Touring is second Nature say The Bluetones ahead of Sheffield show

Britpop survivors The Bluetones are excited to hit the road next month - playing one of their hit albums in full.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 1:12 pm
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 2:12 pm
The Bluetones - from left, singer Mark Morriss, guitarist Adam Devlin, bassist Scott Morriss and drummer Eds Chesters.

With the rise in popularity of vinyl - partly driven by the love of nostalgia - The Bluetones bowed to public demand and released two of their albums on the vintage format earlier this year for the first time.

Science and Nature - featuring top 20 singles Keep the Home Fires Burning and Autophilia (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Car) - reached number seven on its release in May 2000, while The Singles, featuring all the band's singles up to that point, reached number 14 on its release in April 2002.

Mark Morriss, The Bluetones lead singer and songwriter, says: "Science and Nature signalled a break from the recording habits we’d established on our first two albums, and a chance to express ourselves in a completely new environment, and using technology we’d not worked with before.

"Recorded in isolation, during the summer of the lunar eclipse 1999, it’s a record that captures the band trying our hand at new musical styles, and has a freshness and warmth that still emits all these years later.

"We did the reissue earlier this year and it did pretty well. It's an album we have always had a lot of affection for - it was the first time we used digital recording. It was a wonderul summer for us, the summer of '99. We love the album.

"And to have the Singles Collection get a release on vinyl is something that many people have been hankering after for years, and it’s truly satisfying to finally have the thing out in the LP racks at last.“

And following the releases, the band are heading out on their now traditional biennual tour, starting in Glasgow on Halloween, with dates in Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham next month, playing Science in Nature in full.

The Bluetones - from left, bassist Scott Morriss, singer Mark Morriss, guitarist Adam Devlin and drummer Eds Chesters.

Mark says: "It will be a show of two halves. We love the idea of doing the album from beginning to end. There will be an interval and then we'll come out and do a greatest hits set."

And the band have plenty of hits to choose from.

Debut album Expecting to Fly knocked Oasis's (What's the Story) Morning Glory? off the UK album chart top spot on its release in February 1996 and sparked top-40 singles Bluetonic, Cut Some Rug and their biggest hit Slight Return, while follow-up Return to the Last Chance Saloon boasts top-20 hits If and Solomon Bites the Worm.

And, unlike some musicians who profoundly dislike playing the same songs every show, Mark embraces them.

"There are certain songs that you feel you have to play, Slight Return being one of them," he says.

"You look out at the crowd and see the pleasure people get from you playing it - it's hard to remain cyncial. You know it's the song that people look forward to."

The Bluetones split in 2011 and while the others developed careers work away from music - bassist Scott, Mark's younger brother, is an illustrator, guitarist Adam Devlin is a businessman, while drummer Eds Chesters is a qualified osteopath - Mark developed a solo career.

The band reformed in 2015 for regular tours, which Mark fits around his solo commitments.

"It's a very enjoyable experience being on the road," he says. "I like it. I live being away and I like coming home. You can't have one without the other. It's where I belong."

But Mark, who celebrates his 48th birthday last week, admits he never expected to still be on the road more than 20 years later.

"You don't now what you're going to do when you're 23 or 24," he says. "It's a universe way, what you'll be doing in your 40s.

"I certainly didn't expect we still be playing or still be singing those songs."

The Bluetones are not the only Britpop band still on the road. Dodgy, Cast and Shed Seven have all reformed and enjoy regular tours. Indeed, it can be argued that Shed Seven's profile has never been bigger, with a new album under the belt and gearing up for their first ever headline arena show, in Leeds in December, supported by Sheffield favourites Reverend and The Makers.

But, Mark says, nostalgia is nothing new.

"Nostalgia has always been a big thing," he says, "but now it's happening to you.

"It doesn't feel nostalgic when you're up there on stage, it doesn't feel like we're going 'remember the 90s' when we're up there."

The Bluetones play Sheffield's The Leadmill on Saturday, November 2, and Nottingham's Rescue Rooms on Thursday, November 14. For tickets, see