The Hoosiers play at Bassingbourn Village College

PUBLISHED: 13:34 09 March 2011

The Hoosiers performing at Bassingbourn village college.

The Hoosiers performing at Bassingbourn village college.

Daniel Wilson

IT’S not everyday band with a number one album under their belts plays a set in a village school.

But that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when The Hoosiers rocked down to Bassingbourn Village College.

The four-piece are currently on a national tour of schools to promote their second album The Illusion of Safety and played a hit-packed set before fielding questions from the year eight pupils in the audience.

Lead singer Irwin Sparkes told The Crow: “It’s good for us to play to a different type of crowd. Given how the music industry is at the moment a lot more bands are finding it hard to gain a new audience.

“We have been away for 18 months since our last release which is a long time in pop music so we decided to play in schools to remind people we are still about and also to gain a new set of fans.”

The band, comprising of Sparkes, Martin Skarendahl, Alphonso Sharland and Toby Smith, took to the stage at 10am after pupils had watched the video for the band’s new single Bumpy Ride.

They played a set including top five hits Goodbye Mr A and Worried About Ray, as well as recent single Choices.

Sparkes said he is not used to playing gigs early on in the day, and that their performance had to be modified to suit the venue.

“I thought it was in the pop star’s contract not to get up this early in the morning s it’s a bit odd being here at this time for a gig,” he said.

“It’s similar to doing a song on the radio, as its stripped down and without the full drum kit. Ultimately the songs are the same as if we were playing a festival, but we have to change them to fit the venue.

“We wanted to keep them as interesting as possible so used instruments we wouldn’t normally use like a melodica and a harmonia.”

The Reading-based band have been visiting school’s around the country for the past two weeks to gain support for The Illusion of Safety, which is being re-released.

“We didn’t feel the label promoted our album enough when it came out last year,” said Sparkes.

“This time round we thought we would do it ourselves and playing in schools has been really fun, and will hopefully help us appeal to a new audience.”

Kia Howells, head of creative arts at the school, said: “We were really excited to take the opportunity to enable a great many of our students to experience live music performed by a chart topping band. The session was really inspirational and the students involved got a lot out of it.

“As well as listening to the music, there was an opportunity to ask questions and for our students to gain a greater understanding of the music industry.

“The activity will now be used as a stimulus within the music curriculum.”

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