EXCLUSIVE: Frankie and the Heartstrings announce Sunderland show and a new single

Frankie and the Heartstrings, left to right; Steve Dennis, Michael McKnight, Frankie Francis, Mick Ross and Dave Harper.
Frankie and the Heartstrings, left to right; Steve Dennis, Michael McKnight, Frankie Francis, Mick Ross and Dave Harper.
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SUNDERLAND’S biggest band of the moment Frankie & the Heartstrings have today announced a festive homecoming gig.

Fresh from a tour of Australia, where the band have signed a record deal with Warner Brothers, the five-piece have exclusively revealed to the Echo that they will play Independent, Holmeside, to make up for their set being cut short at this year’s Split Festival.

The power went out on the final song of their set at the annual festival at Ashbrooke Sports Ground sparking a debate as to whether it was an electricity cut or if the plug had been pulled on the local favourites.

But frontman Frankie Francis, from Houghton, says they are hoping to put it behind them and end the year on a high when they take to the stage on December 29.

He said: “We really wanted another opportunity to play in Sunderland. Obviously the Split Festival didn’t end as well as we would like. It’s something we’ve championed since the beginning and we still support it, but it’s a shame we had a bad ending.

“We’re really looking forward to playing back in Sunderland at Independent. It’s got a good crowd and energy and it’s a lot more intimate than a festival.”

Gig-goers can expect a mixture of tracks from Top 40 debut album Hunger, as well as some new material.

Guitarist Michael McKnight, from Grangetown, said: “We were really disappointed about Split. We hadn’t played Sunderland for a few months and loads of our friends and family had paid to come and see us. I think there was a lot of people there who’d just come to see us too.

“Playing your home town is great, it’s the best atmosphere. In other places, people come along who may have only heard Hunger and want to check us out. But people who come to gigs in Sunderland know the whole album.”

Independent is a befitting venue choice for the band who used to rehearse in loft space there. It’s also where they had their first ever gig in December 2008.

Since then they’ve travelled the globe and become regulars at major festivals such as Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading.

Almost three years to the day since their first gig they’ll perform at Independent after returning home from supporting indie rockers The Vaccines on their UK tour.

Frankie said: “It’s an honour to be asked to support them. I think in the indie world, if you are talking about a band on top of their game, there’s no one bigger than them right now.”

The run-up to Christmas will also see the band busy with gigs in LA and New York.

On November 28 the band will release eagerly-anticipated new material with double A-side Everybody Looks Better (In the Right Light) recorded with musician Bernard Butler and Way You Kiss recorded with Ryan Jarman from The Cribs.

In between record releases, gigs and jet-setting, the band meet regularly at rehearsal space in Sunniside to concentrate on writing new material.

Frankie said: “We haven’t had any material out since the summer so we wanted to put a record out to show people we are still around.”

* Tickets for the gig, priced £10, with support from Leeds-based Spectrals and up-and-coming Sunderland band Spoken Word, go on sale from Wednesday ...CLICK HERE.

The night will also feature a Futureheads DJ set.

Tickets will go on general sale on Friday from Hot Rats, in Stockton Road, and www.seetickets.com. Any remaining tickets will be £12 on the door.

Follow Echo reporter Katy Wheeler on Twitter

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