ONE of the region’s most succesful musical exports took to the stage at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall for a high-profile support slot.
Four-piece Starsailor, who met at Wigan and Leigh College and feature Spring View keyboardist Barry Westhead in their ranks, played to thousands of fans at the famous venue opening for Manchester act James.
The group, whose line-up is completed by vocalist and guitarist James Walsh, bassist James Stelfox and drummer Ben Byrne, performed some of their best-known hits including Four to the Floor and Silence Is Easy.
The band met in 2000 while studying at the college’s Leigh campus and went on to release four studio albums, 10 top 40 singles and support slots for the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Killers.
The band split up in 2009, with one of their final gigs being an intimate hometown show at The Tavern pub in Wigan, but reunited earlier this year after pursuing solo projects and other interests.
Freelance journalist Owen Peters, who attended the RAH gig, said: “It only took the opening number Tie Up My Hands to be reminded just how good my hometown band Starsailor really are.
“They had an extra member with them for the first time since the inception of Starsailor, and rolled back the years with Mark Collins from The Charlatans becoming part of the band.
“There were heavier rocking tracks like Poor Misguided Fool, which had a driving keyboard solo by Barry Westhead, and Good Souls while Tell Me It’s Not Over epitomised what they can offer with painful lyrics. The acoustics allowed the ballad Alcoholic to ping from tier to tier, with the audience singing along each line lyric perfect.
“The final songs had audience participation clapping and foot stomping which reverberated through the RAH quite nicely. When they left the stage the audience made it clear they wanted the band back for an encore.
“It was as if they had never been away. All they need is a new album. I liked seeing a Wigan band take London’s RAH by storm, and it’s just what Starsailor did on the night.”
The band played around a 45-minute set at the venue made famous as the home of the annual BBC Proms festival but which has also played host to many of popular music’s biggest names as part of James’ La Petite Mort tour.
Starsailor are currently taking bookings to appear at major music festivals in 2015. For more information about the band, visit www.starsailorband.co.uk