Radio 1 favourites to play free Sunderland gig

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A band tipped for the top by Radio 1 will play a Sunderland shop as part of Independent Venue Week.

Hull-based Life, who featured on BBC’s Radio 1’s best of BBC Introducing list for 2015, will take to the stage at the new Pop Recs Ltd on January 25.

The band have enjoyed multiple spot plays by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music and Huw Stephens on Radio 1 with single GoGoGo, and represented BBC Introducing at Reading and Leeds Festival last year.

Pop Recs, which recently opened in the former tattoo shop in Stockton Road, is one of a host of venues taking part in the national Independent Venue Week.

Now in its third year, the week is a seven day celebration of small music venues across the UK, taking place from January 25-31.

Dave Harper from Pop Recs said: “Independent venues are – at best – functioning, and, at their worst, under pressure from more corporate venues, so having a thing like Independent Venue Week shining a light on the great and the good among our many independent venues is fine by me.”

For a second year running, Vauxhall will support Independent Venue Week with the 2016 Vivaro On Tour campaign, offering up-and-coming British artists free use of a British-built Vivaro throughout the year, as they tour throughout the country - and they’ll be helping to get Life to Sunderland.

Drummer Dave, who took part in last year’s Independent Venue Week with band Frankie & the Heartstrings, said: “Vauxhall were kind enough to provide us with a van to kick-off our tour last year, and we were nice enough not to smash it to pieces.

“It can be difficult enough to put a tour together – often it doesn’t make financial sense, or common sense for that matter, but Vauxhall helped us to do what we do. And helped to shine a light on these venues.”

Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Week, said: “Smaller venues are a crucial parts of the UK music scene, where some of the biggest names today have started out. Independent Venue Week is all about putting a spotlight on these independently-run businesses in order to keep the music scene thriving.”

•Life play Pop Recs, Stockton Road, on Monday, January 25, at 7pm. Entry is free.