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Friday 20th October

Stone Foundation

Ticket: £15 Buy Now
Doors: 19:30
Age: 14+

The musical bond between Neil Sheasby and Neil Jones is as concrete as their band name: Stone Foundation. It needed to be to survive over a decade of trial, error and frequent returns to the drawing board before finding the right direction, one that’s finally led them to Street Rituals, an album that is both rainbow’s end to their journey so far and starting pistol for new adventures to come. Produced by and featuring Paul Weller, its ten tracks realise Stone Foundation’s vision of a vibrant modern UK soul band, the kind who can play with the best of the genre’s American legends including Bettye LaVette and Stax’s William Bell while never losing their own distinctly British identity – the sound of Memphis, via the Midlands. “It’s the same mod ethic as the first Style Council album which had a lot of guests,” says Sheasby, “or Massive Attack’s Blue Lines. That’s sort of the mind-set we have. Making soul music without being a retro pastiche but bringing something new to the party.” “We’re obviously influenced by the music we grew up with,” adds Jones, “but we want to take that music forward. Really, it’s reminding people what modernism is actually about. Creating something for now.”

The two Neils came to soul music from very different directions. Sheasby hit adolescence as the early 80s mod revival reached critical mass, heeding the call of Dexys and The Jam to follow their muse back to Stax, Motown and the infinite riches of northern soul. Jones took a more scenic route, a fan of old skool hip hop whose detective work to decipher the many samples and breakbeats eventually led him to a similar record collection. Despite growing up on each other’s doorstep “along the A5 corridor in Warwickshire”, the Neils didn’t meet until the late 90s at a gig in London, both playing in different bands on the same bill. When their respective groups split, bassist Sheasby asked vocalist Jones if he’d be interested in writing songs together. “That was nearly 20 years ago,” notes Sheasby. “From that point forth we’ve never looked back.”