Middlesbrough Empire Launches Into Spring With Loads Of Live Gigs And Superb Club Nights….palma Violets,i Am Kloot,kate Nash And More!!!


The Empire hasn’t just sprung into Spring it has well and truly car crashed into it with a line up that’s got something for everyone.

First up we have NME’s best new band winners at their recent awards, The Palma Violets. The Northernline last saw them at The Westgarth last year and since then the band have been raved about everywhere.

Their new album 180 is out now and has had first class reviews everywhere, they play Boro at The Empire on Sunday 24th March.

Be quick tickets are selling fast and this will be the last time you see these boys in a venue like this!!

For a long time if you wanted to hear the most exciting new band in Britain, you knocked on a tall black door off the Lambeth Road. An aging British Rail building – part art studio happening, part squat – Studio 180 was where south London’s Palma Violets were gestating, away from sunlight and the world at large.

A thrilling rock’n'roll four piece channelling The Clash, the Mysterians, and the Bad Seeds, from September 2011 they were holed-up here writing songs “their friends could dance to” and occasionally putting on celebratory, ecstatic parties about which word quickly spread.

The opposite of the last significant development in English guitar music when the Arctic Monkeys became the first “MySpace band”, harnessing the power of the internet and prompting BBC documentaries and convulsions in major record labels, the Palma Violets’ rise has been notable by their total avoidance of the worldwide web.

In fact until a couple of months ago, they had no online presence, no music recorded, and no press team working for them, this wasn’t the product of some fiendishly counter-intuitive marketing strategy, it was because all they cared about was playing shows.

“We didn’t want to put ourselves on Facebook, Youtube or the internet because we hadn’t recorded any songs,” explains singer Sam Fryers. “We were making this noise together in a room for fun and that’s where you had to experience it.”

“The best way to see a rock’n’roll band is to go and see them play live,” elaborates bassist Chilli Jesson. “That’s all we wanted people to do.”
“And of course, we hate being in recording studios,” laughs Fryer.

It’s not hard to see how word of mouth spread about the band. If you got through the door in that early period, what greeted you was an intoxicating sense of chaos. Beer being sold out of a dustbin in a makeshift kitchen, experimental artwork protruding from every wall, kids milling about, seemingly all friends, just waiting for the moment the band would start to play, normally around 11 at night, but sometimes a whole lot later.

In an airless basement that could hold 50 people, the band would finally appear in a hail of feedback and organ noise, before blazing their way through a short, incredible set: their sound a primitive, wild rock’n’roll music offering echoes of ‘60s garage and soul but with a defiant Englishness at its core, the band themselves radiating a ferocious energy, encapsulated in the tense and tactile interplay between Jesson and Fryer but driven forward by the incessant beat of Will Doyle’s drumming.

After a period of parching drought in British guitar music, this was akin to stumbling across the oasis in the desert just before you and everyone else died of dehydration.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for record labels to catch on and in the first few months of 2012, Palmas Violets were courted intensely. From the outset, though, they only ever wanted to sign to one, and that was Rough Trade.

As Jesson recalls: “When Rough Trade came down, it was so special. It was like they restored our faith in music. I mean they actually talked about music for a start. Geoff Travis was the only person who picked up on the fact that we were doing a cover of The Riveiras’ ‘California Sun’. The other guys talked about supermarkets and shelving and how we were going to penetrate the market.”

The feeling was mutual.

Next up the Empire plays host to the mighty DJ Paul Oakenfold behind the decks on Sunday 31st March, tickets are on sale now and this promises to be one hell of a night for all you party animals. The event starts at 9 pm and finishes at 4 am!! Quick couple of hours in bed then up for work!! Doubtful but who will care after dancing the night away with perhaps the finest DJ ever.

As we move into April things just do not let up!! First up on the 11th April we have The Wonderstuff supported by Mr Hunt’s wife Erica Nockalls.

The Wonderstuff have always had a great following and even to this day are a great live act for anyone to see, Young and Old!

The Wonder Stuff are a band originally based in Stourbridge, in the Black Country, West Midlands, UK.

The original line-up was Miles Hunt (whose uncle Bill Hunt was keyboard player with Wizzard), Malcolm Treece, Rob ìThe Bass Thingî Jones (d. 1993) and Martin Gilks (d. 2006). The group originated from an earlier collaboration with group members of Pop Will Eat Itself (aka PWEI), called From Eden, which had Miles Hunt on the drums.

In 1990, Martin Bell (aka, Fiddlie), an accomplished fiddle and banjo instrumentalist, joined the band and Paul Clifford replaced Rob Jones on the bass after Jones left the band.

The band initially split on July 14, 1994 at the Phoenix Festival near Stratford-on-Avon, with Miles Hunt forming Vent 414 and Malc Treece, Martin Gilks and Paul Clifford teaming up with ex-Eat frontman, Ange Dolittle, to form We Know Where You Live.

Following the split of Vent 414, Miles Hunt took to touring an acoustic solo show performing old favourites and new material. During this period, he toured and released an album under banner of The Miles Hunt Club, featuring Stuart Quinnel and Andres Karu (who would later featuring in subsequent line-ups of The Wonder Stuff) as well as Michael Ferentino fom the Amazing Meet Project.

The band later reformed for a few live tours from 2000 onwards including a sell out 5 night residency at The Forum, London. For this incarnation, Stuart Quinnel took over on bass from Paul Clifford.

Their first new album for over a decade, Escape From Rubbish Island, was released in September 2004. The line-up for this album was Hunt and Treece plus Andres Karu and Mark McCarthy (formally of Radical Dance Faction)

Next up we have the beautiful and charming Kate Nash, playing songs from her previous albums plus airing ones from her new one, Kate plays the Empire on Tuesday 16th April.

And tickets again are on sale now!!

Finally but by no means the least are I am Kloot, who are playing here on the Wednesday 17th April in support of their new and excellent album Let it all in.

Acclaimed Manchester three-piece I Am Kloot release their eagerly awaited new album ‘Let It All In’ on January 21st on their Shepherd Moon label.

Produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Craig Potter, the new album follows 2010’s Mercury nominated ‘Sky at Night’ and cements the song writing fortitude of front man John Bramwell while confirming I am Kloot as one of the classic British groups of recent times.

This 10 track long player is a concise and lean collection of pop gems. From bluesy, burlesque opener, ‘Bullets’, through to the reverential finale of “Forgive Me These Reminders”, “Let It All In” proves the adage that less is indeed more. Further highlights include the haunting epic ‘Hold Back the Night’; the mystical hypnotic pulse of ‘These Days Are Mine’ and the understated simple elegance of ‘Some Better Day’.

I Am Kloot have crafted a laconic album of immense and enchanting pop songs that will be treasured and cherished. As the poet Simon Armitage sums up perfectly: “There’s something familiar and immediate about the sound they make, so much so that even a new song can find a place in the memory vault, even before it’s finished playing, as if we’d been listening to it for years.”


Details for all their weekly club nights and everything else they do can be seen there NOW!!

By Andy on March 3, 2013

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