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Archipelago + Ripsaw Catfish  -  Tue May 30, 2017  |  08:00 pm
Admission £ 10.00 ( £ 8.00 concessions)
There are double bills where one band is the headliner and the other designated as ‘support’, and there are those where both are of equal stature. This gig, part of our 2017 ‘Women Make Music’ series, falls most certainly into the second category - in fact the question of who goes first might well be decided by a coin toss on the night!

It seems barely credible that Archipelago - the trio of Faye MacCalman, John Pope and Christian Alderson - have been performing for little more than a year, although they have already played a significant number of gigs, including sessions at both the Gateshead and Lancaster Jazz Festivals. During that time they have continued to develop an approach that sits somewhere between jazz, punk rock and free improv, with compositions that are effectively collages of constantly evolving and open-ended soundscapes. This is a band which seems poised to make a major national impact, and it’s great to have them launching their debut CD right here on their home turf.

Ripsaw Catfish is the collaboration of baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts - last on Tyneside as part of the Madwort Sax Quartet - and guitarist Anton Hunter. Their music, described in the Guardian as “intense, gnarly and experimental”, employs a collection of pre-composed elements which can then be drawn upon, or not, during the course of an improvisation. Such an open process means that the direction of any performance is entirely unpredictable, and may move from severely abstract rumination to more upbeat passages as Cath rides above Anton’s angular attack.

So, two bands employing loosely similar musical strategies, yet with utterly distinctive outcomes. A fascinating double bill of equals.

Tickets are available from the Jazz Café (0191 222 9882), Reflex CD (0191 260 3246) or online from

This gig is financially assisted by the PRS for Music Foundation.