From DIY shopping to star gig support

A Wigan singer-songwriter got a dream last-minute call-up to support a chart-topping star at a hometown gig while he was in a DIY store.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 11:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:27 pm
John Anderton
John Anderton

John Anderton, from Orrell, took to the stage at The Old Courts to open for well-known ‘80s and ‘90s group Roachford after getting the gig at just a few hours’ notice.

John was buying some paint in B&Q last Saturday afternoon when he got a call from the Crawford Street arts hub saying the act originally on the bill had been forced to pull out.

He dashed to the venue and played to a packed house before Andrew Roachford, the man famous for hits Cuddly Toy and Family Man, took to the stage with his band.

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John Anderton and Andrew Roachford backstage at The Old Courts

The two musicians met up backstage and John, who also performs on the local scene with his band The Lonestars, says the evening was definitely one of his major ambitions realised.

He said: “I was just in B&Q deciding what paint to buy for the bedroom when I got the call to say the support act had pulled out. It’s a nice story, Saturday afternoon in a DIY store, Saturday night on stage.

“It was a packed-out gig, there must have been 300 people there. It’s definitely one off the bucket list for me.

“He was great to meet, very cool and a lot like Errol Brown, the guy from Hot Chocolate. He was a big star back in the ‘80s and ‘90s and now he just tours around with his band.

John Anderton and Andrew Roachford backstage at The Old Courts

“He thanked me for warming the crowd up and said he appreciated me stepping in at the last minute.

“He told me he couldn’t watch my set but he said he had heard some of it and liked it.”

Singer Roachford visited the borough as part of a UK tour with the group bearing his name before he heads out to Europe with Mike and the Mechanics.

John got the gig started with some of his own songs, which generally reflect his own rootsy influences in folk and US music, as well as a few covers of classic tracks such as Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.

John has become a well-known face on the Wigan scene, organising charity fund-raising gigs and attending open mic nights while juggling his day job as a driving instructor.

He returned to The Old Courts with the rest of The Lonestars for a charity gig in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH).

The Old Courts director Jonathan Davenport said: “At the time of confirming the Roachford show with his agent I also confirmed the support act to complete the line-up.

“That stayed the same for months and months until a couple of days before the gig arrived when unfortunately Robbie Cavanagh had to withdraw from his support slot. Robbie is a superb musician and an absolute professional so it was just one of those things.

“Needing to find alternative support, and quick, we made the call to John. He runs our Tuesday night open mic nights, is a great advocate of The Old Courts and an established performer besides.

“John was delighted to take us up on the offer and subsequently delivered a barnstorming set to a brilliant crowd that had travelled from all across the UK. It was one of those nights that just worked really well and definitely one John won’t forget in a hurry either.”