with Laurianne Rawcliffe

The Silencers, playing at El Mediator, Perpignan Saturday 18th May at 20h30 – tickets 20.70 € / 23 €

04 68 62 62 00 – 3 Rue Jean Payra, 66000 Perpignan

The Scottish musicians are coming to Perpignan to regale us with their eclectic pop/folk tunes with Celtic influences. The band originally formed in 1986 and had their first hit with “Painted Moon”, a reaction to the Falklands War. Founding members, Jimme O’Neill and Cha Burns (who left after a few years due to health issues), had been part of the post-punk new-wave project Fingerprintz. They joined up with Martin Hanlin (drums) and Joe Donelly (bassist and cousin of Jim Kerr, the Simple Minds singer) to create The Silencers. O’Neill, the driving force behind it all, had also written for Paul Young and Lene Lovich and Cha Burns had been a live guitarist for Adam Ant.

The Silencers in Perpignan

They supported The Pretenders on a European tour and gained a deal to record the album, A Letter From Saint Paul. As their success grew, they toured the United States solo and again with Squeeze. After their second album, A Blues for Buddha, recorded in Glasgow, they toured Europe with Simple Minds, which culminated in a show at Wembley stadium in front of a crowd of 80 000.

Davie Crichton then joined them on the fiddle, keyboards and accordion, and Joe Donnelly and Martin Hanlin left. They recruited Tonny Soave on the drums and Lewis Rankine on the bass. This was only the beginning of a regular membership turnover throughout the following years, with O’Neill steering the ship.

The band recorded their third album in 1990 – Dance to the Holy Man – which gathered success with its more experimental blues and country additions. JJ (Jinky) Gilmour joined them as a vocalist and they became a 6-piece band. They found huge success in France and Spain (O’Neill lives in France), Bulletproof Heart even becoming radio record of the year in Spain.

The nineties saw more comings and goings of members and more touring both venues and festivals, some of the profit of which allowed them to keep recording, as success never seemed to come in the UK. Their songs carried on with their experimental progress, with inspiration found in writings by Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski.

In the late nineties, there was another shakeup during which Gilmour and Soave left, and Jimme’s daughter, Aura, joined the band on vocals.  Though never quite reaching the success they deserved, the band have carried on playing, writing and touring, regaling their loyal fans.

Now becoming more and more of a family affair, including O’Neill’s children and son-in-law, the band have released their tenth album, Silent Highway, co-produced with their French drummer, Baptiste Brondy. O’Neill has explained that the chalk drawing on the cover is one of many he used to help develop his ideas for each song.

French Rolling Stone magazine liked the album, so how about a night out this weekend to make your own mind up?


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