ONE band gearing up for their biggest gig yet at Conisbrough Music Fest will be hoping for a bigger crowd after an unfortunate slot last year.
Alba Rosa drummer Luke Davies said this year he is hoping all the attention would be on the music after being pitched against England versus Sweden during last year’s World Cup.
Looking ahead to next Saturday’s festival, Luke said: “I can’t wait, I love playing outside gigs, it’s a different sort of vibe.”
Making up the four-piece are guitarist Charlie Pashley (22), of Maltby, and cousins Joe Ward (22), of Rawmarsh, on guitar and lead vocals and Barnsley-based Oliver Marsh (22) on bass guitar.
The childhood friends formed Alba Rosa around two-and-a-half-years ago after Luke saw Joe perform at an open mic night.
Despite them both having attended St Pius School in Wath (Luke works there now as a teaching assistant), Luke said he had never known about his friend’s musical talents.
Luke, of Rawmarsh added: “I had been playing drums for years — I wasn’t in a band so I asked if he and Oli were looking for a drummer.”
“I put my name down and went for a practice with them and blew their minds,” he laughs.
“We found Charlie through a family friend — I’ve known him since I was ten.
“We thought the band needed something else, so we thought we’d get a rhythm guitarist in, make it more powerful and he’s brilliant on stage as well, jumping around — he’s very energetic.”
He added: “Joe and Oliver are the main songwriters. I can’t write for ‘owt, my songs would end up being about zombies.”
Luke described their sound as “funky rock ‘n’ roll”, taking inspiration from a range of musicians.
“Oli likes funky bass — Radiohead, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Joe likes his Rolling Stones and Charlie used to listen to metal music like Metallica, that’s what got me into drums but now I’m more of a Chillis fan,” said Luke.
Alba Rosa’s fan base is growing, with nearly 1,000 followers on Facebook and hundreds of views on YouTube of their first music video for single Mind of Its Own, released in April.
Word is also spreading through the school corridors at St Pius — bringing with it some unexpected free publicity.
“There was graffiti in the girls’ toilet saying subscribe to Alba Rosa music — I don’t know whether to be happy or angry!” said Luke.
“I wasn’t going to tell any of the pupils about the band then someone I know, their little brother found out and it spread like the plague.
“They all listen to it and keep up to date, which is really nice.”
The band’s first video is a slick affair — shot in Sheffield’s Hagglers Corner — which Luke said was a “brilliant experience”.
“It all got paid for, which was lovely — I don’t know who paid for it though!” he said. “They treated us like superstars.”
After next week’s Conisbrough slot on the main stage, the band will be performing at the fringe festival at this year’s Tramlines, appearing at The Washington on Sunday evening. They then hope to release their first full EP and build their fanbase.
Turning professional would be “the dream”, admits Luke, but he isn’t getting carried away and is still preparing to take on a teaching role in the music department next year at his former school.
Bandmate Charlie is also looking to go in to teaching after recently finishing his history degree at Sheffield University, while Joe works as a brewer for Chantry Brewery.
Meanwhile, bassist Oliver is helping to fine-tune the fortunes of the plastic company he works at as Luke proudly revealed his bandmate was recently crowned apprentice of the year for saving his firm £300,000.
He also credited Oliver for coming up with the band’s name, which means white rose in Latin and is a reference to their Yorkshire roots.
“See, we’re intellectuals as well,” he laughs. “I came up with a few ideas but they were all about zombies.”