From the very first notes from the band it was plain to see that the audience at the Theatre Royal were out to party tonight, even before the appearance of Chris Hindle and Gareth Davey as Jake and Elwood Blues, the cheers went up. As they danced onto the stage in true Blues Brothers style to ‘Soul Man’ the interaction was immediate and everyone was singing and swaying along and for a first number, the applause was deafening. Many of the crowd had gone along dressed for the occasion sporting the dark Rayban glasses, black ties, white shirts and of course the black trilby hat and by the end of the evening I almost wished I had too! I don’t think I have ever smiled so much through an entire tribute as I have tonight, the energy and fun was infectious and I don’t think there was anyone not swept away by this show.
The Billy Joel Songbook performed by Elio Pace and his band is highly energetic and extremely entertaining from start to finish. The show is a masterclass on how to put together the perfect programme, with just the right amount of well known, upbeat Billy songs and more intimate, relaxed songs with just Elio and the piano to offer something for everyone. What was particularly impressive was his success in saving the majority of Billy’s best hits for the last 20 minutes of the show, yet despite this never failing to retain the attention of the audience. His passion and appreciation for Billy’s music was inspiring and often moving at times and influenced the crowd greatly. I would imagine anyone who wasn’t a fan of Billy before will be after witnessing the amazing and accomplished Billy Joel Songbook.
As an avid Beatles fan, I was excited to see this show. I have seen the Mersey Beatles play many years before, but don’t remember specifics about them, just that they were good.
So, where to start. Firstly, both their singing and speaking voices were spot on, they all mimicked their Beatle in such a way you very often forgot you were watching a tribute band, and instead of comparing them to the real deal, you just accepted them, which can’t always be said of this sort of act. The fact that they are all Liverpool born and grew up as childhood friends really does give them that extra bit of authenticity.
It is said that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness" - however, there was nothing mediocre about Mercury's performance tonight and I think the great Freddie Mercury would be extremely proud and impressed that his legend lives on and is celebrated in such a fabulous way.
Mercury is a Queen tribute band which formed in 1998 and is feted as one of the world's most authentic Queen tribute bands. Indeed, they are endorsed by none other than Freddie Mercury's Mum and have performed an exclusive concert for the band's own Roger Taylor.
For over forty years now, the Kronos Quartet have been pushing the boundaries of what’s musically possible for four classically trained string players to do. Along the way, they have covered not just the classic twentieth-century western repertoire of quartet music by such giants as Webern, Bartók and Schnittke, but have continually expanded their range to take in contemporary work, to rework rock, jazz and pop in new contexts, and to develop whole new sound palettes through a series of collaborations with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith and Sigur Rós.
UK soul sensation Mica Paris has had a career spanning nearly 30 years and on Saturday evening, St George's Hall in Liverpool was treated to a night of tight soul riffs and power vocals.
Mica honed her vocal skills singing in her grandparent's church until the age of 16 before getting her break in the music business providing backing vocals for Hollywood Beyond. In 1988, she released her first album 'So Good.'
Since then Mica has released six more studio albums and is currently putting the finishing touches to her eagerly awaited eighth studio album. In the recent past, younger fans may know Mica through her TV work but it is singing on stage and in front of an audience that she flourishes.
Reality talent shows, and their stars, are hard to escape; and often failing to live up to the hype in real life. The Sons of Pitches, thankfully, do not fall into this category, proving their fame is built on talent and will likely exceed the clichéd fifteen minutes!
The grade II listed Epstein Theatre provides a beautiful backdrop for the gig. Theatres are tricky venues for live music as the seats and formality often sedate the audience, however, The Sons (as they’re affectionately known) manage to win the audience over. And by the group’s final song the audience are breaking theatrical convention and dancing in the aisles.
Entering the Stockport Plaza tonight; I am transported back to an age in music which is iconic, full of famous songs and has a great feel good vibe. I'm of course talking about Motown and the 'Magic of Motown' crammed full of the labels best hits.
As the curtain went up, we were immediately transported to the party fun with hits 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' and ‘Ain't No Mountain' which were performed with real excitement.
Performing to an almost full house at the Beautiful Grand Theatre Blackpool the stars of tonight’s’ show recalled performing there during the 60’s and I have no doubt that many of the audience tonight were there then. The auditorium was buzzing before the show even started and the minute the music began with ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ the place erupted with a mass of arm waving and singing along, leaving no doubt this crowd were here to party, no matter that they were mostly of the older generation! (You could tell as they chatted before the performance rather than fiddle around on Phones!)
For a one-off concert and to celebrate the launch of her CD, 'Twelve O'Clock Tales' recorded with The Halle Orchestra, Jazz singer extraordinaire, Clare Teal was invited to sing with this phenomenal world class orchestra last night at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the home of The Halle.
Clare Teal was in truly fine form last night. I had never heard her live, and it wasn't her superb voice with astounding range and quality which impressed me the most; nor was it the fact that she chose to sing along with some standards a couple of songs she had composed herself; rather it was her bubbly and no-nonsense persona. She is a northern lass a makes no bones about it; and as she chats to the audience like friends, there are no heirs and graces about her at all. Her mildly comedic banter, her adlibs to the audience and the fact that she really doesn't take herself too seriously are all highly commendable, yet combined with her Yorkshire brogue are at odds with her sublime ballad singing. My immediate thought was that she was in many ways very similar to the late, great, Victoria Wood; and quite unbelievably, at the very end of the concert, Teal acknowledged her debt to Wood as being one of the people she was inspired by.
Tonight, I'm at the Manchester O2 Apollo among thousands of fans of all ages; from teenagers to pensioners, everyone's waiting full of excitement and promise, what kind of artists can demand such a varied audience - well it's one of the most famous British reggae/ska bands around, it's got to be UB40.
Performing tonight as part of their Labour of Love I & II tour in Manchester, the band were greeted with an amazing crowd and atmosphere all ready to dance the night away.