THE fact that the events organiser for Wealdstone FC’s clubhouse – The Vale – is a fan of The Sunshine Underground was one step towards the three-piece band from Leeds playing an acoustic gig there.

Adam Hills also played a part in the crowd-funding scheme that financed TSU’s new album, which is due out in May.

Because the band wanted complete creative licence, TSU signed up to the website PledgeMusic.com rather than a record label.

Adam, a business development manager at Transport for London, stumped up the pledge cost of more than £2,000, which he hopes to get back through ticket sales.

“I’m trying to get a regular music night going at The Vale so when I heard about TSU’s PledgeMusic campaign, it was a bit of a dream come true,” he says. “I’ve got my favourite band at the venue I run.”

Almost 700 other fans have helped to pay for exclusive band-related items; from £8 to order the album, to £1,500 for a private acoustic gig, as well as signed photos, song sheets, and exclusive video clips.

The scheme meant the band had no investment from a record label, and the consequent constraints, and were able to make the shift from indie-rave to a more electronic sound.

“It’s pretty cool as we haven’t had a gig at The Vale in a while, so hopefully this will get things back up and running,” Adam adds.

The Sunshine Underground are playing The Vale in Ruislip on March 1 2014

Craig Wellington, lead singer of TSU, says after years of touring the same venues, he and band mates Stuart Jones and Matthew Gwilt are looking forward to playing somewhere new.

“We’re a very energetic live band so these acoustic gigs are quite a different thing, and we’ve grown to love it – it makes us approach the songs differently,” he says.

“Some of our songs only really work in acoustic gigs. They’re better for our older, more established tracks.”

Somebody’s Always Getting in the Way, from their debut album Raise the Alarm (2006), is a definite for the set list.

“We need to finalise it but it will be quite stripped back and sing-along.

“It’s not all about jumping around, although we can make up for that. We’ll get the electronic stuff in a DJ set afterwards.”

TSU have in the past been labelled a ‘guitar band’, but they are about to prove their namesake.

The Sunshine Underground is a track on Surrender, the third album produced by British electronic duo Chemical Brothers.

“We’d go to watch them live and they’d always play that song at the end of the gigs,” explains Craig. “So the electronic influence has always been there. It’s just that we now feel more comfortable with it.”

The Sunshine Underground are playing The Vale in Ruislip on Match 1 2014
 

The four-year break since TSU’s last album has given them time to develop their sound and make the music they have always wanted to.

“We didn’t want to rush to bring out an album just for the sake of it,” explains Craig.

“We’ve always listened to a lot of electronic music so we had a bit of a revelation – maybe we should make music more similar to who we listen to?

“We’re no longer ‘four lads with guitars’.” (TSU originally was a four-piece.)

Fans will notice a distinct 1980s sound on their new tracks, with influence from the New Order track Blue Monday, and American band Talking Heads.

“But it’s still modern,” says Craig.

Contemporary comparisons include new rave group the Klaxons and Devon rock band, Muse.

“I can see the similarities, but we don’t like to dwell too much on who we sound like,” he adds.

TSU supported Mancunian alt-rock band Happy Mondays in 2007 and again in 2013, when they reformed as the original 80s line-up for the first time in almost two decades.

“They’re really nice people,” says Craig, “but I don’t think they party like they used to.”

The Ruislip gig marks the start of a busy season of album promotion, a tour, and they have already started writing material for their fourth album.

Festival appearances are in the pipeline, but Craig was cagey about which ones.

“It’s being finalised so I can’t say anything, but 2014 is going to be a big one.”

Support at The Vale on Saturday, March 1 comes from Ruislip band BOYS and former Hillingdon resident, folk singer Nicky Phillips.

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets cost £13.75 (including booking fee) via thevaleruislip.co.uk.

To find out more, see facebook.com/thevaleruislip1

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