Mancunian legends James arrived on Teesside at the weekend, bringing with them in tow a stellar bill of established and emerging indie outfits. Saturday’s gig was billed as the biggest show in Darlington this year.

Elsewhere around the region, persistent rain wreaked havoc with the weekend’s events. On Saturday it was announced that Loosefest in Newcastle was cancelled due to a “weather bomb”. But in Darlington, it was a case of the show must go on.

Thankfully a break in the rain occurred around 2 pm as the gates of Darlington Arena opened to the public. The sun poked through the clouds as the first band of the afternoon, the Pale Blue Eyes kicked off the proceedings. The Sheffield-based quartet thoroughly entertained the early birds with their infectious synth-driven sounds.

Likewise, The Cairos from Liverpool turned up the heat with a lively set mid-afternoon. Playing in front of their biggest crowd to date, the four-piece won over a whole raft of new fans in Darlington.

Read more: In pictures: James take to the stage at Darlington Arena

Performing beneath an overcast sky can be a daunting task. Under such circumstances, you need a band who can make the poncho-clad audience forget about the weather. Armed with an arsenal of indie anthems such as This Is An Emergency, Take Her Back, and I’m Not Sorry, The Pigeon Detectives did exactly that.

A huge crowd was in attendance by the time local lads Maximo Park arrived at Mowden Park. Frontman Paul Smith recollected going to see James play at Middlesbrough Town Hall on his 18th Birthday. Fast forward to the present day, and now they get to share the same bill.

The Northern Echo: James at Darlington Arena. Saturday August 5

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A classic set from the North East based art rockers followed that included crowd-pleasing airings of By The Monument, Graffiti, Books From Boxes, Our Velocity, and Girls Who Played Guitars. Saturday’s set marked Maximo Park’s last show of the year. Smith teased the fans that the band are getting ready to head back into the studio very soon. Maximo Park raised the bar high for those to follow.

Read more: Why it took me 35 years after buying a ticket to see James play live in Darlington

And if anyone was up for the challenge of following Maximo Park, it was The Editors. As the band took to the stage, clear skies made way for a lovely evening in Darlington. And with their up-tempo danceable beat and guitar fuelled rhythms, The Editors had Darlington Arena in the palms of their hands from the off. Munich, along with an incredible cover of Killer by Seal, were some of the highlights of The Editors set. A lively airing of Papillon brought an explosive conclusion to a brilliant set.

The Northern Echo: James at Darlington Arena. Saturday August 5

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Around 9 pm, it was time for the headliners to arrive. The group casually assembled on stage and launched into Sound. Tim Booth had the audience transfixed with his incredible dance moves during Isabella.

By the third song of the set Waltzing Along, the lead singer stepped off the stage and greeted fans in the front row. Booth continued to sing the remainder of the song whilst perched on the security fence. The headliners made the show feel intimate, even inside a colossal stadium.

Frustration was one of the many highlights early in the set. James took the crowd back to the 80s with an uplifting airing of Hymn from a Village.

By the time the band got to Come Home, Booth once again ventured out into the middle of the arena. Illuminated by a white spotlight, the crowd went wild as the lead singer stood above the audience, serenading the fans on the pitch. It was a special moment in the evening for sure.

The Northern Echo: James at Darlington Arena. Saturday August 5

Fan favourites like She’s a Star, Say Something and the instantly recognisable Sit Down had the whole stadium singing along at the tops of their voices.

With a career spanning 40 years, James proved in Darlington that they are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.