The South heads north

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From The Beautiful South came The South, touring their album Sweet Refrains at Gala’s Volunteer Hall on November 21.

When The Beautiful South split in 2008, two of its three lead singers, Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler formed The South, who will be singing from their debut album and old hits.

Joining Dave and Alison in the nine-piece band are fellow originals Damon Butcher on keyboard, and Gaz Birtles and Tony Robinson on horn.

In the 20 years since the band evolved from The Housemartins in 1988, The Beautiful South achieved 10 studio albums, five greatest hits compilations, 34 chart singles, and 15million record sales worldwide

The South’s live shows are armed with a back catalogue of hits, such as Song For Whoever, You Keep It All In, Old Red Eyes Is Back, A Little Time, Don’t Marry Her, Rotterdam, Good as Gold, and Perfect 10.

Dave Hemingway’s musical career stretches back to the 80s, when he became a founder member of The Beautiful South after the demise of The Housemartins.

While bassist Norman Cook went on to become superstar DJ Fat Boy Slim, Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway proceeded to form the new band in December 1988, which seemed to defy the normal logic associated with pop bands, in staying together for 20 years.

Dave said: “We were generally a happy band even when some things went wrong, and we continue that gang mentality with The South.”

Over the life of the band, they produced many self-penned hits and had several number one albums – they scored their only number one single with the Dave Hemingway and Briana Corrigan duet ‘A Little Time’.

Members of The South have performed these songs globally in front of hordes of fans from Hull to Houston, contining The Beautiful South’s legacy with their own vibrantly singable and acerbically witty pop.

This year sees them touring their new collection of songs alongside established favourites from their previous incarnation.

Dave added: “Now that we are recording and performing our new songs in amongst old hits, we realise that the standard has to be so high, so there’s some serious quality control in place!”

Describing herself as “Front female vocalist and surrogate Mum to the band,” Alison Wheeler loves performing with The South – “I wouldn’t do anything else if given the choice,” she said.

“The fans still make the pilgrimage,” she adds. “Visually we look pretty much the same onstage and of course the music still sounds fantastic.

“I still get that excitement that comes with a show – whether it’s opening for Robbie Williams in front of 90,000 people or playing a theatre show. We continue to perform and play the songs because we love it; we don’t want to stop – and why should we?”

Tony Robinson joined the band in 1989, playing trumpet and flugel. It was a real disappointment to him when The Beautiful South finished so abruptly. “We had no chance to say goodbye to the fans,” he said.

“It’s great to reconnect to everyone and with The South the music sounds as good as it ever did.”

Tickets from Border Events.