Downham date as Sunscreem hit the road again

Sunscreem: Bongo Ted, Rachel Slingsby and Rob Fricker
Sunscreem: Bongo Ted, Rachel Slingsby and Rob Fricker
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One of the acts that helped shape the UK dance music scene is due to play at Downham Town Hall tomorrow (Saturday).

Sunscreem were part of the Essex dance movement that exploded in the early 1990s and although the band has gone through several incarnations over the past two decades, they have played shows all over the world, sharing the stage with the likes of New Order and 808 State.

Forming in 1991, the band went on to produce their own unique style. During the time when dance acts were primarily DJs that played on decks, Sunscreem went in the direction of having a full band on stage with guitar, keyboards, drums and bass. This of course meant that they were a dance act that could play full concerts.

Talking to Rob Fricker (bass) and Bongo Ted (percussion), they describe their defining moment as the single release of the song “Love U More” which went on to score a number one in the US Billboard Dance chart, and was one of the first techno based singles to chart in the US. During that time they toured extensively and played to thousands of people.

Rob left the band in 1997, around the time that Ted joined. Ted explains that he was playing a show and Lucia Holm (keyboard/vocals) was in the crowd. The band were scouting for another percussionist, and after hearing Ted play, Lucia called him a few days later and asked if he’d like to go and tour the US with them. He didn’t need too much persuasion, and has been an active member of the band ever since.

Both Rob and Ted now live in Norfolk, and with the release of the new album “Sweet Life” earlier this year, they decided that they needed to go out and play the songs to people again, and Downham Market seemed a logical choice as it’s very close to Ted’s roots.

The album came about after the band were asked to play a festival in China back in 2012. The band hadn’t played together for some time, and Rob says: “We’d not played together for a long time, but it was something we all really wanted to do. We got together for a rehearsal and it was as though we’d never been apart.

“The music sounded great, and we all decided that we should get together and see what happened. That rehearsal was the only one we did before the China show, we were still so in tune with each other that we didn’t need to do any more.”

The album is available on iTunes at the moment, with a physical copy due to be released very soon once the artwork has been finalised. The show is being put together by Rachel Slingsby, and tickets are available on the door for £15 (at the time of writing this there are still some available).

The show – from 8pm to midnight – also features DJ Vinyl Vera, who mixes “old school” using proper decks rather than the digital ones seen these days, and recent Battle of the Bands semi-finalists Stretch Soul Gang. It promises to be an interesting evening with a mix of very different styles.

Tickets are also available from Lewks in Wales Court.