The QT

Saturday 15 June 2024

Review: Ladies X Rock N Raise

Chart-topping singer songwriter Ella Henderson led a procession of North East talent on night when thousands of pounds was raised for worthy causes
Ella Henderson headlining Ladies X Rock N Raise. Credit: Neil Ferry

It’s long been the ambition of Rock N Raise driving force Angie Jenkison to shine a light on the female talent breathing new life into the North East’s vibrant music scene.

And at a time when it seems more and more inspirational women are making their powerful voices heard across the region, an event that’s been years in the planning proved to be a suitably triumphant affair.

Headliner Ella Henderson might not be local… but her manager is. 

And once Gateshead born and raised tastemaker Vicky Dowdall lined up her chart-busting client to top the Ladies X Rock N Raise bill it was game on.

From top to bottom this celebratory shindig showcased the incredible depth — and breadth — of North East singer songwriters.

And Henderson said it best of all when she wrapped up a short but incredibly sweet set by reiterating the need to support aspiring female artists as they navigate an historically challenging industry.

The former reality TV star, who picked up an Official Charts award for 10 Top 10 singles in 10 years the previous week, reinforced her reputation as a generational vocal powerhouse as she fronted exceptional house band, Groovetrain, in fine style.

Henderson’s heartfelt support for Rock N Raise’s homegrown talent underpinned the key message running through this special night: nurturing the next generation has never been more necessary.

And the voice behind hits Ghost and Alibi took time to thank a packed crowd for digging deep and making their own voices matter: every penny raised from ticket sales went straight to supporting Teenage Cancer Trust (Henderson is a long-time supporter), The Sir Graham Wylie Foundation and Cash For Kids North East.

The honour of opening things up went to hotly tipped Northumberland duo Dani & Zara and the triple threat twins dazzled under the Wylam Brewery glitterball.

Treating the masses to a version of new tune Casino, the sisters look set to take 2024 by storm after inking a multi-album record deal with EMI.

Next up was 2023 Alan Hull Award winner Katie Grace. Now based at London’s Trinity Laban, the Tynemouth-based singer songwriter was announced as a late special guest on her return to the North East.

And ahead of this summer’s Camp Bestival appearances, the 19-year-old took the opportunity to debut new tune I Will Talk If You Talk — a typically haunting ballad featuring Grace’s beloved banjo.

Rock N Raise regular Lorraine Crosby — aka Meat Loaf collaborator Mrs Loud — joined the multi-talented Groovetrain for a run through of rock favourites before rapper Kay Greyson brought her quick-fire rap to the table.

The Geordie star, who signed her own deal with EMI North last autumn, hot footed it from a prior engagement across town to mix things up on the Wylam stage.

And the classy Greyson commanded the stage as one of the region’s most authentic and creatively ambitious artists continues to go from strength to strength.

The female-fronted Groovetrain bookended Henderson’s set with their trademark funk, soul and pop — singers Angela Newbrook, Steph Kay and Rebecca Patton setting the seal on another sensational set.

Six editions in and ‘Ladies X’, compered by Hits Radio’s irrepressible Stephanie Hirst and expertly managed by musical director and Groovetrain head honcho Michael Lavery, raised the Rock N Raise bar. Look out for lucky number seven… coming soon. 

The Ladies X Rock N Raise line-up featuring Ella Henderson (centre). Credit: Neil Ferry


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