Born in Salford and raised on romance, THE LOTTERY WINNERS can be found at the midpoint ‘twixt the North West’s dual musical meccas, Manchester and Liverpool have claimed many a legendary artist as their own, but more often than not they hailed from somewhere betwixt the two. Somewhere beneath Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills’, somewhere called Leigh, the birthplace of Georgie Fame and the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley. Its 2016 and Lancashire has done it again, spawning the best live band to emerge from the North West in a generation.
-Expected to be a recurrent name in the lists of bands to watch in 2017, The Lottery Winners’ brilliantly buoyant indie pop tunes will be bursting into glorious life on Valentines’ Day, with the help of superstar producer Danton Supple (Coldplay/Norma Jean Martine/Morrissey) Set to be a recurrent name in the lists of bands to watch in 2017, The Lottery Winners’ brilliantly buoyant indie pop tunes are being set to record by superstar producer Danton Supple (Coldplay/Norma Jean Martine/Morrissey), and will be bursting into glorious life on Valentines’ Day. The recording is being overseen by Seymour Stein, the US A&R legend responsible for the careers of Madonna, Talking Heads and the Ramones as well as local heroes Echo & The Bunnymen and The Smiths. Good company to be sharing.
The band were signed right after a storming ship board performance at Liverpool’s Sound City festival. Immediate reactions like that are common for The Lottery Winners. They’re not just a band you like, they’re a band you LOVE. Fans have already shown their love when, wanting to raise money to buy a van to go on tour, The Lottery Winners completely smashed a Pledge Music campaign, hitting the target within three days. Three days! A Pledge Music record. Van bought, The Lottery Winners set off down the A579 and didn’t come back ’til they had won over the audiences of bands like Clean Cut Kid, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Madness, Circa Waves, Rat Boy, Pete Doherty, Blossoms, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Everything Everything, The Coral, Spring King, The View, The Charlatans, The Wonderstuff and The Wedding Present; at shows from Brighton to Arbroath. A celebratory homecoming World Tour of Lancashire sold out, even the legendary Phoenix Club from Peter Kay’s Pheonix Nights. 11,000 new Facebook friends and a van-full of empty merch boxes was an outstanding haul.
Then came radio. Three songs the band uploaded to BBC Introducing are getting traction across the BBC networks as well as Radio X, Amazing Radio and the reborn Virgin Radio. The blogosphere has taken the band to heart, spreading the love for the incredibly creative videos for Elizabeth, I Know and Young Love (see ‘Quotes’ page attached). Three videos made for less than it cost to tax the van have now been viewed over 200,000 times. You can’t buy personality and fans know authenticity when they find it.
And random things have started to happen. Footballer Vincent Kompany has asked The Lottery Winners play at the Etihad Stadium before Manchester City games whilst Manchester United play Elizabeth over the Old Trafford PA at half time. Comedian Greg Davies is using I Know as the theme tune to his C4 TV show Man Down. Keeping it close to home, über-hip Norman Walsh Footwear have sponsored the band in return for a gig in their Bolton factory and Visit Lancashire has asked the band to film a Lancashire based travelogue series, showing off the bands’ warmth and wit. Tentatively titled Northern Hospitality, the clips feature the band visiting the best that Lancashire has to offer the seasoned traveller – from the heady heights of Blackpool Tower to the depths of the cheese vats at the Lancashire Cheese Company. The county is never boring, but its even better with The Lottery Winners as your guide.
A band biography is meant to include some history, so here goes:
The Lottery Winners formed the way many bands do. Thomas and Robert, best friends since Robert was elected to show Thomas around the new school he’d be attending, shared a passion for music, and could both play guitar and sing. But neither knew anyone with a bass, until a few seconds after their ‘Bassist Wanted’ poster was placed on the notice board of Heybrook Music, Leigh’s only guitar shop. The 15 year old Katie Lloyd just happened to be in there at that time on that day. The position was filled. The band was completed when Joe Singleton, drummer, received a phone call from Katie, high-school best friend, insisting that he became a Lottery Winner. After many declinations, he agreed.
“I remember our very first gig, which was in a pub in Leigh, the Colliers Rest. Literally, hundreds of people turned up. It got to a point where it was uncomfortably full, and people were turned away, and had to watch through the windows. The pub completely ran out of alcohol. We were horrendously under-paid for that one.” recalls Joe. “It’s surreal for us when we leave Leigh, and play in front of audiences in other towns and cities. It’s crazy when they know who we are, and know our songs and sing along with them. I don’t think there’s a better feeling than that.”
With such a fertile music scene, the majority of their early shows were in Lancashire and its environs, with just occasional trips over the Pennines. As interest in the band grew, their live reputation spread fast. Festival bookers took a punt and bigger bands on the bills were so impressed they insisted the The Lottery Winners open for their own shows. “The Lottery Winners are currently the very best of UK rock and pop. They have such a great sense of themselves, unlike anything I have seen and heard in contemporary music in a long, long while. They were the obvious choice to open for us on tour. I love ’em!” Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff).
Radio has also been key to their burgeoning fame. Kate says “BBC Introducing has massively helped spread the word. BBC Introducing is a platform new artists could not live without. They give so many bands so many opportunities, and we owe them so much.” And it’s not just their music filling the airwaves, it’s their personalities too. A most refreshing side to The Lottery Winners is their humour, perhaps no surprise as Peter Kay is a neighbour. BBC Radio 6Music DJ Chris Hawkins remarked that “they’re like the bastard child of Freddie Mercury and Peter Kay”. Though in no way a ‘comedy’ band, their self deprecating and acerbic wit permeate anything they do. Their live shows are entertaining in the best sense of the word. Punchy pop songs set against a backdrop of a fun night out. No-one leaves a Lottery Winners gig without a smile on their face. In this day an age of manufactured popstars and contrived bands who are only as good as their last song (written by someone else), The Lottery Winners connect with people, with fans, with other bands and with you if you give them a chance. They are the real deal, people who love what they do and inspire love in return.
That brings us back to now. The Lottery Winners share a lawyer with The Arctic Monkeys, a merch company with The Vamps and an accountant with Elbow and SJM Concerts. Sennheiser and Yamaha have recently put their faith and money behind the band, kitting out their new rehearsal studio in Leigh. In amongst the studio days are a bunch of summer festival dates, and a UK headline tour is being readied for the Autumn. They’re playing with the big boys now. But its obvious to anyone who knows them that the band are more than ready for it.
“Being in this band has completely changed my life. I’ve already met a lot of my heroes, and played shows that I’ve never imagined I would. When you’re having a beer with Alex Turner, you know you’re doing the right thing”, Rob states, “I don’t think any of us could comprehend not being in this band and doing what we do, it’s what we love”.
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