as well, we did a 14 plus gig in Glasgow and noticed 50% of our audience were of that age, as soon as we did that we agreed that we wouldn’t do anything other than that. We thought well in ten years time they might look back on that and it was a good time for them when they were young.

Rab – It happened to me – the bands I used to like and the bands I used to go see live – they are still with me, your musical taste kind of progress’s when you grow up but those bands where the bands that kicked it all off for me in terms of starting to like the type of music I like.

What bands?

Rab – Er well, bands like The Libertines – I’ve got a Libertines tattoo that I got on a whim when I was seventeen. I don’t really listen to them too much anymore but they were still a huge influence on me becoming the person I am today, they had such an influence on me growing up and a gateway band to the bands I listen to now.

Colin – Like local bands, there is more of a scene now but, when we were about 9/10-year-old that’s when bands like Franz Ferdinand the Fratellis came about. Seeing them at The Brit Awards – hearing people with your own accent – gives you more belief that you can do it.

You are all from the same Council estate is that right?

David – Er, well different estates – me and Kyle both stayed in Renfrew but even then it was two different council estates.

Kyle – I still stay there!

Colin – I was like, what you call a ‘scheme hopper’ which means someone who moves around a lot and someone who has lived on different council estates

Kyle – (Laughing) it’s looked down upon (all laughing)

Do you think your living environment has had an influence on your music?

Rab – I would say it has had a pretty big influence – its all about the way you are thinking and the way your creative mind works. For me, when I am trying to get a message across about something that’s happened to me growing up it’s heavily influenced by how I felt then and how I feel now, that has an impact on me yeah. When you are talking about the instrumental side that comes down to more of your musical influences that have played a big part in that but, some of the messages in our songs – not all of them as some of them are about weird things like interviews with John Lydon – songs that are about stuff that’s happened to us – yeah that (living environment) has definitely had a big influence.


The Dunts and the Think Tank were like a match made in heaven. The DIY punk-feel venue was a great way to see the band fully mosh through their set. Even when the amp gave way on Colin’s side, the band stood strong. I have worked in and among the UK/Aus Punk scene for nearly 15 years and it has been a while since I have seen teenagers moshing with serious Geordie punk scene royalty. The Dunts shouted their final song ‘Birds and The Beez’ and gained screams from the group at the front and bellows of oi from the back. All members tight and Kyle on drums with reckless abandon and the crowd nodding to the beat.

The Dunts have a jam-packed summer ahead. Catch them while you can, while the gigs are still raw.


Hit The North is bustling, you can see gangs of happy people criss crossing roads with timetables and yellow wrist bands (excellent choice in colour as people can approach each other for directions) after squeezing into the ThinkTank for The Dunts set and a bit of FLOR, the time is now just after 6 as I race through the streets of Newcastle heading towards the next venue – The Riverside which is situated on the historic Quayside.

The thing about a festival like HTN is that and as much as you’d like to, you can’t split yourself into Two! Multiple acts are playing in the same time slots as a gig attendee you feel in total control of who and what you want your festival to include. Tossing a coin is an option but not in this instance I may add…. my no no brainer is the band Mini Mansions and the guys from LA sprung from the listings pamphlet that reminded me of a London Underground tube station map (bit of a riddle).

Mini Mansions are described as the type of gang whose charm lies in their individual idiosyncrasies. A trio of partners-in-crime, best friends and brothers in all but blood, Michael Shuman, Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford’s unique personalities are reflected in their third forthcoming album “Guy Walks Into A Bar…” This is a band I have been meaning to see for so long, it is a real treat that they are here in Newcastle tonight.

The Riverside was heaving inside, with the look of the crowd knew that I wasn’t alone In my knowledge that Mini Mansions contained band members made up from more well known bands, Mini Mansions are a subtly cool super group, it is incredible to think that they are playing an intimate gig here in Newcastle tonight. On vocals/guitar we Michael (shoes) Schuman Queens Of The Stoneage, playing bass Zach Dawes Last Shadow Puppets and on vocals/keyboard Tyler Parkford touring member with the Arctic Monkeys and if that was impressive enough they’d only drafted in Jon Theodore QOTSA to play the drums for the night!!

Introductions over, the Mini Mansions set about entertaining the crowd with psychedelic pop fuelled glam rock, Michael and Tyler’s falsetto vocals effortlessly entwined with sublime guitar riffs, their quality was clear not only to hear but to see too, they prowled the stage totally engrossed and clearly enjoying themselves.

Even though it seemed the performance had some technical issues the band blasted their sound regardless. Theodore on drums a total powerhouse along with the deep hiss of Schman with the sprinkle of Parkfords synths and deep growl of Dawes bass. A Standout track for me was “Bad Things (that make you feel…)” this track is featured on the third LP “Guy Walks Into A Bar”. Mini Mansion finished with a final track – from their new release, the name I have no idea of but I know the performance was a on-off showstopper, the sound came together perfectly.

An unforgettable performance, ringing true to what Hit The North is all about, a chance to experience some unforgettable never again live shows around intimate venues around the city.

After the gig I purchased an EP from the band’s merch stall to my surprise I was only served by Zach Dawes and got a selfie with him to boot…. happy days!

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Disclosure: All Reviews have been provided by gifted opportunities or press access offered to us in return for an open and honest review. All reviews are subject to the opinion of the reviewer.


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