The Underground Pilots are steering a steady course towards their Wedgewood Rooms gig

The Underground Pillots

The Underground Pillots

Absolute Bowie in action

It’s a Moonage Daydream for a bit of Absolute Bowie at the New Theatre Royal

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The Underground Pilots are more than just a band. Via Pilot Promotions they organise gigs, network among music contacts in the south and set up the Icebreaker Festival for unsigned bands.

Of course, their own music comes first and the grunge rockers will be playing the Victorious Festival on Southsea seafront in August – but first they play at the Wedgewood Rooms tomorrow night, heading a five-band bill that includes Foxer, Morass of Molasses, El Capitan and Aviv & the Unicorn Horn.

Made up of singer Dudley Stagpool, drummer Mike Hartley bassist Ben Elsom, and guitarists Tim Gordon and Tyrone Drinkwater.

Dudley explains the evening: ‘We’ve got five bands and they’re all different so it will be a varied evening.

‘Also, it will be a goodbye gig for Tyrone as he’s going travelling on August 1. He’s heading for Thailand for maybe a year, so it will be our last gig with him, so we’re hoping to give him a good send-off.

‘We’ll replace him for the Victorious show with Ben Glass of Bellyeyesmile, but after that we’re going to carry on without him. We’re going to add some synths and drum pads and change the sound a bit. I’m going to play the synth... I’ve never played keyboards before so I’m playing about with them now.’

We’ve got five bands and they’re all different so it will be a varied evening. It will also be a goodbye gig for our guitarist Tyrone as he’s going travelling

Dudley Stagpool, Underground Pilots singer

And if you can’t make the gig tomorrow, they’ll be back at Victorious for a second year running.

‘Last year it was the biggest gig we’d ever done and we’ll be there again in August.

‘Last time we played at 1.30 on the Sunday afternoon, but this year we’re on at 8pm which should be better.

‘It was a great stage to play on and a lot of people came down. We were all really, really nervous the whole morning.

‘It was our first time on a stage that big. We’ve got a more prime spot this year so hopefully it will be even better. Hopefully we won’t be as nervous but maybe we’ll just have longer to be nervous!

‘I’m helping to manage the stage this year so that will keep me busy.’

Beyond that, Pilot Promotions is well into the planning of the second Icebreaker Festival for next January.

‘When I was first in bands there wasn’t much going on but recently it’s just exploded,’ says the singer. ‘There’s loads of bands and lots of them are really good.

‘When we put on the Icebreaker Festival for unsigned bands we’ll have 99 slots – and we’ve had 180 applicants! There’s so many good acts, the scene is in the best state I’ve ever witnessed it.’

Tickets for tomorrow cost £4. Doors open 7.30pm. Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk
BARRY RUTTER

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