Andy Whitfield and Diamond Geezers at the Thistle, in Plymouth
THERE'S an opportunity to see one of Plymouth's finest singers and showmen in the form of Andy Whitfield fronting Diamond Geezers at the Thistle tomorrow night.
Having been invited back to play a one off at their 10th anniversary gig in July 2012, Andy enjoyed himself so much he's agreed to become a slightly more permanent fixture, playing up to 15 gigs per year.
"He's loving it so much he's doing more and more," says lead guitarist Richie Meen, "which is brilliant. Singers have a habit of disappearing on us so we've decided to cover all bases and call ourselves Diamond Geezers when Andy's with us, and Escape Committee, playing a different set of rock covers, when he's not available."
Andy started his own music career back in the early 90s playing original indie Britpop as front man for Where's Jules.
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"We had a couple of singles played on the radio by John Peel – Nothing At All and Wasted – and we performed at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden back in the days when it was a really big deal for Plymouth bands to play in London. Locally, we were the first to play the Cooperage – the stage was built especially for us.
"But after four years we realised it was time to focus on proper careers – Andy Isaac is now Vice President of Nokia – the line up changed and we became a covers band."
In 2002 the The Diamond Geezers started up initially with Neil Whitchurch on lead vocal duties then Karl Stewart for a spell, before Andy took over.
The band now, as well as Andy, consists of Richie Meen and Rob Brace on lead guitars with Gary Eastman on sax, Ian Bogie on drums and Ray Small on bass.
The set list includes everything from tracks by the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan to The Cult and the Manic Street Preachers.
With his phenomenal voice and larger than life stage presence, Andy says it's the rock ballads he enjoys doing most.
"Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol is a favourite and I'm also hoping we're going to include Iris by Goo Goo Dolls, which has a massive feeling of empathy and my girlfriend says 'will get the girls going crazy'!"
These days most of their performances are for private parties and corporate events with few opportunities to see them play publically.
"Bruce Robertson, owner of Trago Mills is a big fan and we recently did his 60th which was brilliant fun.
"We also did Volksfest this year, and hope to be back on the main stage next time, but the only regular public gig we do is at the Thistle."
They've been performing there, either as Diamond Geezers or Escape Committee on the first Saturday of every month for the past ten years.