Tag Archives: North East Music

Teessider’s Light Up Their Own Vision

(Feature’s with Cattle & Cane will be in The Northern Echo and in Accent Magazine this April; images credited to Lauren Close (Empire Gig) and Jodie Canwell (studio) with permission)

If the singles, Make Your Vision and Fool For You, are anything to go by then the upcoming album release by Teesside powerhouses, Cattle & Cane, will be a success.

The album, Mirrors, will be released on April 28, either side of the five-piece sibling bands’ two regional dates, appearing at Stockton Calling where they headline The Georgian Theatre on April 15, and The Sage Gateshead on May 4.

Speaking to the band in the run-up to their UK tour, where they’ll take in other dates around the country with The Wardrobe in Leeds, Gullivers in Manchester, The Bodega in Nottingham, and The Camden Assembly in London to mention a few, the Hammill siblings, Helen and Joe said: “Make Your Vision was quite a departure for us but we were so happy with the way it turned out and the reception it got.

“We’re always keen to explore new sounds. One recent review compared it to Debbie Harry and ABBA – I’ll take that!

“As for the album itself, we had the best time in Belgium and Malta making this album. We got to be really creative with it and it’s quite different to the first! My favourite track is Paperman!”

Receiving enthused reviews from their home town Teesside Gazette and the Independent’s Culture Magazine certainly fans the flames which the siblings have built up over the years.

Playing at Stockton Calling, so soon after their sell-out Christmas performance at the Middlesbrough Empire, as well as the visit to Tyneside and the Sage has certainly got them excited adding: “We love playing our home town because the shows always have such an amazing atmosphere.

“We go to Stockton Calling every year because we love the festival so we’re thrilled to be one of the headliners. We’ve played The Sage once before so we’re really excited to get back as it’s such a special venue and we can’t wait to do our own show there.

“After the tour then we can’t wait to play at Hardwick Live in August – we love The Beatles so being on the same bill as The Bootleg Beatles doing Sgt Peppers will be amazing!

“Hopefully we’ll get back over to Germany in the autumn too. Mainly though, we love writing and being creative, so we’ll be working hard on lots of new music all year round!”

Further information on Cattle & Cane can be found via their website www.cattleandcane.co.uk and their new album, Mirrors, is available for pre-order from http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/cattle-and-cane-album-two.

Around the Region’s Music I

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm.

County Durham rockers, Twister, recently announced an O2 Academy headline gig set to rock the ages in Newcastle on May 21 for their ‘Combined State of Mind: The Collection.’ The quartet fronted by founder, Stevie Stoker, released the first part, ‘Designed State of Mind,’ late last year at Academy Two and will add ‘Refined State of Mind’ for the combined collection.

Four days later, at Wylam Breweries, indie stars, The Longsands, play their final gig as Trevor Cox, Ian Barnes, David Stanyer, Paul Stephenson and Callum Thompson roll back the years one last time with tracks from both ‘Meet Me In Spanish City’ and ‘Us & Them,’ which was released last year, are set to bring down the house; meanwhile Sunderland’s indie newcomers, Social Room, will support From the Jam on the Academy main stage in mid-September as they look to take this year by storm.

Regional rock legends, the Tygers of Pan Tang, will see their latest offering and self-titled album, released in North America as they themselves embark on their ‘Only the Brave’ European tour throughout March, April and May along with a new single (look out for an upcoming feature next month).

Teesside powerhouses, Cattle & Cane, fronted by siblings Helen and Joe Hammill, performed four incredible dates at the start of the year whilst supporting The Head and The Heart’s Signs of Light tour. Now, starting at Stockton Calling in mid-April, the siblings will embark on a twelve-date spring tour which will also see the launch of their new album, ‘Mirrors,’ along with a date at The Sage, Gateshead on May 4. Another Teesside native, singer-songwriter Samantha Durnan, will be supported by James Gray Robson & the Lonely Burn at Stainton Hall on June 24 as she releases her album ‘want to Wander.’

Gigs to look out for include both Geoff Mull & Friends, and One Man Revival with Black Nevada, Saints of Arcadia, and The Firelight Opera are playing at the O2 Academy; Fatherson, can be seen on both Teesside and Tyneside; Jarrod Dickenson and Nine Below Zero have outings at the The Cluny; and internationally-acclaimed artist, Caro Emerald, plays at The Sage for a date long since sold out.

Worthy of a special mention is the upcoming event at Preston Hall Museum on the evening of March 31 for the inaugural Watermill Sessions Live. Acoustic-based performers from alternative country, Americana, and folk music sees Elaine Palmer, James Gray Robson & The Lonely Burn, Tom Joshua, George Boomsma and People Poems all make an appearance. Palmer brings with her some fantastic stock to the Watermill stage with a just as equally impressive roll-call having shared with the likes of KT Tunstall, David Gray, Emmylou Harris, King Creosote and more.

Samantha Is On A Wander

With her upcoming album launch at Stainton Hall in late June already sold out, artist Samantha Durnan is quietly building up a nice package of dates to whet the appetite adoring fans prior to the occasion.

With dates that include an appearance at The Green Room (NARC Stage) at the annual Stockton Calling, and supporting Cape Cub at the 2nd Anniversary gig for NE Volume, Miss Durnan and her band are certainly keeping busy over the next three months.

“Stockton Calling will be the first time myself and the band will be performing the new material from my up and coming album,” began Samantha.

“It will be exciting to share that live with an audience.

“I’m also really grateful that my album launch has sold out in just a couple of weeks.

“I can’t wait to perform my new material for everyone who has purchased a ticket.”

Dates for your diary where Samantha Durnan will be performing are as follows –

April 15th | Narc Stage @ The Green Room | Stockton Calling

STOCKTON CALLING EVENT PAGE

May 12th | supporting Cape Cub @ The Westgarth Social Club | Middlesbrough

NE VOLUME EVENT PAGE

May 14th | Hemelvaart Bier Cafe | Ayton

June 11th | Roofbox Stage @ Hash Bar | Music Box | Darlington

June 24th | ‘Want to Wander’ album launch @ Stainton Hall | Middlesbrough (SOLD OUT)

WANT TO WANDER EVENT PAGE

Follow Samantha’s journey on FACEBOOK and TWITTER

Chadwick shows that Love Will Find A Way

Tyneside’s Country-Americana singer-songwriter, Chloe Chadwick, is set to release her debut album, ‘Dustbowl Jukebox’ later this year and in doing so is embarking on a double tour for promotion.

Originally from the Potteries, in Stoke-on-Trent, Ms Chadwick has taken her time to put together he debut album in order to allow her genre of music more scope for growth and believes that she is doing this at the right time.

Providing what she describes as being a unique and distinctive style with a voice for the ages the soloist has two local dates penned in before touring, the first of which sees her supporting academy award nominee, Jeff Finlin, at Porters in Tynemouth on February 17 and the second with Celia Bryce as part of the ‘Women of Song’ tour in early March.

All about the music Chloe is looking forward to supporting both Finlin and Bryce in equal measures whilst knowing that, with the release of ‘Dustbowl Jukebox’ imminent, it’s about the music and the timing for her saying: “I want to be rewarded for the effort and the hard work which I’ve put into my career, and the album.

“Jeff is on a European acoustic tour and I think it’s amazing he is coming to the region and I’m really looking forward to playing with Celia, however, I didn’t want to flood my schedule with regional dates because of the album launch in late May/early June.

“I’ll be doing a tour for that with a north-east launch, on Tyneside, in early June, as well as taking in places such as Manchester and London, where I’ll play at The Sound Lounge and I’ll also be doing a BBC radio tour with both Newcastle and Teesside scheduled for a showcase, live performance.”

With the possibility of a single release prior to the album launch, ‘Love Will Find a Way’ mooted to be the scheduled release, Ms Chadwick has numerous reasons to allow her music to continue to flow, building on her success of the past twelve months.

“Personally, I class myself as Americana but still pushing the country genre as there’s lots of different acts coming over from America and selling out over here with Jeff being just one of them – there’s a market for it and the sound is definitely getting noticed.

“I’ve always had country feelings in me and learnt a lot about myself when I went on a mini-tour earlier this year.

“The upcoming album represents some of that, it represents the crazy, whirlwind life I’ve had in the industry whilst the jukebox is the collective mix of music I’ve written over the years not categorised into one genre.”

Chloe is scheduled to appear on the Nick Roberts BBC Introducing (Newcastle) on March 30, you can find out more via her Facebook.

 

Durnan Has a Want to Wander

Teesside singer-songwriter, Samantha Durnan, releases her album, Want to Wander, this June with a special, intimate gig, at Stainton Hall.

Ably supported by James Gray Robson & The Lovely Burn the 24-year-old artist said: “It would be amazing if you could join me and some amazingly talented musicians who have performed alongside me over the years for a cosy night.”

Tickets for the event, which has already sold over half, can be purchased from Miss Durnan’s official WEBSITE priced at £5 for the event at Stainton Hall, Middlesbrough on Saturday 24 June (Doors open at 7pm)

ANNOUNCEMENT – Inside Mann to manage Social Room

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Wearside indie band, Social Room, have had a year to remember and it culminated with an impressive launch of the single Be Forever Mine at Independent Sunderland in mid-December. The single, the bands fourth release, came after a year which would see them appear at Lindisfarne Live and Stockton Calling as well as supporting The Bluetones; 2017 has already started strongly.

Alongside announcing appearances at this year’s Sunniside Live with The Farm and The Happy Mondays, and next month in a free event at the Bavaria Band Nacht in their hometown, they also announce taking on regional PR specialist Peter Mann in an early management capacity.

A statement from the sextet of Matty Smith, Adam Jefferson, Adam Potts, Simon Bewick, Chris Leonard and Alex Gunn said: “As a band we presently have a high demand from people wanting to know more about us and to see us perform.

“We came across Peter in the run-up to our single launch last year and he did a great job with the promotion of that. Having kept in touch we met up recently in Seaham and we felt that his ambitions meet our own moving forward and that he is in a perfect position to be able to handle the band’s affairs.”

Having produced PR for event management companies on Tyneside for the past five years as well as working closely with acts such as The Longsands, Twister, Scream of Sirens, international star Bumblefoot, and EGH Radio Rocks among others, Peter has the knowledge and contacts to make a success of the band.

He added: “I’ve picked up a few things including recognising talent from working alongside Steve Wraith and Danny Cox over the past few years.

“When the chance was presented to manage a band like Social Room I felt it was too good an opportunity to ignore. It’s a natural progression for anyone in the industry and, with the increasing contacts I have at my disposal, then it can only benefit the band moving forward.

“The music scene in the region is massive and I take great pride in having been a part of it for the past few years. Social Room are a fantastic set of lads, talented and have a bright future ahead of them so I’ll be looking to get them out as much as possible, not only here but elsewhere around the country whilst building their fan-base and social media presence.

“Personally I’d like to thank Stephen and Anne Lambert (EGH Rocks) and Natalie Conway (Electrify Events/PR) for their advice and guidance in making this decision and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Enquiries regarding the band, media requests should be made to the manager via petermann78@hotmail.com

Longsands call it a day

The following statement has today been released by indie rock band, The Longsands.

Having released, in 2012 and 2016 respectively, ‘Meet Me in Spanish City’ and ‘Us & Them,’ two critically acclaimed albums the decision for a band who have supported the like of From the Jam, Ocean Colour Scene and recently celebrated four years of having been ‘In Session with Whispering Bob Harris on BBC Radio Two,’ was not taken lightly.

Consisting of Trevor Cox, Ian Barnes, David Stanyer, Callum Thompson and Paul Stephenson the band have said: “It is with heavy hearts today that we announce we have decided to call time on The Longsands.

“After a really exciting two years of recording and releasing our second studio album ‘Us and Them’ this quite rightly led us into talks about ‘where next?’ What quickly became clear is that 12 years on from when the band was formed, we all have very different lives and personal priorities, which have resulted in us now having quite different motivations for being a Longsand!

“When we formed The Longsands, we had a shared vision, a dream and a one for all, all for one commitment to the cause. This vision is no longer aligned and it’s nobody’s fault!  Life just sometimes takes people in different directions.

“We want people to remember The Longsands not only for our music, but for our ambition, dedication and belief in one and other. This is why calling time on it now is the right thing to do, out of respect for what the band meant and means to us and to so many people who have supported us over the last 12 years. Surely no one wants to see us fade away slowly!

(Longsands performing at The Cluny at their successful album launch in 2016 for ‘Us & Them’ courtesy of Alto Luz Photography)

“With this in mind, we are committed to going out with a bang! We will be preparing a very special farewell show in 2017 (details to be announced very soon). We will continue to promote ‘Us and Them’ and Unknown Soldier Records will continue to make all existing Longsands material available online.

“We want 2017 to be a celebration of the life of The Longsands, so we will be releasing some demos of unheard tracks that didn’t make it to release. We will also be releasing unseen video footage from gigs, tours and recording sessions over the last 12 years for you all to enjoy!

“There are too many people to personally thank in one statement so throughout 2017 we are going to run features on different people who deserve a huge thank you from us. For now can we just say thank you to everyone who has supported us, without you we would not have the wonderful memories we do!

“Let love rain on you! The Longsands”

More information on The Longsands and their farewell show later this year can be found either on Facebook or Twitter @the_longsands.

Regional Scene Hots Up In 2017

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In 1970 Rod Clements and Alan Hull formed iconic band, Lindisfarne, who, this past week, have celebrated forty years of festive fun at Newcastle City Hall.

The internationally acclaimed, folk-rock band have performed over a hundred shows at the venue they proudly call home with it being that connected to the band now that, in 2012, Newcastle’s Lord Mayor unveiled a commemorative plaque in honour of the late Alan Hull.

“We’ve played some great shows and met some great people, some of whom last saw the band in the seventies so (the City Hall) is the perfect place to end what’s been a successful 2016, at our spiritual home,” began Clements.

“Next year, we’ve already got a few, big festivals lined up including the New Day Festival in Kent. There’s still plenty of old songs to play as well which the audience relates to.

“As for the band itself, we’ve a fluid, constant line-up for which I’m both the oldest, and newest member (he co-founded the band and re-joining in 2015 after a twelve year absence).

“Ray Jackson asked me to come back and it’s great, everyone has a long connection to Lindisfarne, as do the fans so, if you’ve not seen us for a few years now is certainly the time to come back as we’re better than ever.”

Lindisfarne may be the old hands but the future is in grand young ones with Tom Mouse Smith making an incredible name for himself.

With a cult following in tens of thousands the 12-year-old star has performed on big stages as support for Shed Seven, James Bay, and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Father, Andrew, said: “He (Tom) has a very busy year coming up.

“With lots of exciting festivals to be announced, including his own headline at the Surfcafe in Tynemouth on January 28.”

Another looking at an exciting year is country singer-songwriter, Chloe Chadwick. Already with several, high-profile outings on Tyneside lined up in the first quarter of 2017 she’ll be releasing a single, Love will find a Way, ahead of an album launch, Dustbowl Jukebox, shortly after.

Ms Chadwick has many reasons to smile saying: “Personally, I class myself as Americana but I’m still pushing the country genre.

“There’s lots of different acts coming from America and selling out over here, there’s a market for it and the sound is definitely getting noticed.”

Her first major outing will be at The Porters in Tynemouth, supporting US Grammy award nominee, Jeff Finlin, as she looks to build on the success of the past twelve months.

“I’ve had country feelings in me and learnt a lot about myself when I went on a mini-tour earlier this year. The upcoming album represents some of that, it represents the crazy, whirlwind life I’ve had in the industry whilst the jukebox is the collective mix of music I’ve written over the years not categorised into one genre.”

Numerous other females making waves include Jodie Fitzgibbon and The She Wolf Project making their indifference of noise, the stunning duo of Beth Macari and Abi Garrido bringing their own style and panache, and Sandy Smith becoming something of a risk-taker.

Then you’ve got Bea Garcia (Twist Helix), Caroline Pallister (Front Street), and Olivia Morley (as duet, JustSo, with The Longsands guitarist, David Stanyer) making impressions.

A former West End star, performing in Sunday Night Live and Chicago, in her “younger days,” Sandy is taking a leap of faith with her drummer partner, soon beating out a band, Sands of Time, thanks in no small part to a man she calls “my sidekick and confidante.”

“I’ve a passion and love for it with the joy coming from theatre to performing anything from ballads to sounds from the fifties to the present day.

“Next year though I’m performing abroad before returning in the winter as I take the plunge and just go for it. If I don’t do it now I never will.”

Of those nominated for Ubeat awards recently included Beth Macari (winner of best music video for Voodoo) and Abi Garrido.

The distinct, unmistakable Macari certainly had a year to remember including performing at the South Tyneside summer festival whilst continuing to write new material in the run-up to Christmas, something she’ll look at continuing next year saying: “I’ve started doing more singing teaching and next year is going to be all about the music, showing people who I am and what my voice is.

“There’ll certainly be lots of time spent in the studio, touring, and some really good collaborations on the cards.”

Pop-Rn’B starlet, and former X Factor contest, the sultry Abi Garrido, an ambassador for Metro Radio, is looking at bigger things in the new year having spent the current one gigging and maintaining a following.

She added: “I’m looking at releasing a single early in the year, then possibly an album later on whilst writing my own material.

“I’ve got people interested as well but there’s big decisions to make and I want to try and go everywhere I can, even abroad again, and sing.”

At Twist Helix, drummer James Walker, alongside Bea Garcia and bassist Michael Humble, recently announced a minimum ten-date tour beginning in London and taking in The Cluny, Newcastle, on January 21.

They’ve plans to release a second album adding to their debut, Manifesto, along with a darker, electronic-based single being released prior.

The She Wolf Project, consisting of Jodie Fitzgibbon, Ami Vaziri, Chaz Hall and Donya Ramak. Are an all-female fusion band returning after a brief, personal break working on individual projects.

“Everything is slowly coming together and we’re all writing original material which we’ll look at next year,” said Jodie.

“We’re all really good writers and could release an EP now if we wanted to but the main aim is to establish our name and create more of a following.”

Other bands see that of The Skapones and JustSo, The Heavily Brothers and Front Street making noise.

“We’re currently writing a self-titled album which is scheduled for release in October next year having had a great one this time around,” Stanyer said of JustSo.

“We’ve performed at Northumberland Live and Chester-le-Street FakeFest and we’ll look at hitting the festival scene again next year to promote the release of our debut album.”

Whereas Caroline Pallister and Front Street are looking to: “Create a definitive logo and branding to use across social media and advertising,” she said.

“Recently we’ve been in the studio recording a demo CD which will hopefully introduce other venues to us with the aim throughout 2017 to keep a regular slot at The Crown and Crossed Swords in Shotley Bridge, also finding additional venues who really appreciate original music written by a talented local artist.”

The Skapones and The Heavily Brothers are a flashback to a bygone era in musical genres with the former looking at releasing a new single and album, of original content, including a tour of Germany and France later on amongst other festivals ensuring they continue to go from strength-to-strength, performing in Darlington (21) and Stockton (28) in January; whilst the latter just enjoy the music having been going since the sixties in various guises now performing at the Whitby Pirates Day and charitable events before looking at a summer album release of their own.

 

Let’s Rock n Roll In 2017

Sponsored by EGH Radio Rocks, the home of unsigned rock music, 24/7 and the home of Anne’s Rock Show, Monday’s from 9pm
North East music, and particularly its rock scene, is positively thriving as we head into 2017 with a number of acts looking at making some incredible noise.
With Twister claiming the Best EP/Album for Designed State of Mind, and Best Band awards at the recent Ubeat Music Awards; Craig Roddam and his band blasting their way through Christmas Live at the Arena; and Black Nevada providing immense support for Dani Filth and Devilment at Think Tank, you’d think the close to 2016 would be hard to top.
Actually, it’s already being set up to do just that as Twister have recently announced that they’ll be headlining the O2 Academy in mid-May for a Refined/Combined State of Mind double release, an opportunity arriving off the back of a hugely successful Academy Two slot were they were more than ably supported by Roddam, Catalyse and Singapore Safehouse.
Black Nevada followed up the release of their excellent EP, Fragments, with that Think Tank performance and go into the New Year talking of a possible new music video release and an early year tour taking in Leeds, Nottingham and parts of bonny Scotland, and that’s before summer festival festivities.
Craig Roddam on the other hand has certainly taken his opportunities the past year, following up supporting Twister to playing in front of thirty thousand plus at the Metro Radio Fireworks in Saltwell Park, to Christmas Live, in a matter of months. His new single, to be released early next year, places emphasis on Where do we go from Here.
“I already have a few things I want to get done next year and I’ll be in the studio soon enough,” said Roddam.
“I’ll look at releasing a single first so I can build some momentum, some hype, towards either an EP or album. There’s also the possibility of a tour along with some big support spots at places like the Academy.
“The band also deserves credit and I can’t believe how good they sound when playing my music, they deserve the big stages.”
Big stages are places the like of Micky McCrystal and Kyle Hughes are getting used to, for differing but similar reasons. The pair, along with Edward Bell, are still coming to terms with a recent mini tour they embarked upon with former Guns n’ Roses guitarist, Bumblefoot.
Beginning at Trillians in Newcastle they also took in the Diamond Live Lounge in Doncaster and a date in Featherstone, leading to the duo being offered an opportunity, amongst others, for a trip to LA next month, ahead of Hughes announcing something pretty special himself.
McCrystal meanwhile been guitarist with local rock gods, Tygers of Pan Tang, since Belgium in June 2013. The band releasing Only the Brave earlier this year before a home, Cluny launch, of their mass-acclaimed, self-titled album, in late October where they were, in turn, supported by…..Twister.
Releasing the album through Mighty Music in Denmark McCrystal said; “I had in my mind tas to what the fans wanted to hear and that’s how we approached it.
“Now we’re gearing up to record another video next month which won’t necessarily be old school Tygers, but more a fun song with a hint of classic Tygers all the same. The record label is keen on releasing more if all goes to plan which will be a combination of that old school, recognisable but new.
“That and, with my filling the boots of John Sykes there’s been a level of expectation for me, I’ve had to put my own stamp onto the position whilst still being respectful.”
An exciting addition to the scene the past few years has been Teesside’s Lisa Kilcar, who parted ways with a rock covers band to produce an array of her own, rock originality. The trodden path of many a rocker, before and after, came as a surprise to friends and loved ones alike.
Pushing boundaries of the blues, rock and ballads, Lisa has already penned material enough to release an album in the New Year alongside her new band.
She added: “Things will happen quite quickly as most of the album is done.
“After leaving the covers band I picked up a guitar and wrote a whole new batch of songs. I’ve always wanted to sing as well and, although people were surprised I took this path it’s always been one I wanted to take.
“I’m hoping to release a varied range of material next year across several genres whilst doing some solo work at the same time.”
With The Firelight Opera, Death to Indie and Serinette also making loud noises there’s a trio of acts to watch in Tyneside all-girl rockers, Scream of Sirens, Sunderland’s indie stars, Social Room, and Durham’s unknown entity, Off Peak.
Firelight Opera are making a transition from covers to original whilst penning an album, something they’ve already begun with Lee Hardy stating: “We’ve been down Liverpool already and began putting material down on a new album and is something we’ll go back to in February.
“There’ll be an official video and single release in March with an album launch come the summer.”
Mark Rayner and Death to Indie are in a similar position album-wise with their heading to the studio late spring.
“We’ve had a great response this year, support-wise, so we’re keeping the early part of the year free in order to refresh social (media) and website presence,” added Mark.
“Then we’ll build towards an album later in the year with a live video performance as a teaser, maybe two to build momentum.”
Social Room successfully released their latest single, Be Forever Mine, at Independent in Sunderland and the new year will be a massive one for the six-piece fronted by vocalist, Matty Smith alongside Adam Jefferson, Adam Potts, Simon Bewick, Chris Leonard and Alex Gunn ; Scream of Sirens followed up an EP with the launch of Get Some which landed them a slot with Wipe Out Publishing.
Off Peak meanwhile are brothers Jamie and Robbie Pick with friends Kier Hutchinson and Jackson Raw from Esh Winning who have been providing indie music for the past three years now.
The past twelve months or so have seen them come into their own following up the release of debut single, Stay the Same, with an Academy launch, in 2015, before an EP and mini tour last year.
“We’ll be releasing a second EP in January with a launch gig at Durham University,” said Jamie.
“Afterwards we’d like to release an album but an EP would be great as we’re enjoying it which is why we do it, doing it all off our own back.”
All of this, and more, will be played out on international radio station, EGH Radio Rocks, with Anne and Stephen Lambert, on Monday nights from 9pm; they themselves are looking at a big year ahead and can followed on Twitter through @EGHRocks whilst the online radio show can be reached via http://mixlr.com/egh-radio/.

FEATURE: Longsands Year In Music (2012)

A year is a long time in anyone’s eyes and mind. In musical terms a lot can happen and times can change in the blink of an eye. When you are based in Tyneside and go by the name of The Longsands though, the rise and rise seems to be a continuous motion.

The five-piece, who hail mainly from Cramlington, on the outskirts of Newcastle, have been around for a good few years now (since around 2006), but it is only recently that they have gone full tilt into making their music matter. The only change in which they have had to really overcome arrived with the recent departure of Bass Guitarist, Gary Ormston, in late-November. His replacement came in the form of Callum Thompson.

The Indie Rock band though has had a year to remember, and a one that was predicted when they attended a talk-in with ‘Mad Frankie Fraser.’ The Gangland legend was quoted as saying back then that “the band has a great look and their music captures the way this generations feeling right now.

“I’m sure that they will do well and I’ll advise that people buy the album or I might have to pay them a visit.”

The album referred to was the soon to be released, ‘Meet Me in Spanish City’ which includes the classics such as ‘Little Britain,’ ‘Worlds Collide,’ ‘Affair in Manchester,’ and ‘Streets and Pavements,’ amongst numerous other well-versed tracks.

The year though began with the band supporting Simon Fowler, Oscar Harrison and Ocean Colour Scene when they were invited to perform at the second birthday bash for Factory 251 back in February. Including that outing, and by the time they appeared at The Cluny on the 9th December, the lads will have played some sixteen main gigs throughout the year of 2012, as well as appearing on weekly events in and around the Tyneside area.

March would see them perform at the O2 Academy in Newcastle as a support for CAST and was to be followed just three months later by their debut album launch gig at Newcastle University. The gig was to be a 90 minute set where they not only performed tracks from their album but also some new, unheard materials.

Ian Barnes, writer and rhythm guitarist for The Longsands, was quoted in an interview during the year saying that “we will put our all into the songs.

“They are ours and we love them.”

The album launch would be supported by that of The Bluetones and Ambershift. The year was getting better by the day.

Upon the final release of ‘Meet Me in Spanish City’ interviews would come thick and fast for Barnes and the rest of The Longsands – Trevor Cox, David Stanyer, Gary Ormston and Paul Stephenson. Interviews which included Purple Soul, Football Burp and Rocksucker amongst those with the usual named publications.

The year continued with their single, ‘Shut Your Mouth,’ gaining much welcomed airtime on BBC Radio 2 and was sharp followed by interest from the legendary Eurythmics guitarist and producer, Dave Stewart after he put a request out on the social networking site, Twitter, for a good support band when in Sunderland. Not surprisingly he would soon be inundated with messages suggesting that of The Longsands.

Album reviews would also come thick and fast, the lads were fast becoming the talk of the music industry, and rightly so, especially in the eyes of north-eastern musical aficionados.

The summer of 2012 would see the band announce their attendance at several festivals and which included the SKY fest Big Weekend in Edinburgh.

More recently the lads have also been back on BBC Radio 2, this time being invited to perform a live session for the masses.

Then there was the shock for followers of The Longsands, the departure of Bass Guitarist, Gary Ormston, ‘Gaz’. Upon the announcement of his impending departure, Gaz was quoted as saying that, “Unfortunately, on a personal level for me, as things continue to progress and the future prospects of The Longsands look brighter than ever, it is now time for me to hang up my boots (or bass, more specifically!).

“As some of you will know recent developments in my personal life and the demands of my job and the band over the next 12 months have made me reach this decision which, trust me, wasn’t one I’ve enjoyed doing or found particularly easy.

“Having been in The Longsands from the beginning, calling time on it has definitely made me appreciate what I have experienced. Pinching Bruce Foxton’s wine back stage on the FTJ tour, recording the album at stupid o’clock in the morning at the studio, the album launch night in June at Newcastle University and sharing various hideously coloured Travelodge’s across the country enjoying (or at times enduring!) minimal sleep and maximum alcohol consumption night after night!

“I’d like to sign off in style and take the opportunity to thank all the fans who have, and continue to make this all possible. My last gig as The Longsands’ official bass player will now be the DVD launch at The Cluny on Sunday 9th December, although I will remain close to the band and help out wherever I can.

“I’d appreciate it if as many of you as possible could make The Cluny show and join me in a beer or 10! I, more than anyone, want to see the band succeed and wish them all the best in 2013.”

This led to the search for a replacement, and, after strenuous auditions, Tynesider Callum Thompson, was successful in becoming Ormston’s replacement, if the term was to be warranted.  Upon his arrival with the band Thompson was quoted as saying that “’I’m a farmer’s son from the wilds of Seaton Sluice, brought up on Dire Straits, Rory Gallagher and Big Country. I picked up a guitar to impress the girls in school and found it only attracted the lads, stuck with it though!

“I have played guitar for 16 years now, played bass in The Din for 3 years. Recorded two albums at Trinity Heights and have performed at some awesome gigs around the region including The Sage. I have also worked on projects with Indria (traditional Indian music meets western stuff) I also play Banjo, guitar and ukulele.

“I’d like to thank the lads in the band for this opportunity and also wish Gaz the best of luck in the future.”

Now it is on to the show at The Cluny on the 9th December and then the eagerly anticipated first DVD, a live one at that, with the impending release of ‘The Longsands Live at Newcastle University’ due to hit music stores and beyond on the 12th December, just in time for Christmas, followed by a visit to Newcastle’s Think Tank where the band were deemed to be ‘unplugged’ in support of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Lightening Seeds. Several days after the band would be back again at the Think Tank, supporting Ocean Colour Scene’s Simon (Fowler) and Oscar (Harrison).

Continuance in the same vein will see The Longsands have an unforgettable 2013 that should, without question, eclipse the one they have just had in 2012.

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