Tag Archives: The Cluny

Chloe Chadwick Presents – McDade Intends To Deliver

(Images courtesy of Elaine Whyman)

Tyneside artist, Lee McDade, is intent on continuous delivery as he follows up his own, recent, album launch at The Cluny, with support of Northern Country Queen, Chloe Chadwick, at hers at Think Tank.

McDade, who like Chloe has taken several years to release their debut, grew up on a diet of good ol’ rock n’ roll.

Unlike the rock stars though McDade prefers the shorter tracks in life, although his day job may suggest otherwise, and you’d also be forgiven for thinking that his ‘Greatest Hits’ was arrogantly titled, however it’s definitely more a tongue-in-cheek scenario.

“I recently released my own debut album, my ‘Greatest Hits,’ at The Cluny,” began Lee.

“It was cheekily called that and was just one of those moments but that’s what they are, they’re my greatest hits so far.”

McDade’s background in music though may cause surprise, in a roundabout way. That rock n roll diet could bode well for the future in the industry and, having looked more punk rock than country, the image may well have gone with the sound.

“I grew up listening to the likes of Elvis Presley, Queen and Bruce Springsteen, that’s what my early years were like.

“However, I prefer to keep my music short and sweet rather than those lengthier versions.

“It was my auntie that got me into country though when she gave me some Garth Brooks, but for me the influence has to be Steve Earle and it’s because of that I’d say my style is more Americana than country and I’ve probably been doing it this way for maybe five or six years now.”

With gigs aplenty McDade took a chance a couple of years ago, swapping, albeit briefly, Northern England for West Coast USA and New Jersey, performing a few gigs which can only have benefited any artist.

That, combined with an increasing number of dates on home soil, have instilled increasing confidence in the artist and helps him look forward to a more positive future.

“We’re always looking at what the next step will be and pushing things on,” he continued.

“I’ve an album to promote so we’ll certainly be doing something there.

“The support I’ve had from Stephen Cunningham and Boomchang Records has been great and I can’t thank people like him enough for that support and it’s just a case of taking chances when they present themselves.

“I’m happy to be a part of anything and that’s good whilst being realistic with what can be achieved.”

In supporting fellow Tynesider, Chloe Chadwick, it’s a prime example of McDade’s willingness to involve himself elsewhere.

Showing respect for Chadwick’s talent he concluded saying: “She (Chloe) is an immensely talented woman and an amazing talent.

“I’ve found it difficult meeting like-minded people who dig what I dig but I’d rather be a pioneer in the industry than anything else.

“There’s so much to be said in music that I, we, put out there and it helps with any kind of mood. To me it’s a gift that’s meant to be given.”

Lee McDade, and Freeman, support Chloe Chadwick’s debut album launch at Think Tank, Newcastle on June 30. Tickets are available from the artists priced at £7 or from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/400890.

Around the Region’s Music I

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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.

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

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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/.

Twister’s Combined State Of Mind

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Twister, fronted by founder, Stevie Stoker, have announced that they will not only headline the O2’s Academy One on May 21, but add Refined State of Mind to Designed State of Mind for a Combined State of Mind uniting two EP’s into one album.

The band, which consists of Joe Major (drums), Jake Grimes (guitar & backing vocals) and new addition John Howard (bassist) have been around for an age, under different guises with the current line-up, on the whole, having been together for nearly two years now.

Earlier this year they sold out Academy 2 with their EP launch, ‘Designed State of Mind,’ and well supported by Catalyse, Singapore Safehouse, and Craig Roddam. The immense success of that led to Academy manager, Phil Beevers, contacting the lads the following day and offering them the main stage.

In what can only be described as a whirlwind for Twister they followed that up by being nominated for seven Ubeat TV awards and winning two further awards at the Heather Terry Memorial Music Awards at the Music Lounge in Stockton.

“We were absolutely over the moon to be able to sell-out Academy 2,” began Stevie.

“The response to the atmosphere and music on the night was great and then, to get the call from the Academy the following day asking if we’d fancy headlining the main hall, words can’t describe that.

“We’re aware as to how big a step up this is and the challenge that it presents but it’s a dream stage to play on and we’ve only been there once and that was a few years ago now (as support to Alarm). Granted we are there for the upcoming UBeat Awards but this is us, it’s something really, really special and we’ll certainly throw everything at it.”

Immediately after their last Academy gig they supported Tygers of Pan Tang at the Cluny and played at Trillians Rock Bar in the city centre and for Jake and Joe, the pair are living the dream.

“Playing the O2 is just surreal anyway and was packed out from start to finish, staying like that until the last song,” added Jake.

“So, already being on cloud nine with that, we get this as well. It brings back great memories for me going to gigs there as kids and the Ubeat Awards is just the perfect warm-up for that. Knowing its Academy One from the off, we hope to sell it out, and although it could be seen as a bit of a risk, it’s now or never really. It’s the first step in the next big thing for us.”

Several times the band have played Academy Two, each as good as the last with the band getting better as time moves on. It could add extra pressure, but it’s their living, and for drummer Joe there’s nothing better saying: “We will certainly push to get the place as full as it can be and make it as comparable to the big touring bands the Academy gets as we can.

“It’s not just a one-off though that’s for sure. So long as we put the work in as individuals then the band is certainly capable, relieving that pressure so we can concentrate on the putting down tracks, writing that new material and showing that we can, in essence, do whatever we like.”

With Designed & Refined State of Mind becoming a Combined State of Mind, Twister are putting together a ‘Battle of the Bands’ in conjunction with UBeat TV and Filthy’s Newcastle (application through the UBeat website from December 1) and will see prizes of support slot, music video, studio recording time, photoshoot and a Series 4 Ubeat TV appearance on offer.

Tickets for Twister Live at Academy One will be available soon and will be priced at £7 standard and £11 VIP (inc. Twister acoustic), further information via Facebook or Twitter @wearetwister

Official Event Page – Twister O2 Academy Newcastle

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.

You can follow The Longsands on Facebook and Twitter @the_longsands

Longsands Return At The Cluny

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.

 

FEATURE: Longsands No Longer Standing In The Shadows

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.”
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