Review: Frankie & the Heartstrings, Independent, Good Friday

Frankie and the Heartstrings band. Frankie Francis, Michael McKnight, Dave Harper, Dennis, Mick Ross

Frankie and the Heartstrings band. Frankie Francis, Michael McKnight, Dave Harper, Dennis, Mick Ross

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IT was a triumphant homecoming for Sunderland princes of indie pop Frankie & The Heartstrings.

Fresh from promoting their debut album Hunger around Europe, the band returned to where it all began – the Independent stage.

It was here, back in 2008, that the five-piece launched their sound so it seemed befitting that, still riding the wave of success, they should perform on home turf.

Hunger’s done the lads proud reaching No 32 in the charts and the sell-out crowd seemed to know every word of the eagerly-anticipated record.

Anthemic title track Hunger had the audience –- which was peppered with Sunderland music alumni from bands Field Music and The Futureheads – chanting along in appreciation.

Fragile, its haunting intro and its achingly lovely love song lyrics, are a favourite for me, but Hunger’s an album filled with infectious tracks.

At the helm of the stage, a newly-shorn front man Frankie, though somewhat missing his trademark foppish quiff, was on top form.

Back in the day he was landlord at the then White Rooms, yards from Independent, but it’s the stage where he belongs.

He commands the audience with every flick of his hand and shake of his skinny jeans-clad pelvis. It was a passionate performance from all the Strings though, who seemed genuinely humbled to be performing at the venue which would pave their way for their sets at Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading.

But a pop band’s work is never done and they’re back on the road now promoting forthcoming single That Postcard.

Hopefully, they won’t leave it so long to play Sunderland again.