Little Mix to liven up Winter Gardens

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IF you happen to wander past Winter Gardens this weekend, there is likely to be the sound of screaming drifting through the walls.

For if you thought the decibel levels inside the Winter Gardens were piercing when Gary Barlow visited, it is about to be taken to a whole new level.

Little Mix, the girl band which found fame on X-Factor, head to the Opera House on Saturday for a sell-out gig.

And judging by how their 18-date nationwide tour is going so far, it is set to be noisy.

Little Mix - Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall, to give them their proper names - have built a huge following in a short space of time. They only released debut album DNA in November but it shot to number one and their army of fans lapped it up.

Of course, it helped massively being on the X-Factor, a programme which seems to - for reasons I’m yet to truly fathom - almost guarantee success for artists who, on many occasions, are pretty average to say the least.

But fair play to Little Mix, they are making the most of it and since Girls Aloud stopped bashing out the hits on a regular basis, there is certainly a gap in the market for another gutsy girl-power group.

Simon Cowell, who once again is laughing all the way to the bank, has wasted no time making the most of Little Mix’s popularity, even releasing a book - ‘Little Mix: Ready To Fly’ - to ensure the maximum amount of money is squeezed out of this particular cash cow.

The band kicked off their tour in Nottingham last Monday, and played Glasgow, Sheffield and Liverpool over the weekend.

“It is absolutely amazing,” said the band. “On the first night, to see everyone there for us ... we literally just cried. We were like babies on stage, just crying.”

Hope they eventually started singing or else it would have been a rubbish gig. Little Mix originally auditioned for the X-Factor as solo performers but under the tutelage of judge and mentor Tulisa, joined forces to become Little Mix.

It proved a smart move as they became the X-Factor’s first ever victorious group.

“Having captured the hearts and minds of the nation with their winning chemistry, musical sensibility and breath-taking vocal prowess,” the band’s PR people say, “the girls shot straight to number one with their debut single ‘Cannonball’. They return with the acclaimed single ‘Wings’, which is built on a strident soul and r’n’b-flavoured rhythm and featuring an astonishing vocal turn from each member.”

You have to hand it to PR people, they aren’t half good at bigging up their acts.

But though it’s easy to mock an artificially created band, the truth is that each member can certainly sing (something that couldn’t be said for the Spice Girls, Victoria) and they have some fine catchy pop tunes (though it helps that they’ve no doubt got some of the country’s best songwriters working for them).

Whatever, it is fantastic that the Winter Gardens have been able to attract one of the band’s of the moment to Blackpool - it is a big boost for the town and another big feather in the cap after attracting Barlow to the same venue in January.

The girls arrive in town on Saturday, though tough luck if you fancy going - the tickets sold out minutes after going on sale back in September.

*IT is a busy weekend at the Winter Gardens.

Same night as Little Mix, the ever-popular Northern Soul All-Nighter takes place in the Spanish Hall. Featuring three rooms of classic music (northern soul, motown/60s club soul, and 80s boogie), doors open at 9pm and the event goes on until an exhausting 6am. Tickets are available at (£13) or you can pay on the door (£15) until 1am.

Then, on Sunday, comes Youth Brass Bands at the Opera House, an event for all the family featuring some of the country’s leading young bands. The contest starts at 10.30am, with presentations from 6.30pm onwards. Tickets are £7 adults and £4 children.

Pay at the door.