WELL-KNOWN for the huge hit singles Don’t Marry Her and Rotterdam, the South are coming to Salisbury’s City Hall next Thursday.

The nine-piece band, which formed in 2009 with members of the Beautiful South who split two years before, will be performing songs from their debut album Sweet Refrains in addition to the classics ingrained in the hearts of many people.

Over two decades the band became a household name, selling more than 15 million albums with top hits such as A Little Time, Perfect 10 and Good as Gold.

Speaking to the Journal on the circumstances of the split, Alison Wheeler said: “As a band, we all wanted to continue with the Beautiful South, but Paul (lead singer Paul Heaton) wanted to go solo, so we had to split.

“Soon enough, our drummer, who had only ever known being in a band, asked the rest of us and we wanted to continue.

“We couldn’t use the Beautiful South as some of them had left and others had joined, so we settled on the South.”

The Salisbury leg of the tour, where soul singer Frankie Forman is the supporting act, will be followed by shows in Tavistock and Falmouth, ending a year which has seen them travel the length and breadth of Britain. Wheeler says she has enjoyed the advantages of playing in the smaller venues.

“One of the disadvantages of an arena tour is the sheer security presence that means the nearest audience member is 30ft away from us. Playing smaller venues means that we can better connect with them – I even found myself on the lap of one such audience member.

“Also, as it is a weekend tour where we play three nights Friday through Sunday, I can go home and put a different hat on when I’m with my kids.”

In an era of complex transport arrangements and demanding divas, the South’s requirements are comparatively modest.

“Some of us live in Leicestershire, so they’ll take a minibus to all the venues and some of us use our cars,” she said.

“As for riders, we only ask for three things: beer, crisps and peanuts – it’s not extravagant but it keeps us happy!”

In the 12 years with the band Wheeler admits to having only driven through Salisbury en route to other gigs, so is looking forward to next Thursday.

And next year the band has big plans with a follow up to Sweet Refrains in the pipeline, as well as a potential six week arena tour next autumn.

Tickets are available for the 8pm start from the City Hall Box Office on 01722 434434 or cityhallsalisbury.co.uk at £22 each.