Time stood still for nobody on August 12 as indie rockers, The Longsands, made their eagerly anticipated return to the music scene, showing little sign of a recent hiatus as they, quite literally, rocked The Cluny.
Backed already by celebrity support in Bez from the Happy Mondays, and Whispering Bob Harris from BBC Radio 2 they made sure that the fans got all that and more when performing tracks old, and new for their adoring fans.
They were there, in their hundreds, old and young alike – even former ‘Sands guitarist, Gaz Ormston put in an appearance in support of his former colleagues.
Craig Redpath and The Red Jets opened in style and set the tone for what would fast become an exhilarating night of non-stop indie rock that was certainly worth the journey out.
When they finally took the stage The Cluny erupted, rightly so as it had been a while since they last played together as a full band.
Opening proceedings with the first track from their new album, a masterpiece in ‘Adrenaline Junkie Flu,’ embarking upon a full repertoire of sound from both ‘Meet Me in Spanish City’ and ‘Us & Them.’
There was even time for an unscheduled acoustic set mid-show thanks to an issue with Callum Thompson’s guitar that needed urgent repair, showing that anything can happen performing live.
Interaction with the fans was in order throughout, it always is at a Longsands gig; they don’t demand it, it just comes naturally for who they’ve become, more so as tracks such as Bully, Where’s My Daddy Gone and Scissors and Stone among others.
Favourites such as Streets and Pavements, North South Divide, Standing in the Shadows and Little Britain got deserved, welcome reception.
Trevor Cox and Ian Barnes vocalised to the hilt, Callum Thompson and David Stanyer chipped in with their own around their strumming to their hearts content, and Paul Stephenson had his drums reverberating around the venue adding extra to the occasion.
No matter what they played from their impressive catalogue of music, Longsands followers old and new hung on every last note.
It was like they had never been away, and the return, well it could be the start of something really special.
Following a brief spell in the wilderness, The Longsands are back with a new album and a string of UK shows in 2016.
The band, originating from Cramlington in Northumberland, consists of Trevor Cox (lead vocals), Ian Barnes (guitar), David Stanyer (lead guitar), Paul Stephenson (drums) and Callum Thompson (bass).They rose to dizzy heights after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Meet me in Spanish City’ in 2012; performing live on Radio 2, sharing the stage with Jools Holland and Ocean Colour Scene and receiving huge praise from the likes of Bruce Foxton and Dave Stewart. But what have they been up two for the last few years and why has it taken so long for new material? I caught up with The Longsands last week to find our more…
“It was the second I walked off stage having just performed to a sell-out crowd at the Dublin Academy for the second night in a row, I remember it like yesterday,” recalls Ian.
“I walked straight out into the crowd and up the stairs to where my Mum and Dad were sitting.I held my Dad’s hand and asked, ‘did you enjoy that mate?’ As he looked back at me proud as punch and smiled, I knew that this might be the last big show he’d see me perform at.”
Ian’s Dad, had been diagnosed with Cancer just weeks before the band headed over to Ireland to tour with Ocean Colour Scene.
“Paul was going through something very similar.His Mam had taken ill just days before our tour with Ocean Colour Scene.He was unable to come and we had to get replacement drummer Ian Richardson in last minute.As you can imagine, this was taking its toll on us all and at a time when the ball had really started build momentum, the band just wasn’t the main priority.”
“Everything we were going through made us all take stock of our lives.We’d been on the road touring and making records for 7 years nonstop!Something had to give; I decided that I would not continue as a full time band member anymore.Everyone was very supportive and we all agreed to put family and life before the band and take some time off.Although none of us said it, I don’t think we thought we’d make another record at that point.”
Unfortunately Paul’s Mam and Ian’s Dad both lost their battles with cancer later that year.
Fast forward to early 2015 and on a cold Tuesday night in Cramlington, The Longsands regrouped to discuss the making of a second album.One thing that tough times often bring with them is creativity, something this band have always had in hoards! Armed with an arsenal of new tracks Ian and Trevor had written during this period The Longsands were born again.
“We rattled through the songs and it was like we had never been away!If anything we sounded better,” recalls Stan.We decided very quickly that we should book some studio time and just go in and record them, live, raw and as a work in progress.”
The end result was stunning! At the back end of last year fans were finally treated to two new releases, both unique in their own right. The first was released days before the General Election and was entitled ‘Tomorrow we Vote,’ a classic track timed to perfection; although Ian insists it’s timing was completely coincidental!
The second was the provocative ‘Standing in the Shadows,’ already a timeless classic having been performed at previous Longsands shows in the past but never recorded. Both feature on the upcoming album ‘Us and Them.’
“The mix sounds great and we’re really excited about it. The new album has an interesting element to it. We’ve just tried to write about what has been going on. The music and message is very ‘here and now’ and I think that it will be something people can relate to.”
For lead guitarist David Stanyer the return signifies the magnitude and standing which The Longsands have on a national level adding: “We hadn’t seen each other or played together for quite a long time prior to the recording.”
“Some of the songs weren’t even finished and we were still writing them in the studio. But the vibe we got off each other being locked away for that week away from everything got us doing what we do best, being lads, having a laugh and playing great music!”
“It’s been a long time coming for us and the fans but I think it’s been worth the wait. It’s our second coming so to speak.”
It’s evident that The Longsands would love another run, with the album, the bands long-awaited second, and subsequent gig at The Cluny, hopefully being a catalyst for bigger days ahead.
After all, who could forget the challenges they laid out between late 2010 and early 2011 with the likes of Mike Tyson, Shay Given, the Newcastle Falcons et al remember them. It’s certainly crossing the minds of the lads and their manager Steve Wraith.
Vocalist Trevor Cox added: “I’d like to be able to get back out there and get onto national radio, like we did with Bob Harris, but we just need to keep things tight and give people a good show, after all that’s what they want. We may even play some tracks that nobody has heard before as well (at the gig).
“A lot of things have changed in all our lives but, saying that, I’d love to go on from this and make a third album; with having a strong team around us we feel there’s more credibility to what we have produced this time around on ‘Us & Them.’ I found it really encouraging to get all of the band together and we should be able to keep things going.”
What about ‘Us & Them’ though?
Longsands followers have waited a long time for new material which the new album brings, nearly four years have passed since the debut ‘Meet me in Spanish City’ was dropped with classics such as ‘Little Britain,’ ‘Streets and Pavements’ and ‘Bully.’
Now, with the new album fans will soon be raising the roof to ‘Standing in the Shadows,’ ‘Berlin,’ ‘Choices’ and more.
It’s certainly gearing up to be a night to remember, an unforgettable one where The Longsands live up to the prophecy from The People newspaper in that they are a “Newcastle band set to be huge.”
There’s a plethora of indie rock sounds coming out of the north east region in recent times and Sunderland-based six-piece, SocialRoom, are firmly adding themselves to that list.
Consisting of vocalist Matty Smith, guitarists Adam Potts and Simon Bewick, bassist Alex Gunn, drummer Adam ‘Sticks’ Jefferson and keys specialist Chris Leonard the lads finish 2016 with an unexpected, but welcomed, Ubeat award nomination for ‘Best Band,’ where they face some stiff competition.
Forming just last year, this was their first summer doing festivals, an occasion they used to show themselves on the bigger stage. Now though they are in need of keep the momentum going and, with the following they have already gathered in their native Sunderland, they can build towards a productive, progressive future in the music industry.
Now, as they prepare for their fourth single, and second single launch with Be Forever Mine (at Independent, Sunderland on December 17),SocialRoom are preparing themselves for the next step in their music journey, and as friends it’s a one they’re looking forward to doing.
“Matt (vocalist) and I have known each for years and I went to college with one of the other lads,” began guitarist Adam Potts.
“We’ve all known each other through mates and, as we’re not getting any younger, thought we’d give it the best shot we could.
“It was difficult to start off with as well but we had a great debut year (two gigs at Newcastle’s O2 Academy and a successful first single launch at Independent are testament to that) so we’re now just looking at keeping things going, getting that momentum on our side and, with our own place we can just go for it without distraction.”
Be Forever Mine comes fast on the heels of tracks like Let Me See You Work It, and SR7, their debut single and provides that mix that has already seen them likened to artists such as the Arctic Monkeys and the Stereophonics whilst stating influences of Kasabian and the Rolling Stones.
“We’re enjoying it and lucky that we have built up a really good fan base already,” continued Adam.
“When we released the single on video it had something like 1700 views in just 12 hours and over 3500 by the end of the week which was crazy; although we got a little worried to begin with when we noticed the likes and shares on social media but that it had had only ten views (time lapses can do that with technology).
“We’re lucky to know the people that we do though and they’ve been a great help, more so with the videos we’ve released. Now though the focus is firmly on the single launch and we’re hoping that we can sell this out just as we did last year.
“That was probably the best gig we’ve done so far and the atmosphere in there is amazing, then we can look at next year where we’re hoping to focus on gigs and festivals on the road some more, get our name out there.”
Describing their music as being soaring “melodies underpinned by dance induced rock and roll beats.” Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @SocialRoomBand.
Newcastle-based all-female trio, Scream of Sirens, are a rock band out to make a lot of noise and show that, in the words of their latest single, they are going to ‘Get Some.’
Fronted by vocalist Steph Dawson and flanked by Ruth Cranston (guitar and vocals) and Emma Anderson (drums and vocals), the trio only recently came into the scene in their current form late last year and are presently making announcements aplenty regarding singles, signing with a publishing company, and enlisting the guidance of a Media & PR specialist.
“We were approached by Wipe Out Music Publishing’s John Esplen as they were very interested in what we’ve been doing,” began Ruth.
“He’d heard our single ‘Get Some’ on BBC Introducing and liked the differing styles which we offer (in comparison to other clients they have). They’ve already got a good, varied roster so we are definitely looking forward to working with them.
“Our EP, Scream, which was released earlier this year, has been signed over to them and we’ve been afforded plenty of options to work with them in the future which is great for us.”
That EP contains tracks such as ‘Let You Go’ and ‘Get Some’ which came fast on the back of a debut show which saw them supporting Cherie Currie, the voice of The Runaways, putting them straight into the mix and which had Currie saying afterwards: “You rock, great band, keep it up!”
In the twelve months ‘Scream’ has done just that, screamed at the rock-loving public meaning they are looking at more, and sooner than later, Ruth adding: “Both the EP and the single, ‘Get Some’ has been going down really well which is amazing for us, we’re delighted they done as well as they have.
“The single, ‘Let You Go,’ has been done for a video now which will be released in the next few weeks and we’re hoping we can get another one out before the end of the year, after that, and a few gigs, we’ll take a little time to finalise the album which comes out later next year.”
Whilst planning their album for 2017 this year for Scream of Sirens will finish with October finales at the Vintage Rock Bar in Doncaster, and at the Blazing Rag in Mossley, and the possibility of two regional shows just for good measure.