At St Pancras, struggling bands find platform to promote their music

The Guillemots are in mid-song flow when the announcement that the 7:02pm Eurostar to Paris is boarding somewhat thins their audience. But that's one of the hazards for bands who are bringing "rush-hour rock" to harassed commuters at one of Europe's busiest train platforms.

St Pancras International has become music's latest "pop-up" music venue, with a daily selection of leading artists performing at four stages placed strategically across the home of the Eurostar.

For bands such as the Guillemots, facing a music business scarred by a declining CD business and a drop in live ticket sales, it's a golden opportunity to perform for more potential fans than they might reach at a summer of festival appearances. Up to one million people travel through the revamped St Pancras concourse each week. The Station Sessions series of daily concerts, held at lunchtimes and during the 6pm-7pm rush-hour, returns the tradition of musical performances to the famous Victorian station. St Pancras was a key departure point for soldiers heading off to the Second World War and brass bands would give the troops a motivational send-off as they waved goodbye to their loved ones.

The romantic possibilities of St Pancras, with its platform champagne bar for courting couples, is one of the reasons why the singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot has signed up to perform during tonight's rush-hour.

"Extraordinary things happen at stations," she said. "People can find themselves a long way from home. I sometimes go to Kings Cross with my baby just to sit and observe people."

Pallot, whose Year Of The Wolf album is hovering just outside the Top 10, believes musicians must seize any chance to lure new fans, even if it means performing a glorified busking session. "I'll be on the middle of the platform with my piano and a string quartet playing for the attention of unsuspecting commuters," she said. "I'm going to try doing half a song in French for passengers arriving on the Eurostar. It's a great idea. I don't know why there aren't more public spaces opened for live music in this country like there are in Europe."

St Pancras is working with the Prince's Trust on the concerts, which will also give young performers a chance to play with established names. Live music, seen as the saviour of the music industry after piracy began to cut down physical sales, is now struggling, with box-office takings falling 12 per cent for the top tours in 2010. Rising ticket prices are blamed, and that encouraged the Guillemots to stage more free gigs. The band will play at the Festival of Britain Bandstand at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow afternoon.

Finishing their hit single "Trains To Brazil" with a flourish to a crowd of 200 well-wishers, champagne-bar sippers and curious commuters, Guillemots singer Fyfe Dangerfield thanked the audience and wished them a safe journey.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project