A SELL-OUT gig at Sunderland Minster is helping to spark a musical renaissance.
The Futureheads’ concert at the historic city centre church on May 19 has proved so successful that they are staging a second night.
It will see the four-piece perform a capella with a choir and is part of a drive to provide a variety of musical experiences to Wearside audiences.
Folk act Chased by Wolves have already hit the high note at the minster and rising star Natasha Haws will also perform there in May.
Verger Tracy McKeever says it’s great to see the church being used by more sections of the community.
“The Chased by Wolves gig was brilliant,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of bands perform in bars in Sunderland but this was something different. The sound quality was amazing.
“Although alcohol is served in the back part of the church the gigs seem to be striking the right balance between people having fun while also being respectful of the fact this is a church.”
The Futureheads’ second night will take place on May 18 and is being staged by Pop Sex Ltd, a label set up by fellow Mackem outfit Frankie and the Heartstrings.
Ross Millard, from The Futureheads, who are fresh from touring with a capella album Rant, said: “Because this venue has a modest capacity the gig sold out before most people had a chance to hear about it.
“I think these gigs will be superb. A capella means music of the chapel so a church is the ultimate setting to perform an a capella set. We are used to performing in a traditional setting in our home town, such as in a bar, but this makes it extra special.
“It’s a totally different atmosphere when you perform to a seated audience, it gives the music the respect that’s required.”
He added: “It’s fantastic for Sunderland to have more things like this happening. Having an outlet like this encourages creativity.”
As well as a label through which to release music, Pop Sex strives to provide unusual creative projects in the region.
Dave Harper, from Frankie and the Heartstrings, said: “Sunderland is a very difficult town to sell tickets in. People don’t have a lot of money so if they are going to spend their money it needs to be for something worthwhile.
“This is an amazing environment in which to stage a gig which has very much been a community effort. The first gig sold out a month in advance because this is a great band in a great place.
“I’ve always been a fan of putting on a show, not just a gig.”
•Tickets for The Futureheads at Sunderland Minster on May 18 go on sale today from 9am. Priced £12.50, they are available from Hot Rats on Stockton Road, Sunderland, Reflex Records in Newcastle city centre, seetickets.com and netickets.net.