Review: Frankie and the Heartstrings, Pure, Sunderland

Frankie Francis, Michael McKnight, Dave Harper, Dennis, Mick Ross

Frankie Francis, Michael McKnight, Dave Harper, Dennis, Mick Ross

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A SWARM of Frankiephiles poured into Pure to see their musical heroes’ first hometown gig in over a year.

The lads have been holed up in studios and rehearsal rooms for the past few months fine-tuning their second – as-yet-untitled – album, so there was much excitement about what the five-piece would deliver.

There was something intrinsically Mackem about the gig. Not only was this a Sunderland band, playing a Sunderland venue at a Sunderland-friendly price (tickets were £5 a pop), but the band peppered the gig with references to their beloved hometown such as tucking into pre-gig scran at Mr Cod, and describing it as “that place where there’s loads of bands but no venues”.

Even the tickets were hand-made by the band themselves.

As gig venues go, Pure proved perfect. Along with the rest of the bar, the upstairs space has been renovated as part of its re-opening late last year and was more than capable of catering for a couple of hundred music-lovers.A receptive crowd gave the band a warm Wearside welcome as their tracks hit the rafters in this loft space.

Ever the charismatic front man, Frankie threw himself into the music.

Gone is the trademark quiff – I suspect this may be because it’s a hairstyle that’s since been adopted by the Geordie Shore brigade – to be replaced by wavy curtains.

It only served to give him more movement as he made sweeping gesticulations and twirled the microphone like an indie pop baton in tune to the tracks.

The more well-known tracks from their Top 40 debut album Hunger, including the title track which now famously appears as the soundtrack to Domino’s pizza ads, inevitably got the best reception, but their new material also proved catchy on its first home-town outing.

Hunger’s infectious chorus has become so linked to fast food, that it made a refreshing change to hear it live in all its toe-tapping glory.

I, like many other owners of Hunger, have been looking forward to seeing what would emerge from the Frankie camp in regards to the often difficult second album.

If this taster was anything to go by, it’s set to be another ear-pleasing offering.

Katy Wheeler

Twitter: @sunechokaty