The scene is set. It's the fifth installment of the Carling Homecoming gigs. Northern pop legends - The Beautiful South - return to their hometown of Hull for an exclusive show at the Wellington club "Known as - The Welly - to the locals".
Previous Carling Homecoming shows have seen massive artists such as the Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream, The Charlatans and Jamiroquai returning to the venues where they first got bookings to play an intimate show in front of a handful of lucky fans.
For many years now these well grounded northern soul stars have been climbing charismatically, up the British charts. Their though poetry about lonely lives and tortured relationships, set to deceptively sweet melody, has consistently struck a chord with the nation and given them a plethora of No 1 albums and a string of hit singles, including a No 1, A Little Time, in 1990. Although the Beautiful South are major chart-toppers and have sold millions of records and "as far as I know" are The British music Industries most lucrative export, they can still easily escape recognition - even in their home town of Hull.
The band takes the stage in the shape of Paul Heaton & Dave Hemmingway original members of previous incarnation the Housemartins on vocals, Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, three piece brass section and new arrival Alison Wheeler also on vocals.
With a new album just around the corner (Gaze released 27th Oct) and a single release even more imminent (A few things that I ain't (released 13th Oct)) there is more to this gig than just a dusting off of the old classics for "the hardcore fans". A fresh verve oozes from the band and with new member Alison (who replaces Jacqueline Abbott) getting a run out, songs - old and new - are attacked with great lust. Baring in mind that a full UK tour starts in October this gig is the beginning of something - where most of these kinds of events feel more like a conclusion.
"It was Nineteen Eighty Five the last time we played this venue" chirps Paul Heaton.