Brilliant Bands At Boro This Back End!! Take A Look At This….


The Empire in Middlesbrough has always been a firm Northern Line favourite, not just for the bands it attracts but the venue itself is one of the best in the region. Its intimate but not too small, everything about it is just right. Even the bar prices for a club/live venue arent like many around and are very fair. 

To cheer us all up, they have announced some great bands for later this year starting with:-

Little Comets on 25th October famed for their impromptu gigs in unorthodox venues, North East four-piece Little Comets’ blend of tricky percussive rhythms and Afro-beat-tinged guitars has seen them labeled as the British Vampire Weekend. Hailing from Sunderland and Newcastle, brothers Robert (lead vocals, guitar) and Michael (lead guitar) Coles, bassist Matt Hall, and drummer Mark Harle formed the band in 2008. With influences as varied as Debussy, Paul Simon, and Roald Dahl, they released their first single, “One Night in October,” a year later, which reached number three in the U.K. indie charts.

Inspired by a YouTube video of a busker singing Michael Jackson songs on the New York subway, the group decided to showcase its sound with spontaneous live shows in places as diverse as university lecture halls, the Metro, and the bakery aisle of a Marks & Spencer store. This maverick approach attracted the attention of Columbia Records, who promptly signed the band in 2009. After supporting the Twang, Hockey, and the Noisettes on their U.K. tours, they traveled to France to record their self-produced debut album. However, they parted company with Columbia before it was released, with the band claiming “it didn’t sound enough like Kesha” for the label. “Isles,” their first single with independent label Dirty Hit Ltd., was released at the end of 2010. In May 2011, drummer Mark Harle announced he was leaving the band. The re-grouped and released their second studio album Life Is Elsewhere in October 2012.

Next up we have Embrace on the 1st December, if coming back means losing sight of what you were there for in the first place, there’s really no percentage in returning. In an age that’s produced more comebacks than the Boomerang Olympics, it’s easy to treat regenerations with a degree of scepticism. In the case of Embrace, however, rather than grabbing at the coattails of former glories, a seven-year hiatus was precipitated by the most commercially successful high-point in their career.

Having notched up another number one album and scored their highest placing in the UK singles chart with Nature’s Law, the band simply decided to head back home to their roots in West Yorkshire and take a clean break.

The album This New Day being a false dawn, the five-piece strode into the sunset with success still striding like a shadow behind them. Curious behaviour, for a band whose 1998 debut The Good Will Out was one of the fastest-selling British albums ever. But for some, success is not the pinnacle of pursuit…

“We were a bit fried after the last album,” singer Danny McNamara says. “Things went really well, from a commercial point of view, but I think we lost sight of what we were about and what we really wanted to do.

“We were getting bigger and bigger, playing arenas, we had our biggest ever single, and it just didn’t feel right. This New Day just felt like a bit of a let down,” he pauses, considering: “But the thing is, albums are just a snapshot of where you’re at, and I feel this album more than makes up for the disappointment of the previous one.”

Apparently, they CAN look down

Eschewing the easy option, it’s reassuring to know there are still bands out there who won’t compromise on quality; or at least when they do – albeit unwittingly – they have the self-possession to walk away and find some perspective.

“You can tend to get swallowed up in the mechanics of it all,” Danny reflects. “We just got to a stage where we didn’t really recognise ourselves. We just needed a break from it and needed to regroup.”

And regroup they did, but not in the egalitarian manner in which the last album was made – essentially a studio-based group effort – Danny and brother Richard instead returning to their solo-writing mandates, producing over 100 tracks in the interim – ten of which make up the monolith that is their latest calling card, the eponymous Embrace.

Danny reveals: “It just feels like we’re starting over. That’s why we called it Embrace, cos it’s like we’re redefining ourselves. Loads of titles came out, but they felt quite limiting. Calling it Embrace just felt right.”

With the self-titled new album, the band have mined their very essence and delivered a piece of work that unearths the core of what Embrace have always been about – skyward-bound music of the soul that reaches far beyond life’s parameters. As a group, Embrace have always inspired a fervid and devoted following – not because fashion dictated (quite the contrary, in fact) ­– but because theirs was always a sound and a voice that elevated while, paradoxically, grounded that feeling in something that was real. And the fervour that essence has propagated hasn’t diminished in the seven-year gap.

“It’s great that after so long people are still mad for it,” Danny says of the recent resurgence of their apparently rabid and unquenchable fanbase. “We put on this secret gig in Halifax and we were worried it wouldn’t sell out… and it sold out in about 45 minutes. We’ve been away for so long, we don’t know what’s happening out there.

“You never assume there’s going to be an audience, and that’s what drives you to make the records as strong as they can be, because that’s all you’ve got in your favour – you might win people over or appease the people who already like your music. But if we start making crap records, people will go somewhere else.”

Not necessarily the case with Embrace, since the poorest showing among their albums –2001’s If You’ve Never Been – was followed by the phoenix from the flames that was 2004’s aptly titled Out Of Nothing, which saw the band shoot back to the summit from what was looking like commercial and artistic oblivion. And perhaps this is what makes Embrace so appealing – that they are always fighting back against the odds. It’s not only a recurrent theme in the lyrics of their songs (“Watch me rise up and leave all the ashes you made out of me”) but also a mantra that has seen them forge a career and an identity uniquely their own – music that exists for its own sake, not attached to some spurious social or fashion-based agenda.

“The music is of itself, there doesn’t need to be a context; it has to stand up on its own without an explanation,” says Danny ardently.

“In the beginning, people got us because we were a new band and we sold loads of records, but we didn’t really fit in with all the other bands; we weren’t Britpop. And I think a lot of bands that last a long time are those that never really fitted in.”

Probably the single most fundamental factor that endears people to a band like Embrace, and makes the fans almost jealously protective, is the fact they’re in a certain spotlight, but always just outside the clique and the current trends. It’s an aspect that permeates and fortifies the music itself – that being yourself, in spite of what fashion dictates or what anybody else thinks, is the only route worth taking. That they have taken seven years to produce another record was not down to writer’s block or lack of initiative – the band simply would not compromise on their output, not anymore. It had to feel right.

“It takes a while to get in the right zone to make stuff – you don’t know you’re in it until you’re in it,” Danny reflects. “You never think when you’ve finished something it’s not very good – you always really like it. It’s only when a few weeks or months later you get a chance to reflect that you get the true picture of it.

“Taking the time to work gives you that chance to look back on what you’ve done. And we’ve had the chance to play this album live a few times, and that gives you a whole different perspective. The first single (Refugees) is an EP, with three really strong tracks supporting it, and it’s the best EP since our first one. And it just feels like we’re starting over – almost like we’re doing our first album again.”

Fans of said album should take heed – this is no The Good Will Out part II (The Bad Will In? The Ugly Will Stay Put?). The frontman is talking principally of the exuberance that comes from charting a new course, rather than ploughing old territory. For while the new record does contain the kind of soul-bearing honesty and vertiginous, life-affirming choruses that typifies their music –particularly in The Good Will Out – with the new album an element of raw darkness lurks with almost conspiratorial glee beneath – particularly in Danny’s vocals, which contain a newfound, haunted resonance – which hints of a band that has really come back into themselves, both as a collective and as people, but have also grown into something that transcends the mechanics of simply making music.

With The Good Will Out as their songs of innocence, Embrace encapsulates their songs of experience.

“I think the first record is great, but the thing about it is I’d just been ill, and I was recovering from that,” Danny says, referring to a post-traumatic stress disorder that plagued him in his early twenties. “I was seeing everything differently – colours were burning brighter, and I was hearing orchestras in my head, and I was really inspired and had loads to write about, and had a hopeful perspective on life.

“Now, I feel very different; I’m better again, and it’s been a longer period of time, but I see the darkness in life more now.”

And it’s this darkness and experience that now informs the music of Embrace, after first forming in the small town of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, armed with a sense of purpose that sought to out the good, which in turn would bring out the best they could be. And you can sense their path has now reached a point that reconciles the insouciant optimism of those bare beginnings, and unfurls a new chapter that walks a line drawn from memories that are deeply etched in a sense of mortality.

“In the end, the good doesn’t come out,” Danny reflects on former philosophies. “In the end, you die on your own. And what that does is it informs every moment you’re alive, in that it’s precious and finite and short. And that’s what’s informing this record – it’s almost the opposite…” He pauses, before concluding: “It’s like coming full circle from the first record…”

Embrace have come back, but what they know means more now than ever before – that being alive is one thing; living it is everything. Embrace it, always.

December is an action packed month and the next band take no introducing and this promises to be one hell of a show, The Inspiral Carpets  on the 11th December.

In 2011, the Inspiral Carpets re-grouped with their original singer Stephen Holt taking over lead vocal duties. Rediscovering their garage band roots, Inspirals set about recording their first material in 15 years, coupled with worldwide live concerts. We played some of the best gigs of our career in 2013 and now we’re currently writing and recording new material for our forthcoming new album. 2014 looks set to be a very exciting and important year for us!

And finally to get us all geared up and ready for Christmas its the return of THE ENEMY and THE TWANG on the 13th December!!

Way back in 2006 trendy kids around the world were wearing fluorescent attire and immersing themselves in the latest craze, something called “NU-rave” the tidal wave of indie that had flooded the nation was starting to show signs of receding, when from seemingly nowhere three very young musicians from Coventry emerged calling themselves The Enemy.

The band greeted the hip music scene with contempt, and a two fingered salute to the trend setting elite. There was always controversy, there was always an opinion being presented by one magazine or another as an attack on such and such, but behind the media’s sensationalism of frontman Clarke’s often throw away critiques, there was some serious stuff going on. The band’s competence to deliver stunning live performances has seen them share a stage with some of the biggest and greatest acts in the world including The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, Oasis, The Manic Street Preachers, Ash, Paul Weller and the mighty Bon Jovi, spanning venues from their local saturday sports club ‘Folly Lane Football club where the band performed one of their first ever gigs, to five performances at Wembley Stadium. Their songs have always seemed to capture a zeitgeist and subsequently many fans hearts, Enemy fans are some of the most passionate and loyal in all of music. The Enemy have never really been in vogue, they’ve always been the underdog.

Fast forward eight years and The Enemy have matured, humbled and ripened into something far more complete and purposeful and become a well established act. Three albums, all top ten, including “we’ll live and die in these towns” that topped the UK top 40 and went on to go Platinum and become the soundtrack for a new disaffected generation. There was also a plethora of Top 10 singles which rivals most of their contemporaries. Whilst the band might be more mature today, they’re still every bit as passionate. In fact as time goes on the bond between the band and fans seems to strengthen and the music continues to evolve. The Enemy aren’t supposed to be the worlds trendiest band, their best moments have been in the face of adversity, their finest work has been made when nobody thought it was possible. The spirit of The Enemy is something you can’t bottle, you can’t even really describe, you certainly can’t fake, but you can hear it in their music and you can sense it in the air of their live performances. When you boil it down, The Enemy are simply three young musicians who aren’t about cool, or “celebrity”, they’re just in it for the love of music and the passion of the fans

The Twang are an indie rock band from Birmingham, England, formed in 2001. The band have released two studio albums – Love It When I Feel Like This (2007) and Jewellery Quarter (2009). Comprising vocalist and guitarist Phil Etheridge, bassist Jon Watkins, vocalist Martin Saunders, guitarist Stu Hartland and drummer Matty Clinton, the band garnered national acclaim when the influential NME magazine produced an article on music acts in the West Midlands (which also featured fellow Midlanders Ripchord and The Enemy) . The band’s debut single, “Wide Awake”, was released March 19, 2007, with their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This (released on June 4, 2007) being produced by Gavin Monaghan, known for his work with Editors, Ocean Colour Scene, Robert Plant, Scott Matthews and The Holloways. The album reached #3 in the UK charts. The Twang’s second album, Jewellery Quarter, was released 3 August 2009 and reached #20 on the UK album chart. The album was produced by Neil Claxton of Mint Royale at Blueprint Studios in Salford.


GO TO NOW and follow the link for tickets at the top of the home page!!!!

By Andy on August 28, 2014

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