Following an understandable absence over the last two years, Stockton-on-Tees’ musical pride and joy is making its long-awaited return to the city with a slew of acts that have been garnering hype since the day the stages closed. Featuring a range of indie, pop, rock and alternative acts, there is certainly a performance for everyone across 2022’s eleven diverse stages.
While it certainly has a reputation for giving a leg-up to undiscovered up-and-comers, don’t be afraid to look deeper into names that might not yet seem familiar – after all, Stockton Calling has previously showcased the likes of Blossoms, Sam Fender and The Snuts before they would all go on to top the UK charts with outstanding debut records.
With this in mind, we’ve has selected just a few names that you should definitely check out during your time in Stockton in order to avoid FOMO when they cash in their hype.
ARC 2 | 7:15 pm
Edinburgh-based alt-rock quartet Swim School are sure to bring a fiery performance to Stockton Arts Centre. As their 2021 debut EP ‘making sense of it all’ proved, the group have a knack for navigating a confusing internal struggle through the utilisation of mountainous riffs and an expansive sonic soundscape, all led by singer Alice Johnson. The youthful blend of moody grunge and hazy pop tones proves to be a winning recipe on songs like ‘outside’, and formidable performances at festivals like Latitude and Twisterella have already displayed the group’s ability to direct their strong potential south of the Scottish border.
KU Stockton | 7:30 pm
More than once being named as a Sports Team clone by Alex Rice himself, Courting deliver a similar package of grit and tomfoolery whilst dodging cliches that often stick to the hot sweat of garage and punk groups. With new material being drip-fed before an Autumnal dance around the UK, the Scouse outfit have recently sequeled their debut EP title-track ‘Grand National’ with another tongue-in-cheek, sports-related release; new single ‘Tennis’ is a hook-driven track balancing melody and monologue to find a tone as playful as it is redemptive. Expect a greasy mess of bouncing listeners at this one, and do take off some layers if you’re checking it out.
The Link | 8:15 pm
An artist basing their charm in lofi guitar noodling and easily listenable pop melodies, Trunky Juno’s off-kilter tracks efferverse a broad sense of upbeat fun via bizarre and eccentric storytelling. 2021 EP ‘Good Dog’ continued to expand the North East artist’s gleeful discography with a distorted indie sensibility, with an opener that states: “Dreams are for weekends / That’s what my teachers said.” Quirky to the bone with no charade of sincerity, Trunky Juno puts on a show for like minded people who refuse to believe that this is the case.
POLICE CAR COLLECTIVE
Vault | 8:30 pm
Liverpool-based duo POLICE CAR COLLECTIVE may have made initial impressions with a nostalgia-bathed EP of “sexy indie music,” but new mixtape ‘MONEY MACHINE!’ narrates their reluctance to stay put in one headspace or sonic. During a highlight set at Reading festival, Simon Quigley and Frankie Beanie strutted on stage with bass and a mic respectively, bringing with them a sound that cannot be ignored. Having since reimagined themselves, the Bristol and Washington DC native are putting on the boxing gloves for round two, unafraid of chasing their fleeting thoughts into whatever musical box they may stumble into.
The Georgian Theatre | 9:30 pm
Perhaps the festival’s most definitive headliner, Self Esteem’s performance at Stockton Calling follows a successful run of cathartic headline shows basking in the glory of hit sophomore record, ‘Prioritise Pleasure’. Rebecca Lucy Taylor embodies a lifetime of experience and growth in her gloriously self-indulgent tracks and taps into the more dramatic elements of modern life as a woman for her bold live renditions. Attendees of past events cite a precisely choreographed set as a key focus, uniting fans against an age permeated by unspeakable misogyny and systematic injustice though careful spoken word that rises into wolf cries.