Chapter Twenty Nine

14.8K 106 7

Dear Diary,

We spent the last two weeks locked indoors practicing for the gig at the ‘Royal Exchange’ and every last second paid off. The gig was madness. Incredible. The most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. They wrote about us in the newspapers, I’m pasting my favorite review right here in this diary to keep forever, cut out from the ‘Manchester Post’ music section. I found us in there today. A big picture above the review – me with my head back, singing into the microphone, Leo bent over his keyboard, Jimmy in the background with his drum sticks looking like they’re about to fly off – legendary.


To be quite honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much from the Saturday night line-up at the Royal Exchange this week. I was expecting the usual from ‘The Blackjacks’ but would my ears find something new? Would I get the new musical experience I am always looking for? The answer is – this Saturday I did find something new and my ears and indeed my heart were opened to a new sound, a new band – The Dovetails.

This young band, hailing from a tiny village in the hills of Lancashire, burst onto the stage as if they owned it and proceeded to perform a thrilling line up of songs, all written by band member, Leo Harwood. The lead singer, allegedly the sister of Leo, is Amber Harwood, a performer who gives it her all – and when I say all, I mean, everything. I haven’t seen this much passion on a stage since Piston Jeffrey played Wembley in 1992. 

The fantastic drummer, Jimmy Deacon, is reportedly a childhood friend who joined the band a number of years ago. The interplay between the lead singer and the keyboardist makes for a fascinating performance. They work together in perfect unison, each playing off each other in terms of musical accomplishment.

The way Amber Harwood performs is reminiscent of those rare great singers who are unafraid to bear their souls on stage. The music is fresh, fast, original and raw. The Royal Exchange can’t have been this electric for years - the whole place erupted. For their young years, this band show a level of promise that excites me and clearly excited the crowd.

You saw it here first. Introducing – The Dovetails.

Can you believe it? They loved us! The night itself is a complete blur to me, thinking back on it now. Just lots of noise and excitement and people, so many people. I’m just not used to that volume of people being in one place – I live in Ellwood for God’s sake. There are only so many of us in this village. There must have been about twice as many people in that venue as there are in the whole village. Looking out at that many faces was something I’ve always longed to experience; now I’ve done it – wow. I still can’t believe it.

Was I nervous? Of course I was! I was terrified! We set off early in the morning and got to the venue for lunchtime. It was like walking into a big underground cave. No windows, hardly any light, a huge stage running along the back walk, stairs creeping up either side to a whole other level. A bar running along the opposite side lined with stools. Acres of space and almost no one there at that time apart from the sound guy and a couple of other people roaming about in hoodies.

I raced right up to the stage and pulled myself up on it. Leo and Jimmy laughed at me as I ran from one end to the other, jumping along as I went.

‘This place is massive!’ I shouted.

‘I know!’ they both shouted back.

I messed around on the stage for a few minutes whilst Jimmy and Leo sorted out the stuff. Looking out to the rest of the venue it was hard to image what it would be like full of people. About ten hours later I found out.

DOVETAIL DIARIES ✔Where stories live. Discover now