Wearside ‘pit pop’ band launch debut album with charity gig

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A Wearside band are celebrating the launch of their debut album with a gig in aid of a charity which helped care for the lead singer’s baby son.

Eight-piece Dennis have coined the phrase “pit pop” with their colliery band meets indie act sound.

After building a loyal following locally, the band have released their debut album, Open Your Eyes, the launch of which coincides with a Christmas charity show at Arts Centre Washington.

The gig, on November 18, will raise funds for Edinburgh-based Simpsons Special Care Babies who cared for singer Dan Gibson’s son George.

Dan’s wife Donna, 36, went into labour nine weeks early when the couple were attending a wedding in the Scottish capital in August last year.

Donna was rushed to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where George was born weighing just 3lbs14oz, requiring round-the-clock care.

Donna, Dan and George

Donna, Dan and George

Today he’s a happy healthy 15-month old, but Dan wants to give back to the charity which supported the family through the toughest of times.

“The way the charity looked after us was fantastic,” said Dan, 36, who lives in Hetton. “They provided us with things like clothes and supported us through a tough time. It really opened our eyes to a different world. We said at the time that if we get through this, we would give something back.

“George was in Edinburgh Hospital for two weeks in intensive care, before being transferred to Sunderland Royal for another two weeks. Today he’s doing fantastically-well, you would never know he was premature. He’s a little monster.”

Open Your Eyes showcases the band’s unique sound which celebrates their home town of Hetton’s mining heritage. As well as performing with the instruments the band learnt to play in their local brass band, their video for single Give Me Soul features footage of Durham Miners’ Gala over the years.

George is all smiles today

George is all smiles today

Dan says the album, which was released at the end of last month, has been well received.

“It’s had an excellent reception, we’ve been blown away by the support,” he said. “People are beginning to pick up on what we do and buy into the fact that we’re a community-based band.

“On paper, our style of music can look like an odd combination of brass band and straight up indie band, but it gives us a unique sound.”

•Dennis play Arts Centre Washington on Friday, November 18 at 7pm with support from Durham’s Outside Your House and Sunderland’s Picnic. Tickets are £8 from

•Open Your Eyes, released via Sapien Records Ltd, is available nationally on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital in stores and online.