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Backstage with Stornoway at Later... with Jools

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 16:53 UK time, Thursday, 5 November 2009

On Tuesday, I brought you news that BBC Introducing favourites Stornoway were to debut on Later... with Jools Holland on BBC Two this week. It's a massive and hugely influential show, and hence pretty daunting for an unsigned band not exactly used to being broadcast live on tellyboxes all over the country to nearly a million viewers.

But what a triumphant appearance it was. There was a great atmosphere in the Television Centre studio during the filming, and although you could see the band were nervous, they pulled it off and - judging by the reaction on Twitter - have worked their way into the hearts of a legion of new fans.

Tweet about Stornoway on Later 4

BBC Introducing in Oxford's Tim Bearder hung out with the band in the run-up to the filming and live show on Tuesday night, and managed to grab a few minutes with Jools Holland himself to hear his thoughts:

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Getting the opportunity to star on Later... isn't an everyday occurence for unsigned bands, so we asked Stornoway to give you, dear reader, an insight into the experience. They were only too happy to oblige, and sent us the following diary of the two days, which we've punctuated with some of the nice Tweets we've seen since Tuesday:

"On Monday morning we loaded our instruments into Van Blanc, our untrusty steed, and chugged down the M40 to the BBC studios, in plenty of time for our soundchecks. The studio was bustling with sound engineers and technicians loading in equipment, adjusting lights, cameras, microphones, and laying miles and miles of cables. It was smaller than it seems on the telly, but no less impressive."

"We carried in our instruments and a man came up and asked if Brian (our singer) was the tour manager. Once our brass section had arrived we gathered in the deserted Top of the Pops bar and practiced and ate all the biscuits while Norah Jones and Sting soundchecked."

Tweet about Stornoway on Later 2
"Our own checks went well and gave us some confidence. We played a medley of Gala's Freed from Desire and Ronan's You Say it Best on Jools's grand piano before heading back to Oxford for the night."

"Next day we couldn't wait to get back into that incredible room. The urge to do some jamming was just too much and it wasn't long before we were messing around on our stage trying to calm our nerves and get warmed up. Tuesday was a slower day though, and after camera rehearsals much of the afternoon was spent eating and playing football in the shopping centre across the road."

"With stomachs full of birthday (Ollie's) pizza we headed back and arrived to witness the Foo Fighters and Jay-Z's backing band soundchecking. We spent quite a lot of time in the dressing rooms downstairs chilling out and filming silly skits and doing silly interviews!" [which have been made in the following silly film for the Later... website - Ed.]

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"With about an hour to go the guests began to arrive and we downed a couple of pints in the BBC bar to try and loosen up. Rob, Ollie and Adam took advantage of the free BBC haircuts before returning to the studio in time for the show. We played hackisack within our stage area while they counted down to the start - a traditional and important pre-gig activity for Stornoway."

"Brian was feeling physically sick as the nerves reached their peak. Our plan was to avoid eye contact with anyone, not least Jay-Z or Dave Grohl, who were positioned on either side of us. At last Jools swooped his hand towards us and we were off."

Tweet about Stornoway on Later 6
"After a shaky start we found our stride, and somehow held it together for both Zorbing and Fuel Up. The two days leading up to it had felt like two weeks, but the show itself was like a brief and surreal dream. Suddenly it was over and we went straight back to the BBC bar, before continuing the party in Van Blanc all the way home."

Well, there you have it; a remarkable week all round. Even The Hoosiers agree:

Tweet about Stornoway on Later 7

You can watch Stornoway on Tuesday night's Later... Live with Jools Holland on BBC iPlayer, or see the full hour-long edition on Friday on BBC Two at 11.35pm.


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