The Chemists return with a new element

Tuesday, September 14th sees the alternative hip hop group Fun Lovin’ Criminals play the Engine Shed for the first gig of the academic year. Supporting Huey and the gang are Bristol-based rockers The Chemists.

Having supported Fun Lovin’ Criminals on their previous tour they’ve teamed up to be back on the road again, The Chemists’ guitarist Sam James said: “We had such a blast touring with them; we just had to say yes”.


The Chemists will be supporting Fun Lovin' Criminals at the Engine Shed. Photo: Tom Sheehan

Since the previous tour though The Chemists have undergone a slight line-up change. Vocalist Johnny Benn has been replaced by Steve Bird, formerly of The Kicks, as Benn has left to become a father. Benn said: “I’ve swapped rock ‘n’ roll for rattle ‘n’ roll. I wish the band all the best for the future. It was an absolute pleasure being a part of them.”

New front man Steve Bird is keen to sink his teeth into The Chemists’ back catalogue as well as make the songs his own. Bird said: “I like to think I will bring my own individual vocal style as well as my song writing style. It was a bit strange at first to sing songs that I wasn’t a part of writing but I have found that my voice works well with them and it has an easy transition in the end and it has gone really well.”

The band are already working on a new EP which will hopefully be released in February next year with a few few new tracks being played at the Engine Shed. Bassist Wayne Jones gave an insight into the band’s song writing: “We went on a four day bender to a festival in the middle of nowhere in Germany, and immediately started writing some new stuff.

“The songs seem to be coming fast and easy with a real excitement as to where we’re heading. As you’d expect, there is quite a change in the sound, but in a good way. It feels really free!”

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Chemists before you may be aware of some of their songs. Tracks from their debut album have been used by BBC Sport and Soccer AM. Their track “Hear Our Song” was also the official track for the British Lions Rugby team.

“Its quite a buzz to hear your music being played on Sky Sports and when you’re in the stands and they play it over the tannoy,” said Jones. “It’s just a shame all the Bristol teams have had a shocker the past few weeks, not a great time to support Bristol Rugby, Rovers and City!” he continued.

Despite the follies of their home sports teams, The Chemists are still out to prove that Bristol’s bands are ready and raring to go. Wayne Jones said of the upcoming tour “[We’re] a fresh new band right at the start of their journey. Right now even we don’t know what to expect, but I can tell you that it will blow your mind!”

Tickets for Fun Lovin’ Criminals supported by The Chemists are available from the Engine Shed priced at £17.50 plus fees. For more information visit the Engine Shed website.

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