Nick Heyward and Haircut 100 burnt briefly and brightly – the ultimate group of pals who, within a year, had hit the big time. Sadly it finished as quickly as it began. Nick has continued to make music and tonight on the first leg of his Woodland Echoes tour – he was in Brighton.
Nick Heyward – Brighton 2018.
Nick Heyward was born in Beckenham, Kent, on May 20th 1961. On leaving Kelsey Park School in 1977, he went to work as a commercial artist, but he had dreams of becoming a pop star. And soon, Heyward and his friends were ditching names such as Boat Party and Captain Pennyworth left, right and centre and became Haircut 100.
They played the pop game perfectly, tucking their Aran jumpers into their trousers, riding the post-new romantic funk wave, marrying Chic with the Monkees and opening their shows with a blistering cover of Low Rider by War. Haircut 100 burnt briefly and brightly – the ultimate group of pals who, within a year, had hit the big time. It finished as quickly as it began; the band parted ways and Nick’s first solo album, North Of A Miracle, was released in September 1983.
I remembered playing most of their hits constantly during my DJ years. I had waited since 1983 to see these songs performed live. I had been looking forward to this gig for a while as it had been advertised well in advance. Nick Heyward and the band Haircut 100 were probably viewed as a cleanly cut image of rock and roll and music of the 80’s alongside bands such as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. They always seemed to be a fun loving band.
The Band: A slideshow! It was busy up there!
Nick was ably supported by a fine band of musicians and they all seemed to be having a blast up there. So much humour from everyone on stage between the songs made the show a really comfortable watch, whilst they worked together to deliver the music of Nick Heyward.
The band took to the stage, and Nick came on wearing a pair of shades and a rather splendid jacket! “Hello” was greeted with a huge cheer as the band kicked off with Love Plus One – now that’s a way to start a gig. Brilliant!
Looking back over the set we had a fabulous mixture of material from Nicks career. We had a good helping of newer material and from the new album – Woodland Echoes and this was interspersed with some of Nicks Haircut 100/Pelican Brief days and so much more. It was clear a lot of thought and preparation had gone into the set.
Other songs included were Who, Perfect Sunday Sun, Nobodys Fool, Blue Hat for a Blue Day, Secret Garden, Take That Situation and the classicWhistle Down the Wind. The focus shared with us in the crowd, with the songs from Woodland Echoes, is on a love for nature and being outdoors in the sunshine. At one point you could have thought you had been transported into a forest as a backing track of woodland sounds and birds tweeting was played as the lighting dimmed. A cool breeze blowing through an open fire door helped set the scene for Beautiful Morning. From the relaxing to the out and out rock and roll as The Beatles Doctor Robert was fired up and played.
A fabulous moment greeted with much laughter from the crowd and the band as Nick attempted to attach a harmonica neck rack. We got there! I always thought they were easy to put on and use – no, turned out to be a tricky little devil. Nick had made mention of first night nerves, well pretty sure none of us spotted any of those. Everything was on point. Nick would stop to say “Hi” to people he recognised and spotted a Brighton DJ in the crowd mentioning his lively Twitter account! Brilliant, just enough crowd engagement to keep everyone involved and part of the show.
Nick has mentioned in the past how he uses mindfulness and meditation if he gets stressed. A fascinating insight to this musician and his personal life. More fabulous material came at us, Nick and the band now in full stride, Baby Blue Sky, Favourite Shirts, New Beginning, He Doesn’t love You Like I Do were also in the song line up. Nick Heyward seemed to be revelling as the crowd danced and sang along. We got all of those loved songs that pushed Haircut 100 to the top of the charts, and Top Of The Pops and that was, as some might say, the last decade in which the Top40 singles chart counted.
Nick Heyward effortlessly turned the clocks back as he and the band presented many of the old hit songs and then mixing it up and playing some of his more recent material.
A mixer – clips from the show.
The set was drawing to a close and we had Favourite Shirts – Boy Meets Girl and Fantastic Day to close proceedings.
As I said before Haircut 100 always seemed to be a fun loving band. Nick and his band have carried that forward with this lineup of musicians on his Woodland Echoes tour – the band seemed to have fun, I know we in the crowd did. Great job. If they are on tour near you put on your favourite shirt and enjoy a great night of live music.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2018.
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