Formed in 1997 in Derby, Lightyear is a ska and punk band that got back together in 2017 following a two-year break. Prior to that, the band had formerly ended in 2003, with a number of one-off get-togethers over the years, such as those in 2006, 2012 and 2015. Two of the members of the band – vocalist Chas Palmer-Williams, and Neil Draycott, a guitarist and trumpet player – also perform with Cotton Weary. The remaining members of Lightyear are Ben Ashton, who plays tenor and baritone saxophone, Richard Barling, the band's bassist, Neil Cowie on electric guitar, Jim Harrison on drums, and Mark Wood and Kraig Winterbottom, both trumpet players. Nearly everyone in the band also provides backing vocals, offering a rich sound, especially as far as their anthemic numbers are concerned.
Lightyear's career milestones
After getting together, Lightyear's first public performance took place in 1998. An EP entitled Lightyear Vs. Evil Macaroni came out on the Positive Outlook label in 2000. That year also saw the band's first single, a self-released track by the name of “Just Another Demonstration”. As a result of the modest success of the group at this time, as both a recording and live performance outfit, they came to the attention of Household Name Records and a deal was struck for their future recording work.
In October 2001, Lightyear put out their first album. Recorded for Household Name, it was called Call of the Weasel Clan. The LP would go on to receive a vinyl re-release by Banquet Records, 11 years later. The band went on to play at some higher profile stages as a result of the album's notoriety on the punk scene in the UK. For example, Lightyear played at a Carling Weekender in 2002, alongside the likes of Alkaline Trio.
By 2003, Lightyear were hard at work in the studio producing their second studio album. Working with Dave Chang in the role of producer, this work would be unleashed in July of that year. The LP was called Chris Gentlemens Hairdresser and Railway Bookshop, but by the time it was ready for public consumption, the members of the band had already decided to go their own separate ways. Lightyear did tour the UK to promote Chris Gentlemens Hairdresser and Railway Bookshop alongside the Watford-based punk band, Captain Everything!, but few dates were taken on after this. A short farewell tour followed in late 2003, with the band's final gig taking place in Derby. Since then, Lightyear has only undertaken short bursts as a reformed band, such as the six-date mini tour of 2012, before getting back together in 2017.
Similar to Lightyear
Epic events and incredible deals straight to your inbox.