Do you ever do that thing, where you think you see someone and get just a little bit closer and find that it’s not quite them? Suddenly a face you would once greet as an old friend is really just a stranger, someone new but still slightly familiar to you. This is the only way for me to explain the feeling I had the first time I heard UK’s Banners, or as his mother knows him, Michael Joseph Nelson.


It was less than a year ago when Banners stopped by 102.1 the Edge and played his breakout Shine a Light, Ghosts, and Start a Riot. If you’ve heard his work, you might have noticed his fresh yet familiar indie aesthetic. Caught somewhere between Frank Turner and City and Colour with a slight resemblance to the Killers circa Day & Age, Banners is a fresh breath of indie music. The musician plays a little lighter than most alternative rock bands, and a little dimmer than the indie scene, but right between is a balance that Banners fits so well.

Using conventional indie themes and sounds, Banners built his breakout album to play like a road-trip playlist in a way that displays his range quite well. Slow and reminiscent at moments, passionate and fireproof at others, while always remaining in the unwavering stance that indie music shines so beautifully in.


It has been a fast start, with very little music following the album release with Island Records in early 2016. Banners broke out with his singles in 2015 with Shine a Light, a song that featured in FIFA ’16. The song since has ranked upon the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart, debuted at number 67 on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart (peaked at number 30), appeared on the soundtrack of The Royals, played on the Spotify Spotlight List as an artist to watch, and was performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!


From Liverpool to WayHome, Banners is a band we can’t wait to hear more from.

In a twist of misfortune, the Arkells and Frank Turner will be in Hamilton on the same night that Banners will be in Toronto, so I won’t be at the UK boy’s show when he comes on February 10th of this year (feel free to send any pictures or videos that will result in my jealousy).


Be sure to stay tuned for more Friday Features each week.