Hartlepool musician Jeff and his band chosen to support Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape

The Carousels. Singer Jeff Best from Hartlepool (centre),
The Carousels. Singer Jeff Best from Hartlepool (centre),

A Hartlepool musician and his band are to share the stage with one of the most influential figures from the British music scene of the 1980s and 90s.

Jeff Best, who hails from Clavering, is a member of The Carousels who have been chosen to support Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape at a show in Birmingham next month.

Shaun Ryder

Shaun Ryder

Ryder was the frontman for Happy Mondays who were one of the biggest bands of the Madchester scene in the late 1980s.

Jeff, 42, from Hartlepool started The Carousels in the Birmingham area where he is now based, in January 2017 playing a mix of 90s tunes and his own songs.

They played at The Studio in Tower Street twice last year and in December played at The 02 Academy 3.

Jeff heard promoters were looking for a support act for Black Grape and they put themselves forward but did not expect to hear back.

He said: “I did however get a reply the following morning from the contact from the MJR Group.

“It was a concert promoter asking if we had 30 minutes of original music.

“I replied ‘yes’ and mentioned we were ‘on form and ready to play’ if he needed the band.

“He said that he had listened to our live recordings and looked at our website and offered us the gig if we wanted it.”

The gig will be at The Mill in Digbeth, on March 29.

Jeff, who is a pilot for Ryanair, added: “For me it’s just strange to be sharing the stage with a band like Black Grape and Shaun. I was in my early twenties when Britpop as it was named was huge, bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, Verve, Primal Scream etc where on the scene and it was all about guitar bands.

“That’s when I wrote some of my songs which I will be singing at the gig.

“So in a way they are from that era which is why I think maybe they will work with the Black Grape crowd.”

Along with Jeff, The Carousels are made up of drummer Gavin Davies, bassist Nivan Smith and guitarist Phil Wilkes.

Jeff said: “Phil the guitarist is certainly made up with the booking. He said that ‘it’s got to be the biggest gig ever for me’.

“Gav is blown away by the booking since he has been working grass roots music for 20 years and is now in several bands in addition to The Carousels.

“When Nivan heard about he booking he told me ‘I told you your songs were good!’, ‘this could be our year’.”