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See Thousand Yard Stare up close and personal at Legion

Thousand Yard Stare on board the St Sunniva ferry back in 1991.

RECENTLY reformed early 1990s indie band Thousand Yard Stare return to Shetland quarter of a century after their last visit next month.

The five-piece band, from Slough, will play the Lerwick Legion on Saturday 22 October as part of the group’s first tour since 1993.

The date will be a poignant one, too, as it brings the curtain down on local promoters Klub Revolution after 16 years of bringing bands and DJs to Shetland.

Thousand Yard Stare self-released their first EP Weatherwatching in 1990, bringing the band to the attention of the NME, who proclaimed them to be the “brightest hope for the future” in a 1990 end-of-year poll.

The band went on to release two further EPs in 1991, Keepsake and Seasonstream, both topping the UK independent singles chart and leading to the band signing a major record deal with Polydor.

In 1991 the band played a mammoth UK tour which included two Thousand Yard Stare shows in Shetland put on by local promoter Jeff Ampleford.

Such was the interest in the band that the once-great NME music paper sent editor Steve Lamacq north with the band on the St Sunniva ferry to cover the weekend.

Thousand Yard Stare in 2016.

The first show took place on 20 September at the Jubilee nightclub in Lerwick, with local rockers Quicksilver supporting in front of a large crowd that, according to Lamacq, “ranged in age from 15 to 50”.

The following night’s show saw Thousand Yard Stare travel to the North Mainland to play to a crammed audience of over 300 at the Voe Hall.

Lamacq describes the gig as being attended “by a much younger audience than the previous evening” and as “a proper show with the crowd crammed up against the stage” – the NME journalist mentioning “possibly witnessing Shetland’s very first stage dive!”

The Shetland shows obviously left a positive impression as guitarist Giles Duffy later mentioned them as the band’s favourite ever gigs – saying something given they played Glastonbury, appeared alongside Nirvana at Reading Festival, toured America with the Jesus & Mary Chain and performed around the UK with James. 

Alan McLeod of Klub Revolution said the gigs left an “indelible mark on many Shetland youngsters, with at least three original bands being formed on the back of seeing Thousand Yard Stare live”.

The band went on to release two albums, Hands On in 1992 and Mappamundi in 1993, before calling it a day.

In 2015 Thousand Yard Stare announced they were getting back together for a one-off show at the Borderline venue in London. The show sold out within a matter of days, leading the band to book more gigs this year – ultimately turning into a UK tour of venues from Bristol in the south of England right up to Shetland.

The band also entered the studio this year, recording a new album entitled Live at Electric Studios, featuring new recordings of past favourites alongside brand new material.

Support for the Lerwick Legion show comes from popular local indie rock trio The Dirty Lemons, who released their self-titled debut album last year.

Alan said Klub Revolution wished to “thank all the many folk that helped out with promotions since forming in 2000 – all the bands and DJs and, most of all, to the many thousands who bought tickets and supported the 200+ shows that Klub Revolution have staged over the past 16 years”.

  • Tickets for Thousand Yard Stare and The Dirty Lemons are available now from Shetland Box Office and High Level Music.
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