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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