'The Family' pack into Roadmender for New Model Army gig

It is hard to think of many cult bands that have been going non-stop for more than 30 years.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th April 2017, 10:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:26 pm
New Model Army
New Model Army

In fact most bands which started at the same time have split up, been through the courts, reunited and are now regulars at the 80s-themed summer festivals.

Not so with New Model Army.

35 years brings with it a lot of flight case baggage - 14 studio albums, five live albums, ten compilations, numerous line-ups but also a hugely mixed and loyal fan base.

New Model Army

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    At the Roadmender on Sunday evening you had the usual suspects - mohicaned punks, studded leather jackets, spiked hair and shaven headed tattooed 50-somethings jostling at the front.

    More telling and standing out of harm's way is a much younger audience mingling with the well-heeled who wouldn't look out of place in a Savile Row suit.

    This is the New Model Army audience, or as they're called, 'The Family'.

    Let's start with some pigeon-holing: post punk, folk rock, goth, metal, classical, soul - which is perhaps the problem but also the success of the band which was formed in Bradford in 1980 by frontman and songwriter Justin Sullivan.

    New Model Army

    The band has always attracted a fiercely loyal fan base.

    People who love New Model Army, 'love' New Model Army.

    It has its own fashion (clogs), dance moves (you'll have to Google that) all of which were on display at the packed out Roadmender.

    The sweaty crowd were treated to new songs from their latest album, Winter along with classics from the back catalogue including Green and Grey, Between Dog and Wolf, Poison Street and 51st State.

    But here's the thing. Whether the songs are about love, justice, loneliness or the environment they are all are passionate. Sullivan is passionate, the audience is passionate, the girls dancing on shoulders are passionate.

    Passion. Perhaps that's how you keep a cult band going for more than 30 years.