GIG – The Twang at The Wedgewood Rooms – Sunday 11th November 2012

The Twang are an indie rock band from Birmingham, England, formed in 2001. The band have released two studio albums – Love It When I Feel Like This (2007) and Jewellery Quarter (2009). Comprising vocalist and guitarist Phil Etheridge, bassist Jon Watkins, vocalist Martin Saunders, guitarist Stu Hartland and drummer Matty Clinton, the band garnered national acclaim when the influential NME magazine produced an article on music acts in the West Midlands (which also featured fellow Midlanders Ripchord and The Enemy) .

The band’s debut single, “Wide Awake”, was released March 19, 2007, with their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This (released on June 4, 2007) being produced by Gavin Monaghan, known for his work with Editors, Ocean Colour Scene, Robert Plant, Scott Matthews and The Holloways. The album reached #3 in the UK charts.

The Twang’s second album, Jewellery Quarter, was released 3 August 2009 and reached #20 on the UK album chart. The album was produced by Neil Claxton of Mint Royale at Blueprint Studios in Salford.

Lead singer Phil Etheridge is an Aston Villa supporter, Saunders is a Birmingham City supporter whilst the rest are West Bromwich Albion supporters as stated in a Live Lounge session on BBC Radio 1 presented by Jo Whiley.

The band was formed in Quinton, Birmingham by Phil Etheridge and Jon Watkin after the pair studied music technology together at Kidderminster College. The Twang originally performed in and around Birmingham under the name “Neon Twang”. However, this was allegedly changed due to minor scuffles between the band’s fans and punters in various Pubs. These events prevented them booking gigs in some venues, hence the need for the name change. The band have been quoted saying that they do not promote violence at their performances and criticised the lack of doormen and security at local venues.

During the “Neon Twang” period, the band’s sound was very similar to how it is now, some very early track names being “See It Thru”, “Big Day Out”, live favourite “Shoot To Kill”, “Time Waits”, “Push The Ghost”, “Aimless With An Aim” and the reggae influenced “Fake ID”. “Aimless With An Aim” and “Fancy That” later appeared as B-Sides to the band’s first single “Wide Awake”. Demos of early these Neon Twang tracks can still be found online and are much beloved by fans.

In the early days prior to Stuart Hartland and drummer Matty Clinton joining the group, lead singer Phil Etheridge and bass player Jon Watkin swapped instruments on numerous “Neon Twang” tracks (“Cloudy Room”, “Push The Ghosts” and “Aimless With An Aim” being surviving tracks from this period). Etheridge frequently played bass guitar and sang, whilst Watkin played lead guitar. The addition of Hartland in late 2005 enabled Watkin to take over bass duties permanently and allowed Etheridge to perform songs live with much more enthusiasm, although the frontman’s trademark dancing was still evident whilst playing bass.


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