Rixton want a Blackpool gig

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Blackpool gig organisers - dig out your diaries, Rixton are seeking a homecoming show.

Lytham Festival and the Illuminations Switch-On are at the top of their wish lists.

Rixton, from left Jake Roche, Danny Wilkin, Charley Bagnall and Lewi Morgan

Rixton, from left Jake Roche, Danny Wilkin, Charley Bagnall and Lewi Morgan

But with a storming set at a sell-out Manchester Arena, among other venues supporting pop princess Ariana Grande, a night at the Empress Ballroom would be pretty good too.

“I’d love to play the Lights Switch-On, and the Lytham Proms too,” Jake Roche said.

And fellow Blackpool lad, Danny Wilkin is with him - fondly remembering a teenage party on ‘the one day a year you can drink on Lytham Green’.

Lead singer Jake grew up in the area from the age of nine after his parents, Blackpool-born presenter Coleen Nolan and actor Shane Ritchie, divorced, while Danny, on keyboards, is Blackpool born and bred.

Rixton’s roots are in the resort too, when the pair started writing music in a disused caravan at Danny’s parents’ pub in Thornton. But they were soon joined by drummer Lewi Morgan and guitar player Charley Bagnall.

Jake added: “I have been going to the Switch-On since I was nine or 10 years old and it’s a big dream to be able to play that. And I’ve heard Lytham Proms are great too.”

After Thursday’s North West show, they’re now in America to support Ed Sheeran, where they’re already much more famous than in the UK.

“Ed is great,” Jake said. “He invited us to join him in a strange way; usually it’s through booking agents and management but he just texted and asked if we were free - which is a huge honour.”

The four-piece and world-wide sensation Sheeran actually share writing credits on album track Hotel Ceiling, and Rixton are looking forward to reaching new fans through his following.

“It’s an older fanbase and more our demographic,” he added. “The older generation get on board and realise we’re not the ususal ‘boyband’.

“Someone like Ariana can go out and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and they would go nuts but we have to earn the screams.”

Catching up with them backstage in Manchester, it’s clear they’re growing up, Jake especially seems a more considered character- without losing any of the cheeky chappy charm, that clearly comes from his dad.

He’s certainly a super energetic front man, sprinting around the Manchester Arena’s stage like there’s no tomorrow, but also taking time out for a brief chat and a selfie with a young girl in the crowd.

He said: “After doing this show for a few months it’s great to finish in our home town.”

Greater Manchester is as much home to the band as Blackpool, with Coleen living there and Lewi hailing from Bolton. And they were joined by plenty of friends and family at the arena gig.

With latest single We Want The Same Thing out yesterday, to be followed next Monday by debut album Let The Road, they’re hoping for their big break in the UK but are in no rush.

“We kind of like that it’s not happened over night in the UK,” Jake said. “Although the general public seems to think if it’s not over night or it’s not like One Direction then it’s not success.

“But that’s ignorant. We’ve been touring and growing our fan base through live shows for the last two of three years. And in 10 or 15 years hopefully we will still be here.”

Part of what sets Rixton away from the ‘boyband’ stereotype is their musicianship, they play a really tight live show - their looks no doubt appealing to Ariana Grande’s ‘tweenage’ girl crowd, but the songs themselves more so to the parent chaperones.

And their friendship is clear, there’s no management manipulation of this band. They are their own people.

“The dynamic hasn’t really changed,” Danny, the quietest member of the band, said. “Except now we are more used to each other, we know what presses each others’ buttons - and also if we want to press them.”

Does the lack of a real UK breakthrough frustrate them though? From experience, once people give them a listen, they’re quickly won over by the catchy hits, such as past singles, Me And My Broken Heart and Wait On Me.

“It used to annoy us when people didn’t hear us, but it’s a case of finding your niche,” Jake said. “It comes with having longevity and we want to be here for a long time.

“We get moments of pandemonium, but we’re no The Vamps or Five Seconds Of Summer - and we’re happy with that. We are a totally different marketable band; we’re not after being turned into dolls or selling perfume.”

But if the day comes when Rixton dolls are made, what will their special features be?

Well, Lewi won’t be parted from his drum sticks operated by a special button, Jake will give a little wiggly-footed dance, Danny’s arms will make a motion to show he’s ‘chuffed at everything’ and Charley’s hair will be made of Play-doh.

* See Thursday’s WOW 24:7 for HMV Blackpool manager Neil Carpenter’s review of Rixton’s debut album Let The Road.