Noughties indie band the Hoosiers made a stop in Blackpool on their current tour. Stephen Dunstan writes that despite being reduced in size, the two piece filled Bootleg with a big sound and big energy.

Given the main event tonight was an acoustic set from The Hoosiers it was understandable that the support set from Nonstick Pans was stripped back – namely a single guitar and voice of locally-raised Peter Rugman. He introduced his songs with a self-deprecating wit, and at one point even bigging up the Sixth Form over Blackpool and the Fylde College! His set was entertaining, with melodic pop tunes from the album Nineteen Sixty Four including It’s Okay To Be Sad (Sometimes) and Jennifer String.

The Hoosiers are of course a group with a long pedigree, their number one debut album The Trick To Life is now over 16 years old. It was no surprise then, that Bootleg Social was packed for this acoustic gig. Their later work is perhaps not so well known and one of my daughters asked if they were a Hosier tribute act when I said I was going, but there plenty of youthful faces in the audience.

You wouldn’t have realised it was an acoustic gig, from the sound or the way it went down with the audience.

The set opened with Irwin Sparkes on stage alone for one number. He was joined then by Alan Sharland who ensured that there was a high level of audience participation. As you’d expect all five of the band’s hit singles received an enthusiastic response. There was the most frenetic reaction to the biggest hit Goodbye Mr A, but my highlight was Worried About Ray probably because I’ve always had a soft spot for the track with its quirky title.

Material from all five albums by the different incarnations of the group, from four piece to duo, were played. This included last year’s album Confidence, and the deluxe edition, Overconfidence, which was only released a fortnight ago. It can be a challenge playing stuff that some of the audience don’t know, but tracks like Idaho drew people in with catchy choruses.

Alan said that The Hoosiers have at least one more album in them, so they clearly aren’t planning to stop just yet. Judging by the way they engaged with the Bootleg crowd and the response they received you can see why. The best compliment I can give is that you wouldn’t have realised it was an acoustic gig, from the sound or the way it went down with the audience.

Keep your eye on upcoming gigs at Bootleg in the gigs section of our listings.

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