ONE of the biggest names in British indie rock music will be appearing in Bahrain later this month, writes Charlie Holding.
The Dilmun Club in Saar  is erecting a special show arena at the premises for the concert, which will also offer a platform for local bands to showcase their talents.
Already hundreds of tickets have been snapped up for the show headlined by Toploader  in the biggest music event of its kind since unrest erupted in the kingdom.The band, formed in 1997, boast more than two million album sales to their name and a string of Top 20 hits both at home and abroad.
Their debut album, Onka’s Big Moka, sold over one million copies and remained in the Top 5 of the UK Albums Chart for over six months. However, they are recognised most of all for their cover of King Harvest’s song Dancing in the Moonlight, which became a global hit.
After their second album Magic Hotel failed to match its monumental success, critically at least, the band, which now consists of lead singer Joseph Washbourn, guitarist Dan Hipgrave, bassist Matt Knight and drummer Rob Green, split in 2003.
Joseph said: “When we split up I never wanted to hear Dancing in the Moonlight again, which, of course, is impossible with that song, it’s everywhere!
“Now we have a new-found respect for it. It still sounds fresh and has stood the test of 13 years pretty well. It even re-entered the Top 40 this summer for three weeks making a total of 53 weeks in the charts. It’s a beast and the crowd love it.
“I’m not sure the band splitting up was as subtle as ‘personal differences’, it was more like a full-on implosion. We’d been living in each others pockets for too long and think we all had had enough creatively and personally. “Amazing though how time and families can change your outlook on things and we have reverted to being ‘Happy’ Loader for the time being at least!”
And time has certainly changed the band’s outlook and style. After reforming in 2011, Toploader decided it was time for a fresh start with less pressure. Joseph said:
“It was so nice to start work on new songs with no expectation. We had been away so long that no one knew what to expect, including us. It was a liberating and cathartic process to put all the old demons to bed and just make music again. We found that our ‘sound’ had evolved as much as we had.
”This year, the band released a new single Turn It Around and headlined the recent LeeStock Music Festival in the UK.
LeeStock is a two-day concert organised in memory of music lover Lee Dunford who died of cancer aged 21. Proceeds from the event go to the Willow Foundation charity, founded by former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, to provide special days for seriously ill 16-to-40-year-olds.
Joseph said: “It’s always nice to be asked to do gigs for charity and it was our pleasure to support LeeStock and the Willow Foundation. They provide much needed respite for seriously-ill young people and their families. The gig went great too.
”A little known fact about Toploader is that they were the last British band to play the old Wembley Stadium before its multi-million pound revamp in 2003.
Joseph said: “It was an incredible gig for such a young band to have played and I think it took a while to sink in. Still to this day, the most nervous I’ve ever been but a great learning curve. We’re now waiting to play the new one to complete the circle!
”The future looks bright for the band, with a hectic schedule ahead of them including the upcoming Bahrain gig.Joseph said: “It’s our first time in Bahrain and we can’t wait to see everyone out there. Looking forward to rocking out in the heat. See y’all there!
“We have a new single coming out on October 28 called This is The Night. It’s a great track, really reminds us of our older stuff but with a new sensibility. It’s very Motown/soul, with a modern twist.
“After that we have a tour of Germany and more recording and playing live next year. We’re on a creative streak at the moment that hopefully will continue.”
Mark Rowe, general manager of the Dilmun Club, said: “Concerts in Bahrain are scarce and it’s a privilege for the Dilly to host a concert at this level with Toploader.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get out and mingle with different nationalities in a fun environment and see a quality performing act, which makes a change from the usual visiting DJs.
“It’s also a great way of supporting local acts too and gives them the chance to share the stage in front of a big audience with a well-known band.
”The show’s line-up includes three supporting acts; Pastmasters, Mushkillaz and Revival who are all Bahrain-based expat bands.
The show takes place on September 27 at 6.30pm. Tickets cost BD35 for VIP, which includes all food and drink and BD20 for standard. They can be purchased from the Dilmun Club.