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Cheshire venue welcomes back pop band for another of the best evenings of entertainment in 40 years

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

By Olivia Hine

  • The South.

  • The South with Alison Wheeler, from the original Beautiful South, at the front.

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A SCENIC venue is welcoming back a pop band to stage an outdoor concert this weekend.

Pop hit sensation, The South, is returning to perform for their third visit to Cheshire as part of their Sweet Refrains 2014 tour.

The band will be at Gawsworth Hall, which is situated in between Macclesfield and Leek, on Friday (July 18).

The Beautiful South split at the start of 2008. However two of the three lead singers, Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler, decided they were having too much fun to get out the pipe and slippers and so formed the new group The South.

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Joining them is fellow mainstays from the original touring band: Damon Butcher, Gaz Birtles and Tony Robinson. Then new to the party is Steve Nutter, Phil Barton, Dave Anderson and Karl Brown.

In their back pockets are some of The Beautiful South's sensational hits including 'Song For Whoever', 'Perfect Ten', 'Rotterdam' and 'Don't Marry Her'.

Accompanied by music from their new album Sweet Refrains which was released in November of last year.

Front lady Alison Wheeler told the Post & Times: "Gawsworth Hall is one of my favourite places to perform as it is such a beautiful venue with such a loyal audience and we always have a lovely day there."

Gawsworth Hall's main stage is an outside venue underneath a marquee with no official seating so audience members are invited to take along a cushion or something to sit on and pick where they want to sit.

This is just one of 68 dates of The South's current tour. Alison added: "So far we have done 20 performances and it is still as much fun as the first day I stepped on stage and we have had such an amazing response."

The group have already been discussing a second album after the great success with the last one which will hopefully be ready for spring or summer next year ready for another tour over the winter. Tickets for The South's concert this Friday (July 18), costing £23.50 can be purchased from Gawsworth Hall, through the band's website or call 0844 780898.

FULL REVIEW AND INTERVIEW BY OLIVIA HINE

This month will see the return of pop band, The South, to Cheshire venue Gawsworth Hall as part of their gigantic 68 date ‘Sweet Refrains’ tour.

We managed to catch up with lead female singer Alison Wheeler while she was on the road. Literally. (The joy of hands free systems!)

One of your next gigs is at Gawsworth Hall not far from our small town of Leek. The venue have said that when you have performed there previously it has been some of the best evenings they have had in over 40 years, are you looking forward to performing there again?

We performed there in 2010 and last year and it is one of my favourite places to perform as it such a beautiful venue with such a loyal audience and we always have a lovely day there. We perform in a covered marquee with an area just in front of the stage for anyone who wants to let their hair down. I’m also looking forward to bringing my family to the area when we visit Centre Parcs this summer.

How is the tour going in general? Is it good to be back on the road or has it been difficult juggling family life and life on the road?

It is such a gigantic tour and by far the biggest I have ever done. It’s daunting but pleasurable. So far we have done 20 performances and it is still as much fun as the first day I stepped on stage and we have had such an amazing response. I have got the best of both worlds. I get to be a full time mother Monday to Friday and then a pop star at the weekend, on the road with such a great group of guys to perform with. I feel guilty as I am having so much fun! Although I have had to have a few early nights.

The whole time with both groups has just been such an amazing experience. I was shoehorned into a group that were already famous after trying and trying to make it and getting nowhere. I was thrown into it with no time to do small venues, I was just straight into tours and TV appearances. It was just wow. Amazing!

I do like the small venues though as we get to meet and greet fans after each show which you don't and can't do at the larger ones. Even if it is just to say hi and thank you for coming as so many of our fans don't just come to just one, they come to 7 or 8 shows a tour so I guess we must be doing something right!

Beautiful South split at the start of 2008, this was a sad time for all the fans and the band members but then Dave Hemingway and yourself decided you were not ready to call it a day, what has it been like transforming into this new line up?

The band is just completely different now and it’s so liberating but it is scary. We have tried to sit our new music with the old Beautiful South stuff, however we do want to try and show how the music has grown and moved on to new things and the feedback has been fantastic!

Did you ever have a moment where you just stopped and thought ‘yeah, I've made it!’?

I remember being on tour for the first time with Beautiful South and I was performing on stage in Manchester in front of around 16,000 people, and I am lucky enough to not suffer with stage fright, but I was just breath taken and the words for Rotterdam just completely left my mind. The audience were just so brilliant and could see what was going on and they just all began singing to me and it was just incredible.

What should we expect from The South in the future?

The second album has been discussed and will hopefully be ready for the spring or summer of next year ready to tour with it after. But it is difficult to buckle down and write music when out on the road performing it. But long may it continue!

The South perform at Gawsworth Hall on July 18th starting at 7:30. Tickets cost £23.50 and can be purchased from Gawsworth Hall, through the band’s website or call 08444 780898.

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