Frankie And the HeartstringsFrankie & The Heartstrings
The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Live Review

As part of Independent Venue Week esteemed producer, musician and songwriter Edwyn Collins is curating a string of gigs at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge.

As you may know, Hebden Bridge was severely affected by the Boxing Day floods that led to many businesses being destroyed or severely damaged. Over the years the Trades Club has built itself up into an important live music venue and was shortlisted in the NME Small Venue of the Year award. It too was severely affected by the flooding which makes this series of events all the more important in keeping the venue alive. The bands bass player, Simon Hubbard, had produced some limited edition screen prints for the occasion with all proceeds going to help the flood support.

Frankie & The Heartstrings have a long history with Collins, having produced their first album and collaborated on their recent Christmas Single, (Too Right) It’s Christmas. It’s little wonder then that the Sunderland lads were picked to perform at this small yet perfectly formed venue.

‘We’re from the North,’ pronounces drummer Dave Harper.
’So are these people,’ replies singer Frankie Francis before launching into the title track from their most recent album Decency. A good opening tune, with strong intro riffs on Ross Millard’s guitar giving way to the bands signature and unashamedly catchy pop sensibilities. A moment follows with an adjustment to Ross’s monitors and the band continue on into Tender, a nod to Fitzgeralds book Tender is the Night before steaming straight into Berlin Calls, another high energy pop song from their latest album.

Guitarists Ross Millard and Michael McKnight work in a seamless performance together trading rhythm and lead licks while newcomer Simon Hubbard on bass fits right into this confident and tight outfit.

The band are joined onstage by James L. Hewitson of Lissie’s Heart Murmer providing a cut down horn section for Save It For Tonight, Money and Think Yourself Lucky.

Frankie Francis performance is energetic and he’s very much at home in front of a crowd as is Dave Harper heckling from behind the kit. Frankie jokes that they only play stadiums. The banter between Dave, Frankie and Ross between songs only adds to the entertainment value in what is a solid performance from this Wearside 5 piece. They’re clearly enjoying themselves as is the audience.

After a setlist full of up tempo beats, they slow it down a bit and close things off with Fragile from their debut album before leaving the stage to hang out with the fans, chatting and signing posters.
Look out for the band as they head out on the road in March for a full tour of the UK.

Set list:

Berlin Calls
I Still Follow You
That Girl, That Scene
Save It For Tonight
Think Yourself Lucky

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