Big Special: at Key Club on 8 May

A new single, a debut album, a UK/EU headline tour and festival appearances – 2024 is a huge year for Black Country duo Big Special.

Big Special – A visceral assault on softer dispositions; a collision of skullcrunching guitars, head-wobbling synths and face-belting drums. Couple this with darkly humorous observations of personal mental struggle in a time of social depression and anxiety, and you have a must-see duo.

Debut album Postindustrial Hometown Blues is out on 10 May and you can watch the video now for lead single Dust Off / Start Again. The band’s new music has arrived in the wake of a sold-out winter UK headline tour multiple playlisted singles on BBC 6 Music, and their presence as a hotly-tipped prospect for 2024 in a number of Ones To Watch lists.

Dust Off/Start Again is Big Special at their most towering and imposing. Barrages of biting spoken word, striking soulful vocals and hulking guitars coalesce around a song that catalogues the mental health impact on a generation with a dwindling sense of ownership and corroded autonomy. It works around the central idea that there’ll always be hope of starting again after a fall, but rallies against the very premise that life shouldn’t be a cycle of building yourself up only to be knocked down again.

Lead singer Joe Hicklin had the following to say:

“Dust Off/Start Again is a bolt of cursed vomit, spewed into a stewpot of English class issues regarding housing, ownership, mental illness, appropriation and human rights. It’s about the disregard for the common man. And how it is expected of anyone, regardless of their situation, to carry on, struggle through and go to work. It’s about how the privileged and powerful attempt to define, debate and justify the social positions of all whilst the ideals of our governing systems are pressed upon the working-class youth, so that they quietly accept their role as a commodity and place blame on each other, as they wave the flag that keeps them down.

Postindustrial Hometown Blues is an album about depression. It’s about the different shapes it takes; personal, social, generational… and it’s about coming face to face with those ghosts and what we do or how we feel when that happens.

The album offers no answers. It is just an honest expression of a working-class experience in modern England through the eyes of ill mental health, a pursuit of art and political disenchantment; a story of rumination, realisation and reaction……. is about learning that we are connected by our common struggles and though dark and rageful, the album holds a quiet sentiment of love and hope. It’s about laughing at the face of the void, recognising its oppressive weight, holding hands and moving forward.”

BIG SPECIAL 2024 TOUR DATES (Tickets available for Key Club here.)

12 Apr – New Century Hall, Manchester, UK (supp. Antony Szmierek)

13 Apr – Lafayette, London, UK (supp. Antony Szmierek)

07 May – District, Liverpool, UK

08 May – The Key Club, Leeds, UK

09 May – XOYO, Birmingham, UK

10 May – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK

12 May – Strange Brew, Bristol, UK

16 May – Jazz Café, London, UK

17 May – Horatio’s, Brighton, UK (The Great Escape 2024)

18 May – Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

20 May – Kasbah Club, Limerick, Ireland

21 May – Workman’s Cellar, Dublin, Ireland

22 May – Ulster Sports Bar, Belfast, Norther Ireland

24 May – Netherlands, Den Haag, Zwarte Ruiter (Sniester Festival)

26 May – Bearded Theory Festival, Derbyshire, UK

27 May – Paradiso Upstairs, Amsterdam, Netherlands

28 May – Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands

30 May – Block Party Festival, Paris, France

31 May – Vestrock, Hulst, Netherlands

01 Jun – Dauwpop Festival, Hellendoorn, Netherlands

26 Jul – Low Festival, Benidorm, Spain

28 Jul – Latitude Festival, Suffolk, UK

23 Aug – Reading Festival, Reading, UK

24 Aug – Leeds Festival, Leeds, UK

Photography by Isaac Watson.

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