Get ready for the great sound of the 90s

Mark Morriss, former frontman of The Bluetones
Mark Morriss, former frontman of The Bluetones
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THE Blue Room has a peach of a gig tonight – the frontmen of two of the biggest bands from the 90s are performing acoustic sets.

Mark Morriss and Chris Helme will take to the stage at the Blackpool town centre bar armed only with an 
guitar and a fistful of top quality songs.

Blue Room owner Andy Daubney is delighted, not least because he spent ages trying to book them.

“I’ve been trying since October to sort this gig out,” said Daubney. I knew they were pals and had done a few gigs together in York, where Chris Helme is from, and around the UK.

“It’s taken a while but I’m delighted to get them because they are genuine icons of the 90s.

“It’s a really good gig to have in Blackpool and we’re only charging a couple of quid on the door to get in so I’m hoping the place will be full.”

Morriss was frontman of The Bluetones, one of many bands to benefit from Oasis’ rise to fame and the Britpop era. But unlike a lot of their counterparts, they had actual talent and debut album Expecting To Fly went to number one. They released quality songs like Bluetonic, Slight Return and Autophilia but in 2011, after 17 years and six albums, decided to call it a day.

Morriss is now a fully-fledged solo artist and working on a follow up to debut record Memory Muscle.

Helme had the proverbial rags to riches story, spotted busking outside Woolworths by a friend of John Squire, who was in the act of forming a new band after the demise of the Stone Roses.

Squire liked the idea of getting together with an unknown singer and the Seahorses 1997 debut album, Do It Yourself, spurned three hit singles, including the memorable Love Is The Law. They split while recording a second album due to what Helme claimed were “irreconcilable differences”.

“There was a personality clash,” said Helme. “When he (Squire) came up with new stuff I didn’t like his lyrics or tunes. I could have gone with it and made quite a lot of money but I wasn’t interested.”

In other words they had some cracking arguments and, hopefully, as this is rock n’ roll after all, a decent fistfight as well...

Helme, now aged 41, has been gigging with various bands and as a solo artist ever since.

“When I was in a band in London, I played on the same bill as Chris and got to know him a bit,” added Blue Room owner Daubney. “When I came back to Blackpool I hired the Spanish Hall in the Winter Gardens and booked his band (The Yards, which he formed after the Seahorses split). I’ve also had him at the Blue Room after I took over there.

“He’s someone I really admire and like so I’m looking forward to seeing him again - and to have Mark performing as well is a huge bonus.”

Doors are at 7.30pm.