“I’m starting… to worry… about Ray!”

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I have seen a bunch of great bands play at Live Lounge to small crowds and this is a real shame as it suggests that the people of Doncaster don’t care about live music. Those reading this know that isn’t true however so it was refreshing to see the Hoosiers drawing a decent sized crowd.

The Bracknell band are celebrating the ten year anniversary of their number one smash album The Trick to Life with a nationwide tour where they have been playing the album in full. The Hoosiers have always been visually striking they bounce on stage tonight each dressed in a colour that matches their stage backdrop. ‘Worried About Ray’ kicks things off and it still sounds as catchy as it did back in 2007 while Irwin Sparkes falsetto voice is unchanged. One big complaint in smaller venues is that bands tend to play too loud which can lead to poor sound quality, happily the Hoosiers avoid this pitfall and end up sounding sharp and tight all evening.

It’s easy to see why The Trick to Life was so popular as it is packed full of choppy riffs and melodic choruses and the crowd meet each song with enthusiasm. ‘Goodbye Mr A’ was arguably the bands most famous song and it soars here, especially given a bit of a rougher sound by Sparkes crunching guitar. ‘Cops and Robbers’ is an underrated song and Sparkes and co clearly enjoy giving the old favourite a run through here.

I have always been a fan of the Hoosiers but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that they are probably nobodies favourite band. It is a testament to the quality of their singles then that they are still able to fill decent sized venues after a decade of putting out music. One of the reasons for this is that the bands enthusiasm is infectious and they clearly still love playing these songs, as a poignant rendition of ‘Everything Goes Dark’ attests to.

Drummer Alan Sharland mentions that this is the third time that the band have played in Doncaster and asks about the current status of the Leopard (the pub, not the animal). It’s always satisfying to see a band returning to Donny and the crowd get their money’s worth for a career spanning conclusion that sees later singles ‘Somewhere in the Distance’ and ‘Up to no Good’ mixed with covers of The Weekend, Kate Alexa and Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire. The latter is perhaps not my favourite ever song but the Hoosiers put enough of their own spin on the track to justify playing it live.

Sparkes and Sharland confirm their commitment to their fans by stating that they will be happy to stay for autographs and pictures after the gig and it is genuinely heart warming to see a band having a great time playing their songs amongst their people. A night of smiles.

This article was written for Doncopolitan magazine:

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