Friday, 21 February 2014

REWIND: Northern Uproar - 'Town'

The story of Northern Uproar is one of many highs and lows, a great British rock n' roll tale with lots of interesting twists and turns.

The popularity of the 90's Britpop scene opened the gates for many British guitar bands to make their mark on musical history, and in 1995 four teenage lads who hailed from Heald Green, Manchester decided to form their own group. Consisting of Leon Meya (vocals/bass), Jeff Fletcher (guitar), Paul Kelly (guitar) and Keith Chadwick (drums) the band became known for their energetic live shows at The Roadhouse in Manchester, which soon earned them the attention of the NME and Melody Maker. Northern Uproar were still in their teens and hadn't released any material yet, but that didn't stop a bidding war amongst record labels desperate to sign this hugely tipped young act. Eventually it was Heavenly Recordings who snapped them up, and with the record deal in place Northern Uproar decamped to Monnow Valley Studio in Monmouth to record their debut album, whihc was produced by Manics legend James Dean Bradfield. After the massively underrated second album 'Yesterday Tomorrow Today' from 1998 didn't do as well commercially as it should have, the band went their seperate ways the following year. Then in 2006 Northern Uproar officially reformed, but minus Paul Kelly and Keith Chadwick who were now full-time parents. Instead Leon's cousin Noel joined on drums and the band temporarily operated as a three piece until the arrival of Chris Gorman. The band toured and began work on a new album, 'Stand And Fight' which was released in 2007 on the independent label Tiny Rebel. The band went quiet for a few years as Leon moved back to Spain, and a lot of people assumed they had once again split up. 

In May 2011 the band were asked to headline the 'This Feeling' Britpop night at The Vibe Bar in London. The band agreed and played a storming set to a sold-out venue packed full of Northern Uproar fans belting out all the old classics. Realising that they were still loved and respected the band decided to re-launch themselves. The rejuvenated band released their fourth studio album 'All That Was Has Gone' last year in 2013. Listeners will be surprised at the diversity of their latest record, where the optimism of their self titled 1996 debut meets the infectious melodies of their second LP, topping it off with the hard riffing of 'Stand And Fight'. There are fresh ideas and new directions, but Northern Uproar don't jump on bandwagons or desperately try to follow and conform to trends. They simply play the music they love, whatever style it may be, making the best of what they create. 

The band no longer care about scoring top 20 hits or being the toast of the music industry, as Leon explains: "It was always about the music, the rest is smoke and mirrors... and overpayed AandR men. Our reasons for doing this haven't changed since we started age 12. 'Cos it's a fucking amazing way to live, making music with yer mates, and playing it at high volume!" From the 1995 debut album, here's the excellent and rather beautiful 'Town'.

I was honoured to write Northern Uproar's official biography for them, which can be found at their website HERE.



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