Badly Drawn Boy pulls in the crowds at Frankie & The Heartstrings pop-up Sunderland music shop

Badly Drawn Boy playing a free gig at Pop Recs Ltd.
Badly Drawn Boy playing a free gig at Pop Recs Ltd.
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Badly Drawn Boy drew the biggest crowds yet to Pop Recs Ltd.

The series of free live gigs has seen scores flock to the former derelict Tourist Information Office in Fawcett Street which has been given a whole new lease of life by Frankie & the Heartstrings.

The Mackem five-piece were undeterred by people telling them their idea to create a pop-up shop, venue and arts space wouldn’t work and, now in its second week, Pop Recs Ltd is gathering speed.

Monday’s Badly Drawn Boy gig was one in a series of highlights which have seen Ross Jarman from The Cribs perform a DJ set as well as performances from Paul Smith from Maximo Park, The Futureheads and Martin Stephenson & The Daintees.

On Saturday night Pop Recs Ltd will welcome Ivor Novello Award-winning Edwyn Collins to the stage.

But it doesn’t stop there, Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper says the venue may run longer than its intended two-weeks.

“We hope it will run longer than the two weeks and we’re looking at booking other acts but we need the people of Sunderland to support it. And the end of the day we’re a small business,” he explained.

“All the shows have been full and better attended than we thought. At Monday’s there was a point where we thought we were going to have to shut the doors.

“In a way we actually feel smug. We were told this couldn’t happen and it has. Sunderland has so many chips on its shoulder but it doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be grey all the time or poorly organised.”

As well as gigs, the venue sells vinyl records, exhibits local art work and even sells its own specially-brewed coffee and beer.

Maxim Brewery, based in Rainton Bridge, has created a The Days Run Away beer, named after the band’s recently released second album, which is being sold in the shop as well as a coffee of the same name created by Ouseburn Coffee.

There’s also vintage furniture to buy. Make sure you use this great idea or we’ll lose it.

Katy Wheeler

Twitter: @Sunechokaty