Change of Scene for guitar legend Andy

Andy Bennett
Andy Bennett
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A rock musician will visit Wigan as part of a new chapter in his career going solo following more than a decade in a well-known band.

Former Ocean Colour Scene member Andy Bennett will perform at The Old Courts in the town centre as part of his first nationwide tour as a solo artist.

The singer-songwriter and guitarist will treat fans to an intimate acoustic show at the former seat of justice on Crawford Street next month, playing songs from his upcoming album mixed with a smattering of covers.

Andy, from Stratford on Avon, says he is looking forward to visiting Wigan as he and his former band-mates previously enjoyed a memorable spell on the road in the company of one of the borough’s most renowned DJs.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it, playing in Wigan should be really good. I haven’t done many solo gigs up north as I’ve mainly been playing around the south.

“I think the further north you come the better the fans are. They just appreciate music and I think you get to meet more interesting and enthusiastic people.

“When I was in Ocean Colour Scene we went on tour with Russ Winstanley a couple of times. Instead of having a support band he came on and played some Northern Soul records.

“I had a really good time with him, we spent most of the time going into record shops. I love Northern Soul, soul, Motown and all that kind of thing, it’s great. There’s possibly a bit of influence from that in my own songs but I don’t know if you will be able to hear them.”

Andy left Ocean Colour Scene last year after originally joining the Birmingham-based Britpop act in 2004 and appearing on albums including One for the Road and 21.

He has already given fans a first taste of his solo material with lead single Hole in the Road and is planning to release follow-up Drift Away before a third single and the full-length album hit the shelves this summer.

His gig in The Bailiff Bar will include a number of album tracks, a few choice covers and possibly even a couple of stripped-down versions of Ocean Colour Scene songs.

He said his decision to leave the band was extremely amicable and he is thoroughly enjoying life as a solo artist.

He said: “It’s all change being a solo artist and that’s great. I haven’t fallen out with the guys or anything like that, I’m still really good friends. They asked me if I was sure I wanted to leave before they got a new bass player and headed back out on the road and I said I was OK.

“I was the youngest member of the band by a few years so I feel there’s a lot of youth left in me and I’ve got a point to prove and make sure I can still do it on my own.”

Support acts for the Wigan gig, which has been booked following a conversation between Andy and local musician Paul Southward, are yet to be confirmed.

Andy Bennett will perform at The Old Courts on Saturday March 19, with doors from 7.30pm.