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Empire Affair Return to the Stage

The band Empire Affair at an event in December 2018
Empire Affair, here pictured in November 2018, is made up of frontman and vocalist Neil Tallant, drummer Darren Sheppard, guitarists Matt Park and Jack Woolston, and bassist Tom Parrett.

Nearly a year on from the last time we saw them, local band Empire Affair is now out of semi-retirement…

Last November, when HQB Media was still Humans of Bournemouth, we were invited along to a private event at Absolute Music. An event hosted by the members of the semi-retired local band Empire Affair. After premiering a documentary about their life as a band so far, they announced they would be making a return in the near future.

Almost a year on, that time has finally come. Empire Affair will make their comeback at Bournemouth’s Old Fire Station tonight. They feature as the special guests of the Daniel Wakeford Experience event.

To shed a little light on their return to public gigging, we got in touch with band member – guitarist Matt Park.

How does it feel to be gigging publicly again?

“Gigging is something that Empire Affair have always done well with. The majority of our songs are written with the live show in mind. ‘Will this song get people dancing?’ ‘Will it be entertaining?’ So it’s always very exciting to be gigging and playing these songs.

“Although the local scene is very different now to a few years ago when we were last hitting local venues, there’s a new wave of very impressive bands about at the moment. And some of the bands that we used to share stages with have gone into hiding for various reasons, much like we did. The same can be said with venues, sadly. We’ve lost a couple venues we loved playing at, like Mr Kyps and The Winchester. But there are also a few hotspots that we haven’t played at yet, which is exciting.”

What can we expect from tonight’s gig?

“Tonight is a ‘half-hour of power’. We only have a short set, so we have to hit them with the greatest hits. No messing about – just wall-to-wall Empire Affair gold!

“We do have a handful of new songs in the pipeline, which are almost ready to play live, but that will be for another time.”

One notable absence at tonight’s event is drummer Darren Sheppard. The band have assured fans this is only temporary and that Darren will be back at future gigs. For tonight, he is replaced on the drums by Lloyd Whitbread.

Matt explained how well the band has worked with the stand-in drummer:

“We are so grateful to Lloyd for standing in. We’ve known him for a long time and he knows the songs, so it’s been super easy. He also shares our cheeky sense of humour, so it was a very quick process getting him up to speed with the set and the chemistry.”

Where can I find out more?

The gig may be tonight but it’s not too late to grab yourselves a ticket. Click here to book from the Empire Affair website. Also, if you’re curious about the band’s story, why don’t you take a look at our interview with them from last year?

For more information about this event, click here. And don’t forget to follow HQB Media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dale Hurst
Dale Hurst is the Content Editor of HQB Media, as well as an author, restaurant critic and presenter. A graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Solent Journalism, Dale has a wide variety of journalistic experience, ranging from reviewing top London restaurants to interviewing MPs for BBC Radio. As a writer, Dale specialises in entertainments, lifestyle and culture.

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