RISING Hampshire indie stars The Collision will launch their debut EP at their biggest headline show so far.

Frontman Lewis Smith, guitarists Dan Hennessy and Evan Latter, bassist Tom Copeland and drummer Chris Latter will celebrate the release of Never Gone at The Wedgewood Rooms on Saturday November 11.

The Portsmouth venue is usually the haunt of established touring acts so it’s an ambitious step up for the young band, but after playing this year’s Victorious and Wickham festivals, London venues like Nambucca and Fiddler’s Elbow, plus clubs and events across the south, songwriter Lewis says they’re ready for it.

“We’ve sold our band ticket allocation, so, while it’s a lot to ask, we’re hoping for a sell-out. We can’t wait, it’s going to be brilliant.”

“Our new tunes, recorded at Quay West Studios with producer Alex Long, have a different array of influences, but it’s still the same pop rock sound that we’re known for.

“Two songs on the EP, including the title track, are dedicated to my Grandad who inspired me to do music. He never missed one of my gigs and insisted on coming along even when he was poorly.”

Before joining the others, Lewis, who studies at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, was already an established performer at places like The Joiners where he released his first solo EP Raw in 2016.

Last year The Daily Echo told the story of how the Droxford teenager suffered a life threatening illness aged 12 and had to have an emergency operation to remove part of his skull before a further eighteen months of treatment and recovery.

That life-changing event saw him turn to music after he had to stop playing football. He then met and jammed with superstar Ed Sheeran in Prague after help from his mother Nicky and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

But, unlike his hero, Lewis hasn’t stayed a solo artist. The Collision’s first show together was in front of thousands at last year’s Mayflower Park fireworks. They did a live session on BBC Introducing Solent in September.

“It’s nice to be in a band environment now and share all the experiences on and off stage” says Lewis.

And with headline shows in Bristol and London coming up and a return to Portsmouth for Icebreaker Festival in February, there should be plenty more good times to come for these lads.

The Collision headline The Wedgewood Rooms on Saturday November 11 with support from Eyes To The Skies whose own latest single Glasgow is out now. Tickets £6. More at wedgewood-rooms.co.uk.

Richard Derbyshire