The Love & Riots Diaries: Introducing The Hearts‏

the hearts

Early 2014 

It’s March 2nd 2014 and Killing Moon have just premiered Newport alternative rock trio The Hearts‘ first video for their song ‘Lips‘. The video itself cost about £50 and was filmed in a kitchen; it’s amazing what you can do with a bed sheet and some clothes pegs. ‘Lips‘ is a synth-packed pop rock anthem with upbeat, rhythmic guitars and a huge, catchy chorus. It’s the type of song that you’ll have a hard time getting out of your head, so it’s probably easier to just stick it on repeat instead.

Lips‘ immediately attracted the attention of management companies and booking agencies and The Hearts were seemingly spoiled for choice, in the end they settled on Three Six Zero  and Primary Talent. Primary, in particular, is a well-established booking agency who look after bands like The 1975, The Wombats, Two Door Cinema Club and many more. This success would set in motion a force that would launch The Hearts through the year ahead at full speed.

Summer 2014

Fast forward to the Summer. July 2014 brought The Hearts two opportunities to show off their incredible talent to huge crowds. First up was British Summer Time at London’s Hyde Park, supporting Arcade Fire and Jake Bugg amongst a fantastic festival line-up.

This was swiftly followed by a support slot for Paul Weller at Cardiff Castle, to play the venue in itself is an achievement all Welsh bands hope to reach.

paul weller

Late 2014

With two huge shows already marked off like notches on a bedpost, it was surprising that The Hearts had not yet played their hometown of Newport. What wasn’t a surprise, however, was that they packed out Le Pub for their first ever Newport show on December 11th 2014, with local support from Luvv and Hana. This would be my first time seeing The Hearts.

I had heard great things, so my expectations were high, but The Hearts exceeded them by far. I’ve never enjoyed or been more impressed with a local band after seeing them for the first time. Their undeniable musical and vocal ability teamed with their powerful and professional stage presence means they can draw attention and easily command an audience for their entire set. Even though I only knew ‘Lips‘, The Hearts’ catchy melodies and effortlessly poetic and memorable lyrics meant that I left the show singing songs I’d never heard before.

The Hearts know how to write songs and they know how to play them even better. As a band, they perform far beyond their level, which is largely down to their history.

Frontman, Alex Nash and bassist Jamie Roberts are childhood friends, and after meeting guitarist, Hamish Kay, at the now closed venue, TJ’s, in Newport, they started playing together. Years later, it seems that their hard work and dedication to music and to each other is starting to pay off.

Early 2015

The beginning of 2015 finally brought us their debut EP, ‘Lips‘, which features the fantastic title track and the equally brilliant ‘Celebrate‘. Following its release, they announced a February co-headline tour with Merthyr’s mighty Pretty Vicious.

This would be The Hearts’ first tour and I was lucky enough to see them twice, once in Swansea at Sin City and at a sold out show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach. The tour attracted decent-sized crowds across the board and assured both The Hearts and their audiences that they are establishing themselves as a live band.

The co-headline tour sent them mostly around Wales, but that didn’t stop them from venturing up to Scotland shortly afterwards. The Hearts played Electric Circus in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Scottish crowds, living up to their reputation, gave The Hearts a wild welcome, and they promised they’d be back soon.

king tuts

Before their inevitable return, however, they shot straight back down to Bristol to support Darlia at Thekla. I went to see them again, but it was a close call. The drive down from Scotland left them exhausted and… very late, they arrived 15 minutes before their stage time. With no time to soundcheck or even apply the all-important hair gel, The Hearts took to the stage and played to their usual high standard, you’d never have known they had just jumped straight out of the van and onto the stage.

Their energetic and sharp performances are perfectly matched to their dynamic set. The songs feel like they’ve been taken straight from an already fully-formed album, and every track on that album is a single. Amazingly, however, they only have three songs released. Their latest single ‘Run Free‘ (produced by The VestalsGethin Pearson) came out on iTunes yesterday and features in tomorrow’s Welsh Music Wednesday, so you could say that this week we’re celebrating The Hearts, but we aren’t the only ones.

The Hearts have received ongoing support from stations like XFM, who listed them in their ‘Great X-Pectations for 2015′ and from Nation Radio, being played regularly by former Kids In Glass Houses bassist, Shay. They have had endless support from BBC Radio Wales, and have featured on shows by Huw Stephens, Adam Walton and their most recent appearance was with Bethan Elfyn. This show is still available to stream on iPlayer, where you can hear a live version (skip to 01:07) of ‘Just Kids‘ from their set that is currently unavailable to hear anywhere else.

Their popularity with the BBC doesn’t stop at the radio, The Hearts have been added to the BBC Introducing Stage at Radio One’s Big Weekend in Norwich.

Spring 2015 

Back in March, barely stopping to take a breath, The Hearts announced a 17 date tour, kicking off this week with Darlia in Leeds. This will be their first (mainly) headline tour and takes them across most of the UK. As well as Radio One’s Big Weekend, they also play The Great Escape festival in Brighton. The rest of the dates are their own headline shows and tickets range between £5-8, it goes without saying that I highly recommend picking up a ticket, not just to see them live, but to see them live whilst the venues are small and the tickets are cheap.


As The Hearts prepare to head out on tour, I’m booking my trains and packing my bags to go and see them wherever I can. After that, we’ll wait and see what they do next, but when they slow down long enough for me to catch up, the next instalment of these diaries will follow. Until then, you can check them out here and grab tickets for their tour here, don’t miss out.

the hearts tour


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