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Nick Bowden, lead guitarist and vocalist in the Manchester quartet, says the band have played enough support slots and are ready to show everyone they’re a worthy main attraction. They play 11 June, Gullivers, Manchester; 12 June, The Picturedrome, Holmfirth; and 2 July, Live Rooms, Chester.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
Our sound is usually described as blues-rock by critics and fans, which I suppose is a bit general as you could describe several bands like that. After our second release, the blues handle was dropped a bit more from reviews, but it still influences our songwriting. Our individual influences range from heavy metal to hip-hop. Anything with a healthy groove is a must, and that shows on our records.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
I think we’ve evolved a lot since the band started. We’ve grown closer as a group and, due to the hundreds of live shows we’ve done, become a lot tighter. We’re very comfortable playing as a unit to a point that almost seems telepathic.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
There were many, many different names that got thrown around before we settled on Federal Charm. We were tearing our hair out at one point. Early contenders were Bomb Voyage and The Business End, which didn’t last long.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
At the moment, we are on the eve of our first UK headline tour. We’ve done many tours in the support band role and now we’re eager to get out there and show everyone what we can do as the main attraction. After that we’ll be getting our heads down and writing a new album before another tour in the autumn.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
It’s always going to be a challenge to stand out from a crowd when you’re all battling for a bit of limelight. But we like to think we’ve got a certain edge in the songwriting department, as well as putting everything we have into a live show, as anyone who’s ever seen us will confirm.

What’s on your rider?
Our rider is pretty modest, to be honest. Mostly it comprises a case of beers, a case of water, a few sarnies and plenty of towels. We’re not at the 10,000 brown M&Ms stage just yet!

Tell us about your worst live show.
Fortunately, we’ve not had a show bad enough for an anecdote as of yet (touch wood!), but I was in a band before this one and we had a gig at the Manchester Ritz. Our actual performance went well but, due to one of the band member’s behaviour prior to the show, we walked offstage and were greeted by the entire security team who “politely” asked us to leave.

Antonia Charlesworth

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