The Lines are on the right track

Sedgely's finest - The Lines

They’ve sold out the 1,134 capacity Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton, performed at the famous SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas and played to 80,000 people at Donington Park.

From performing to a handful of people when they first formed in 2006, Sedgley-based indie rockers, The Lines, have certainly come a long way.

However, lead singer, Alex Ohm and his bandmates are always happy to return to their home town and swap touring for a tipple or two in their favourite local, the Beacon Hotel.

“Our most recent gig in Sheffield was crazy,” says Alex, unwinding with a cider in the beer garden of this historic hostelry.

“The venue’s capacity was 120, but there were easily around 150 people in there. It was ridiculously hot, but the atmosphere was fantastic. Chaotic, but great.”

Like many up-and-coming bands, Alex, lead guitarist Dean Bate, Dave “Paddy” O’Connor on drums and Danny Pease on bass, find themselves playing tiny venues one night and stadium gigs the next.

“I don’t know how we got the Donington gig,” laughs Alex. “We though we were only playing for about 100 people but soon realised the crowd was way larger than that.”

“We just looked at each other and thought ‘we’d better play well tonight’ ” elaborates Dean, himself nursing a pint of the pub’s own Sedgley Surprise ale.

Playing to such a huge crowd is not the only nerve-wracking experience the band members have had to endure. During a tour of the States, the boys found themselves performing to some of the music industry’s biggest names at an event in New York, but were pleased to have the support of bands they’d met while in Texas.

Alex explains: “Performing in New York was quite a daunting experience, but it was great that some of the bands we’d met at SXSW turned up. People often say they’ll come to your gig and don’t show – but these guys did!”

Playing America was an amazing experience for the band, but it was a trip that very nearly didn’t happen due to drummer Paddy’s penchant for streaking.

“It was something that happened years ago,” laughs Dean, “but, because he received a caution for his antics, Paddy had to before the officials and explain his actions. Ironically, he had a choice at the time between paying £60 or getting a caution. After all the extra money he spent getting a Visa, he’d have been better off just paying the fine in the first place!”

Now, having signed to indie label Amboy Road Records and with a huge roster of gigs under their belts, it seems major success is just around the corner for The Lines.

Not that it’s all been plain sailing for the lads. As well as original members Ryan Edwards and Chris Titley leaving the band in 2008, Alex and Co also had to contend with their original label going bust.

“It was a turbulent time,” says Alex. “When Chris left, we knew we wanted to continue, but we weren’t sure who’d replace him. Then, we thought of Danny – the only guy we knew who could fill his shoes. We weren’t disappointed – in just one week, he’d learned more than 70 songs!”

“In fact,” jokes Dean, “I think we made more mistakes than he did!”

So, with a strong team spirit once more and a record deal which gives them all the freedom they need to make music, what does the future hold for The Lines? After all, they’ll shortly be working on the dreaded ‘difficult second album’, following on from the huge local success of their debut.

“Everyday life is up and down and I think our music should reflect that,” explains Alex. “So, on the new album, there’ll be some dancier stuff mixed in with the slower songs. We’ve got one that starts off with a piano riff then evolves into this huge, Muse-style epic.”

Exciting times ahead then, which could include the band breaking into the lucrative American market. However, Alex, Dean and the rest of the gang are determined to keep their feet firmly on the ground by enjoying their favourite beers in Sedgley and showing their support for Gornal Athletic Football Club.

“I think it’s important to support local teams,” explains Alex. “In fact, they want us to record a track for when they come out onto the pitch.”

As well as the support from local football teams, Alex and Dean both agree that the support from other local bands has been a refreshing change from the intense competition between musicians normally reported in the media.

“Sedgley, Wolverhampton, the rest of the Black Country and Birmingham – everyone’s in it together,” says Alex.

He’s right. The Lines have built a huge loyal local following thanks to their exhilarating gigs and down-to-earth attitude.

It won’t be too long before the rest of the world follows suit.