The Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society invite artists to perform one-off concerts for them which are held, not at mid-day as the name would suggest, but at ten past one in the afternoon. These concerts have now become a regular and familiar event at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The advantage of an afternoon mid-week concert is that you are guaranteed a good seat. The disadvantage of an afternoon mid-week concert is that you are guaranteed a good seat! Mind you, saying that there must have been about 300 members in the audience this afternoon. I did notice however, that I was undoubtedly the youngest!
If you are looking for a concert of great songs from the world of Musical Theatre superbly sung by four of Britain's top Musical Theatre performers, then you couldn't go far wrong with this afternoon's offering.
The setting was the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the second of 5 dates on this whistle-stop tour, the orchestra was The Manchester Concert Orchestra under the baton of Richard Balcombe, and the whole spectacle was produced by Raymond Gubbay.
Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra put on a show of such matchlessness in today’s world.
I enter the theatre and look for my seat in the near dark; below the stage watches me like a giant blue omni-seeing eye. The crowd is a mix: every generation is chattering excitedly, from grandparents, to mum and dads to their kids. In some ways, it mirrors what is to come. Jools’ world famous big band could be one of jazz’s longest running stage families: a collection of friends and relations, like-minded, jazz-souled artists who at some point crossed paths and decided that they liked the result. Jools’ daughter, singer Mabel Ray also performs as part of the band.
Theatre goers and fans alike were in for a treat last night as the very well-known rhythm and blues singer, songwriter 'Alexander O'Neal' pays a visit to the Lowry to perform many of his well-known songs including: ‘If You Were Here Tonight’, ‘Criticize’ and ‘The Christmas Song’. Alexander is well known for his to tough and husky voice which certainly brought a burst of positive energy in the theatre last night.
Alexander O'Neal has had a career spanning over 30 years and rose to fame in the middle 80's where he made his mark in the UK so originating Minneapolis, Minnesota is a wide stretch of listeners he attracted the attention of.
More than 70 youngsters, all students of Chetham's Music School in Manchester came together yesterday afternoon to perform some pieces of (mostly classical) music for us as we gathered in The Whiteley Hall; the schools own concert performance venue.
These students came from The Lower School and so were all aged between 8 and 13, although from seeing them yesterday, I would say that most were towards the younger rather than the older end.
If you like brass band music, then you couldn't get much if any better than the famed Grimethorpe Colliery Band. With a list of accolades as long as your arm, including the four times winner of the British Open Championships, you just know that you will be listening to some of the finest triple-tonguing there is! And of course they did not disappoint! Excellent musicians playing some extremely difficult music effortlessly and sublimely!
The Overtones (known previously as Lexi Jo) auditioned for the X-Factor in 2009 when there were four of them. They then became a five piece band and renamed themselves The Overtones. Their style is doo-wop 50s mixed with some pop songs. Whilst working in their painting and decorating company on London's Oxford Street (they formed the company so they could work together and practise singing at the same time), they were spotted by a talent scout from Warner Brothers and the rest is history.
Tonight was the first night of their tour: "A Christmas Party with the Overtones". Before they even came on stage, the audience (mainly ladies of a certain age it has to be said) were in a high state of excitement - complete with Santa hats, Christmas jumpers and so many sequins that people's retinas were at risk of being burned out.
This is an evening celebrating 35 years since the release of the iconic film, Breaking Glass, the Story of a new wave (post punk) band in the early Eighties, from their humble beginnings to their fifteen minutes of fame, to tragedy, break ups and inevitable break downs. Hazel O’Connor starred in the film, as Kate, and was nominated for a BAFTA award and wrote/sang the soundtrack album. The evening will feature the film in its entirety (I wasn’t expecting that!) followed by a short question and answer session (or that!) and then the show: the whole of the breaking Glass album, in its entirety. (I was expecting that. The title of the tour sort of gave it away.)
If you are reading this review to try to decide to see Brit Floyd, I will tell you immediately, they are so much more than a tribute act. They empower their stage and fill their venue with the kind of real essence of Pink Floyd that can only be conjured by an immense love and respect for their namesake, and very, very hard work.
How do you define them?
To answer that, you have to define Pink Floyd, which is a tremendous feat in itself.
The nation took Jonathan Antoine to its heart when he made his first public appearance on ITV's Britain's Got Talent in 2012. The unassuming, shy, Tenor amazed the Judges and the audience with his outstanding vocal talent and was the runner up in the competition. He sang with his friend, Charlotte and they were immediately signed up by Simon Cowell. Two albums and a tour later, they decided to pursue solo careers and in October 2014, Jonathan's first solo album went to number one in the classical charts for three weeks.
This is Jonathan's first solo tour. It became very apparent that quite a lot of the audience have been to see him on every date of it. This is one popular singer with a very loyal (and in some cases, almost fanatical) fan base who simply love him to bits. He received a standing ovation for almost every song.
Soul Legends is advertised on its flyers as "The Feel Good Show of the Year" so as an avid soul fan I had high hopes for a great night.
The six main performers (three gents & three ladies) worked hard with numerous costume (& wig!) changes throughout the night. Their enthusiasm was evident throughout as they worked their way through the hits of Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Barry White, Chaka Khan & many others.