The South head south - to Shoreham and Southampton

The South
The South

The great legacy of The Beautiful South lives on with successor band The South, who play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Friday, April 18 and The Brook in Southampton on Thursday, June 5.

The great legacy of The Beautiful South lives on with successor band The South, who play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Friday, April 18 and The Brook in Southampton on Thursday, June 5.

But as singer Dave Hemingway, late of The Beautiful South, points out, they are a band also keen to launch new material.

Dave and Alison Wheeler will be singing plenty of Beautiful Hits including A Little Time, Don’t Marry Her, Rotterdam, Good as Gold, Perfect 10 and many more from the back catalogue.

But the nine-piece will also be performing several songs from their debut album as The South, Sweet Refrains (available on iTunes and Amazon).

“It’s really important to have those new songs otherwise you could end up being a tribute band to yourself, and that’s not what we want to do!” Dave says. “We need to show the audience that we are not just treading water.”

And the great thing is that the audience really are interested in the new material – though Dave is quick to point out that the band would never reel of a whole set of new songs.

“We play three or four new ones in among all the older stuff, and the audience are quite prepared to listen to the new material. But we have got such a huge back catalogue that we can draw on. With The Beautiful South, we certainly had our moments. We had so many great songs, written by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway – really brilliant songs with intelligent lyrics.”

If there was a formula, as Dave says, it was hard-hitting lyrics wrapped up in melodic tunes – and it was a formula which worked well from the band’s beginnings in 1988 through to the split in early 2007.

The Beautiful South had a string of hit singles such as Old Red Eyes Is Back, Rotterdam, Don’t Marry Her, Perfect 10 and number one single A Little Time.

Their greatest hits album, Carry On Up The Charts, was one of the fastest-selling albums in UK history, entering at number one and staying there for weeks, becoming one of the country’s most popular albums ever.

After nearly 20 years, ten studio albums, five greatest hits compilations, 34 chart singles, 15 million record sales worldwide and performing in front of millions of fans, when time was called on the band, not everyone was ready to leave the party.

“The Beautiful South finished in January 2007. We were just coming off the back of an arena tour, and then we called it a day. Paul wanted to do his own thing, which was fair enough. He decided that he would go out on his own in a change of direction. In a way, we accepted that, but we also felt that we had not finished with things. That’s why 18 months later, after a bit of time out, we decided to see if we could carry on with the music in a way that was worthwhile. At the time, I had no plans to be in the band again. It was not in my thinking, but I was approached by the drummer. For me it was important that we proved to ourselves that we were good enough to carry on with the music and that we didn’t tarnish the reputation by trying to do it when we couldn’t.”

They tried it out – and concluded they could certainly do it justice...

“I get to sing the songs that Paul used to sing, and we are reduced from three singers to two times, but really it is not much different.”

Tickets on 01273 464440 or www.ropetacklecentre.co.uk.