Sunday, February 14, 2016

Viola Beach :: The Warrington boys that sang

Words: LB

As most of the UK were either still enjoying a night out or fast asleep in bed, news slowly started to seep out across the social networks to those that were still awake in the early hours of this morning, February 14, that Warrington band Viola Beach had lost their lives, along with their manager, in a tragic car accident in Sweden.

As shock, disbelief and an overwhelming sense of sadness and regret that so many young lives had been lost in one fell swoop settled in, it became even harder to look back at the success Viola Beech had achieved in such a short space of time, as it was to look at the raft of dates and festival appearances they had lined up for the rest of the year.

That they died just hours after doing what they loved best, performing live on stage at ‘Where’s the Music?’ festival in Norrkoping, Sweden - their first appearance outside of the UK - and were due to head back to England to play a gig last night in Guildford with Blossoms, is almost too unbearably sad for words.

Jack Dakin, Kris Leonard, Tomas Lowe, River Reeves and their manager Craig Tarry, tragically passed away after their black Nissan Qashqai plunged 82ft from bridge in Sodertalje, south of Stockholm, just after 2am local time on Saturday, as they were en route to the airport.

The photo below, taken by musician John Olsson, of Stockholm punk band Psykofant, shows the four band members in their shared dressing room in Norrkoping on Friday night.

The four-piece - vocalist Kris Leonard, 20, guitarist River Reeves, 19, drummer Jack Dakin, 19, and bass player Tomas Lowe, 27 - recently put out their second single 'Boys That Sing' on January 22 through their Communion Records label.

All proceed from the single will now be donated by Communion Records to the families of the band and their manager Craig.

Their name will live on through the music they left behind.

Communion Records: 'Viola Beach had only recently come into the Communion family, and had everything going for them – great songs, passion, talent, drive… everything that a band should have. To sit down with the band was to sit down with a group of guys whose band you wanted to be in, and to be in the presence of a band who knew just what it would take to make it. This is why the band had been in Sweden, rather than sit back and wait for it to happen to them, Kris, River, Jack and Tom were determined to go out into the world and play every show they could until the world was singing along with them, and now that dream has been sadly taken away from all of us. Equally, Craig, their manager was possessed by a passion to help the band achieve everything they wanted to, and to speak with Craig about Viola Beach, and music in general was an absolute pleasure – you knew he was doing it all for the right reasons.

'Everyone here at Communion is in a state of total shock and sorrow, and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of Craig and the band.'

Ian Grimble, Producer: ‘I first became aware of Viola Beach through their single "Swings & Waterslides" and was very taken by the energy and vibrancy that jumped out of the speakers.

'Upon meeting them for the first time, along with Craig their manager, I could soon see why, their exuberance and determination to scream out to the world was overwhelming. This combined with undoubted talent and an incredible work ethic for ones so young made every long hour in the studio from then on very rewarding indeed.

'It is with great sadness that we will not be able to see them grow from the spark that they are now, into the raging fire that they so desperately desired to become. They were a young band who wrote about what they knew, a legacy for new young bands I hope.

'My thoughts are with their friends and family right now’.

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