Heartbreaks’ magical gig

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MORECAMBE is starting to love The Heartbreaks as much as The Heartbreaks love Morecambe.

Maybe it was the balmy August evening. Perhaps it was the choice of a venue within touching distance of the glorious Bay sunset.

But there was definitely something magical in the air on Friday night. A sense of occasion. A sense of real pride in the achievements of this band. Of OUR band.

Whenever Matthew, Joseph, Ryan and Deaks played in Morecambe in the past, there was always a sense of a struggle for acceptance, as if a town worn down by disappointment was reluctant to fully get behind homegrown talent in case nothing came of it.

Not on Friday. Smokey’s top room was full to bursting. The resort came out in force to support the lads, paying up to £9 a ticket for the privilege.

The release of their terrific debut album Funtimes and news of their overwhelming success in Japan had energised the paying public.

The sprung dancefloor was heaving, buzzing, sweaty, sticky and passionately noisy with excitement. And this was before they started.

The boys know how to generate anticipation. After support acts Joe McCorriston and Bleach completed their sets, The Heartbreaks left the adoring masses waiting until just after 10.45pm before they emerged to a thunderous roar.

The quartet launched straight into Save Our Souls and Gorgeous, two of their most raucous numbers. Smokeys went crazy. Matthew’s angelic vocals had never sounded better, Ryan’s extraordinary talent on lead guitar never more prevalent, Joseph and Deaks (or ‘The Randy Rhythms’, as Matt called them) never more irresistible in their momentum on drums and bass.

If their cover of Springsteen’s I’m On Fire was beautiful, Matthew and Ryan’s acoustic delivery of Jealous, Don’t You Know was perfection. The crowd knew all the words and clapped their hands with gusto.

Polly, Hand On Heart, Liar My Dear, Delay Delay, Winter Gardens, I Didn’t Think it Would Hurt to Think of You. A live jukebox of romantic pop pleasers, and they played them all.

The ovation at the end was truly moving. The tight-knit foursome put their arms around each other and bowed. There were pleading shouts of “MORE!” from the floor. But ‘more’ was not forthcoming. This was the only letdown of the night.

Still, the entertainment wasn’t over. Matthew then took over the DJ booth, filling the dance floor with happy faces getting down to everything from Dancing in the Dark to Dancing Queen. A human touch to show The Heartbreaks appreciate their fans as much as their fans appreciate them.

Japan loves them. And now Morecambe loves them too. Now the rest of the UK needs to wake up and start loving The Heartbreaks. They honestly don’t know what they’re missing.

GREG LAMBERT