Bristol-based drum ‘n’ bass MC turned singer-songwriter Billy Rowan is better known as The Undercover Hippy, who BBC 6 Music host Tom Robinson describes as, “Like the love child of Steel Pulse, Kate Tempest, and The Sleaford Mods …”
The Undercover Hippy’s mission is simple: To make people think, laugh and dance simultaneously. He will do just that on the 20-date UK tour which kicked off at the end of March in Plymouth, and takes in Scotland, Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham’s hip Actress & Bishop venue on Sunday 10th April, and continues across the country until 1st may in Dorset (see all dates and ticket link below the video…)
Former chart star Tom Robinson, now a respected radio broadcaster and taste-maker, goes on to call Billy’s alter-ego: “Beautifully produced agitprop reggae flavoured rap”.
His music brings together powerful messages and infectious rhythms, combining provocative lyrics with catchy hooks, and feel-good grooves.
Billy and his band have performed at Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Green Man and The Secret Garden Party, as well as many European festivals.
As their music clocks up in excess of 11 million Spotify streams, the band have toured relentlessly across the UK and Europe each year, until the pandemic halted them in them in their tracks. Their Spring 2020 tour for the release of the “Fool Britannia” single was rescheduled three times before going ahead in Autumn 2021 – with sold out shows across the country.
“It wasn’t until my ability to tour was suddenly snatched away from me in 2020 that I realised how much I needed it,” explains Billy. “There is something about that sweaty, visceral, completely ‘in the moment’ experience of playing to a crowd that simply can’t be replicated through a screen.
“Over lockdown, it became apparent to me that it’s these interactions, these moments of sharing and connecting with audiences, that fuel all the other aspects of what I do. Without them, I found that my drive to create began to dry up; that my belief in the value of what I do became diminished.
“Then in October last year (2021), we managed to finally set off on our rescheduled UK tour, and suddenly everything made sense again. The new material that I’d been agonising over in my bedroom for more than a year, was at last performed with the weight of my band behind it; and bounced off the ears and smiling faces of crowds across the country.
“This is the pay-off. Not the number of Spotify plays I can rack up, nor the number of likes on a carefully curated Instagram post, but the chance to connect, face-to-face, and see my music lift both us and the audience into a heightened state of aliveness.” Amen to that Billy!
Since the release of their second album, “Truth & Fiction”, the band have been crafting the follow-up long player, “Poor Little England”. The first single, “Fool Britannia”, is a polemic on the divisiveness of Brexit and populist politics.
The new album, originally slated for an October 2020 release will now see the light of day in October this year (2022) – second single “These Days”, will be released in June.
- Tickets: https://undercoverhippy.com/gigs
Spring 2022 tour dates:
Wed 30 PLYMOUTH Junction
Thu 31 TOTNES The Barrel House
Fri 01 FALMOUTH The Chintz
Sat 02 BIDEFORD The Palladium
Tue 05 NEWCASTLE Cluny 2
Wed 06 GLASGOW Room 2
Thu 07 EDINBURGH Voodoo Rooms
Fri 08 SETTLE Victoria Hall
Sat 09 SHEFFIELD Greystones
Sun 10 BIRMINGHAM Actress & Bishop
Wed 13 NEWPORT Le Pub
Thu 14 SWANSEA The Bunkhouse
Fri 15 LLANDRINDOD WELLS Pavilion
Wed 20 LONDON Hootananny
Thu 21 GUILDFORD Boiler Room
Fri 22 NEWPORT Strings Bar & Venue
Sat 23 BRISTOL The Fleece
Fri 29 SHOREHAM-BY-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre
Sat 30 CAMBRIDGE Junction
Sun 01 DORSET Teddy Rocks 2022