Bunch Of Fives: The Purnells | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If Jesus taught us one thing, aside from the ‘don’t judge people’ stuff, it would be that not everything that dies stays dead. This is true in the case of Teesside bluesy rock ‘n’ rollers The Purnells who, after a four years period of being apart, return from oblivion to write new material and share their already robust back catalogue.

The exciting live performers announce that they will be performing at The Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Friday 9th July as well as making their single Black Dog Laughing available on all streaming platforms from today.

To get excited for their return we asked lead singer Stu Blackburn to have a reminisce and tell us about the top five The Purnells performances (so far)…

Stockton Calling
We’ve played quite a few Stockton Calling festivals and every one of them have been so much fun, the event is always so well organised and full of energy from both the bands and the audience.  If I had to pick one though, it would have to be the second time we played at the Arc.  It was in the point, which is a very atmospheric stage with a balcony, so we decided to take advantage of this.  We photocopied fake bank notes with the band’s name on, and during our first song we had friends in the balcony to throw the ‘cash’ over the audience!  It just set the tone for the whole set and everyone seemed to love it … until they realised it wasn’t real money!

Stockton Weekender
We were lucky enough to be involved in all five Stockton Weekenders and even though it’s long since ended, it still remains one of my very favourites to play.  A moment that stands out for me was our last performance there, it was during empty pockets and I got a little carried away while falling over on stage, as a result I squashed my harmonica, so when it came to my solo it wouldn’t play!  So, I dived into the audience wearing my ski mask and started waltzing with my fiancée to pass the time, she was horrified, especially as our picture ended up in the paper!  (video link included for different SCW performance – 2012).

Richmond Live
This was another fantastic festival we were lucky enough to be part of and one that was recorded professionally so it was great to see our performance with different shots.  At the time I was working at a place that was having a tidy out of stuff and I found this giant chipmunk mascot head! Me being me I thought ‘I’m having that!’ and so I borrowed it for shows that summer.  It seemed to be well received and added a bit of theatrical nonsense to the opening of our set.  We’re very much a band of theatrical nonsense, so it fit our show perfectly. 

The Cluny
I’ve put The Cluny on this list because we’ve always loved playing here.  We’ve played here a few times and every time is special.  The Newcastle audiences are always so welcoming and really show you when they enjoy your set, and the atmosphere at the Cluny is always unique.  I’d say it’s really an iconic venue.  Although, I will say I get a kick out of the challenge of bringing my climbing up and jumping off style of performance to that particular stage.  I hope we get a chance to return there soon.

The Purnells Final Gig – The Georgian Theatre
This was a very emotional gig for all of us, and fitting that our last show (as well as or up-coming comeback show) was held at The Georgian, as it really feels like our spiritual home.  It was a show that, yet again, began with another piece of ridiculous head gear, this time it was an old Henry hoover converted into a sort of weird mask!  We went all out to make it a true Purnells show, full of face paint and crowd invasions.  I remember sitting on the floor with several audience members, hugging each other and singing the songs together.  The end of this show will always stand out, because of the emotion in the room.

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