Ex Tourists and Eurythmics star Dave Stewart returns to his native Sunderland for a birthday bash with a difference... aided by some new best pals. Peter Mann reports

SUNDERLAND indie rockers Social Room take on a special assignment this weekend when they appear at the Sunderland Empire as support for legendary Dave Stewart for the Eurythmics stars 65th birthday gig.

Stewart, who alongside Annie Lennox, formed the Eurythmics in 1980 after their previous band, The Tourists, went their separate ways, spent ten years wowing crowds across the globe before parting ways in 1990.

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Reuniting nine years later the pair did another six years on the circuit where, all-told, they released nine studio albums and five compilations. A third comeback was performed in a one-off gig for The Beatles in January 2014 at the LA Convention Center with Stewart and Lennox having, and still do, carry on the music their own way.

Now, heading to his hometown of Sunderland, Stewart, who’ll be supported by local acts Social Room, Lilliput and Picnic, is “looking forward to playing lots of the hit songs I’ve written over the years in the legendary Sunderland Empire.”

For Social Room, who earlier this year released their latest single, Take, and recently wowed fans at Sunniside Live, it’s an opportunity not be missed and one which they’ll take with both hands.

Fronted by Matty Smith the six-piece also consists of Simon Bewick, Alex Gunn, Adam Jefferson, Adam Potts and Chris Leonard and they’ll certainly look to take SR7, the postcode from which the band originates, to a whole new level.

Potts, one of Social Room’s three guitarists alongside Bewick (guitar) and Gunn (bass), said: “We couldn't quite believe it.

“Firstly the support slot and then a random message asking if we'd like to spend the day in the studio with him. He's a down to earth bloke that loves his music.

“We were just getting to know each other and having a jam and this is a surreal moment in our lives. There's some huge musicians playing with Dave and we can't wait to get amongst it.”

Alongside the outing with Stewart, Sunniside and CoquetFest festivals withstanding, the lads also find themselves supporting The Sherlocks on Tyneside a matter of days after at Newcastle University (Vida also supporting) in what has become a whirlwind couple of months for the band.

To coin the line from their latest single, “Take all the time you need now,” couldn’t be any truer as they are taking their time in music’s spotlight and then some.

“Playing Sunniside was massive as we played just before the main headliners and it couldn't have went any better with over 3,000 people singing our songs; what a buzz,” continued Adam.

“We're gaining more and more followers every time we put something out and people are starting to take notice of what we're about now.

“The Sherlocks gig, like Dave Stewart, all came out of the blue really.

“SJM concerts just messaged us asking if we'd like to support so obviously we couldn't wait to get amongst it with them just having a top ten album.”

  • Dave Stewart & Friends takes place at the Sunderland Empire on September 10, doors open at 7:30pm from £31.25 (plus fees) from http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dave-stewart-and-friends/sunderland-empire/