Tag Archives: Concert

WHAT’S ON MAY: The Magic of Motown at Hamilton Town House

The Magic of Motown

Celebrating the sound of a generation

Music fans are invited to the biggest party of the year as the unstoppable Magic of Motown show steams into town! Seen by over a million people, it’s no surprise that the show is one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history, even performing for Her Majesty the Queen, as special guests at the Royal Variety Performance.

Prepare yourself for 40 back-to-back classic Motown hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and outstanding musicianship in this explosive concert experience.

With timeless music of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and more, are sensationally recreated for you by an exceptionally talented cast and band.

This breath-taking concert spectacular takes you on a musical journey through all your favourite songs, including: Ain’t No Mountain, Signed Sealed Delivered, Dancing In The Streets, My Cherie Amor, Heatwave and many more.

Available to book online or by calling The Town House, Hamilton on 01698 452299.

Date: 4 May 2019

Time: 7:30pm

Cost: £26.50 / £24.50

Venue: The Town House, Hamilton

REVIEW: Someone Like You: The Adele Songbook – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

It’s over a decade since Adele burst onto the music scene with her debut album 19. From there the then teenage sensation has matured into a world-dominating megastar. With Adele on a seemingly infinite sabbatical, Katie Markham’s Someone Like You: The Adele Songbook is both a fitting tribute to the star and an excellent substitute.

Former X Factor finalist Markham was chosen to appear in the TV special Adele Live at the BBC presented by Graham Norton, an event that was to change her life. Not only did she get to sing with her idol, that appearance inspired Markham’s decision to create the show Someone Like You, a show that has now toured Britain. A wise decision, as the superstar’s music transcends both musical genres and the generations as evidenced by the large and diverse audience in the Theatre Royal this evening.

Markham manages to capture Adele’s vocal and physical nuances, but she is clearly a gifted singer in her own right and accompanied by a talented four-piece live band and two backing singers, she more than delivers the goods. From Hometown Glory through: Chasing Pavements; Make You Feel My Love; Set Fire To The Rain; Someone Like You; Rumour Has It, Rolling In The Deep, Skyfall to Hello, every hit and some lesser known album tracks are here as well as some tributes to Adele’s musical heroes. There’s even an astonishingly good version of Cheryl Cole’s Promise This, originally performed for Radio One’s Live Lounge, proving that a class act like Adele can make a silk purse out of any musical pig’s ear. Markham’s talented backing vocalists also get their chance in the spotlight with a knock-out version of Natural Woman.

It takes a brave performer indeed to take on arguably the world’s best female vocalist, thankfully Markham is a class act like her musical idol, and Someone Like You is a highly entertaining two hour musical treat.

Katie returns to Scotland next month with shows on:

11th March – Eden Court, Inverness
12th March – Music Hall, Aberdeen
13th March – Webster Theatre, Arbroath 

REVIEW: The Overtones – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The Overtones are in Glasgow to have a party, a great big, joyous Christmas party, and while it totally and utterly fulfils this brief, in a year that has been more than challenging for the band, this is a night filled with huge happiness and just a little sadness.

This hasn’t been the easiest year for The Overtones, following the death of lead vocalist Timmy Matley and critical conversations about the future of the band, but from the moment they bound onto the stage to the strains of Womack and Womack’s Teardrops, you are utterly assured that their decision to carry on as a four-piece is the right one.

Occupying a unique niche in the market with their blend of modern Doo Wop, the band truly have wide, multi-generational appeal. Added to their vocal talents, this is a quartet who put their hearts, souls and considerable physical and emotional energies into every performance.

The audience are literally on their feet from the first notes, and the feel-good hits just keep coming: You To Me Are Everything, Runaround Sue, My Girl and Rockin’ Robin particularly fit their vocal harmonies and set the party atmosphere. However, the audience inevitably knows that a remembrance of Matley’s life would come. And so it does in the form of a trio of songs specially chosen to celebrate him: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (their last song recorded as a 5-piece), the Spice Girls’ Goodbye and I Say a Little Prayer, the poignancy added to by the sight of Matley’s beaming smile projected behind the band as they sing.

Before the interval, the band manages to ramp the happiness back up, delivering Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

The festive factor is represented by a clutch of Christmas classics: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Driving Home For Christmas and there’s a duo of ear-pleasing original songs from the latest album, new single Stand Up and By My Side. But it’s the party tunes that have the sold-out audience dancing in the aisles: Love Really Hurts, Get Ready and Gimme Just a Little More Time, have the joint jumping.

While the loss of Matley’s vocals is of huge consequence, Mike Crawshaw and Lockie Chapman more than step up and are, as always perfectly supported by Darren Everest and Mark Franks. Fans will be delighted to know that the sharp and original choreography is still very much in evidence and beautifully executed.

The band round out the evening of mutual love with the entirely appropriate Love Is In the Air and leave the audience on a high.

The Overtones prove that good, old-fashioned quality will always win out, and if the reaction of this Glasgow crowd is anything to go on, it will continue to do so for many years to come.

REVIEW: Caro Emerald – The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Dutch jazz/pop sensation Caro Emerald is in Glasgow, bringing old-school Hollywood glamour along with some bossa nova beats, latin vibes and a fabulously retro stage set.

Emerald is indeed a gem, and her reputation as one of the finest live performers in the world remains firmly intact on the basis of this glorious sell-out set at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Backed by her exceptional seven-piece band, she storms through hit after hit after hit from Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room FloorThe Shocking Miss Emerald and Emerald Island. It’s rare that there’s not a weak song in an entire set, but there truly isn’t. Despite what your pre-conceptions are about her music, there’s something inherently infectious about each and every one of these tunes. The mixture of 40s and 50s jazz, swing, Latin beats, some VERY James Bond themed numbers and good old pop, is irresistible. There’s also the inclusion of Camila Cabello’s chart-topping Havana, a song that couldn’t be more perfect for Emerald to cover.

There’s little interaction with the audience, little show of personality, save for her quirky, modern/retro fashion choices (two outfits for the evening if you’re interested) not that there’s any sign of ego or arrogance, Emerald really does let the music do the talking, there’s no need to waste time with chat when people just want to hear these tunes.

Of note are the gorgeous, retro projections that accompany the set, be it chilling by the pool or a hot Cuban night, they perfectly enhance the mood of each song. 

It takes the normally exuberant Glasgow audience a while to get on their feet tonight, but when they do there’s no way they’re going to sit back down. The evening ends on a high with Emerald’s most familiar song, On a Night Like This. The perfect antidote to the on-coming winter blues.

REVIEW: Blair Dunlop – The Hug and Pint, Glasgow

From folksy beginnings, Blair Dunlop has been moving in recent years (and over the course of three albums) to a more commercial sound.

The son of singer Judy Dunlop and Fairport Convention’s Ashley Hutchings, Dunlop has a varied performance CV, as well as his musical outings, he also appeared as the young Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Prizes have also not eluded him, winning the 2013 Horizon Award at the BBC Folk Awards and the Special Jury Prize Premio Ciampi in Italy in 2014.

His Ed Harcourt produced latest album, Notes From an Island features large in this live set. The folk elements are still evident, and are the very heart and soul of his sound, but it’s clear Dunlop has matured greatly. While there’s now a broader appeal to the sound, and a big Americana influence, there’s still real depth to the material and a clear political and social commentary running throughout. 

Dunlop and his sound are well suited to intimate venues. That said, it could be argued that Dunlop’s material is so intimate that even this small room sometimes engulfs it. Thoughtful and low-key, the sound could easily be lost in a large venue and that doesn’t necessarily bode well for career expansion. This is music to reflect and relax too, to muse about, not necessarily for a live setting, the audience, while clearly enjoying the gig, are relatively passive for this city. That said, Dunlop is hugely talented and his music is a joy to the ears, he’s a gifted technical vocalist and musician, hopefully his sound will continue to mature and expand to larger venues and audiences. This is music of the highest quality that deserves to be heard by the widest audience possible.

 

 

 

REVIEW: Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords – SEE Hydro Arena, Glasgow

It’s been a long seven years since the “almost award-winning, fourth most popular folk duo in New Zealand” have toured the U.K., made longer by Bret McKenzie’s recovery from a broken wrist, sustained from a nose dive down a flight of stairs at the start of the tour.

Flight of the Conchords have come a long, long way both physically and metaphorically. From bumbling young cult duo trying to find their niche in the comedy world to a 13000 person audience at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena via Bret McKenzie winning the 2012 songwriting Academy Award and Jemaine Clement’s glittering movie career going from strength to strength.

Their 90-minute set is a perfect mix of old and new, launching straight into Father and Son, a seemingly tender ballad that takes an unexpectedly dark turn. There are highlights throughout, so many it would read like a setlist, but Deana and Ian, a tale of inter-office romance is hysterical; The Ballad of Stana a disturbingly funny traditional country story-song; Summer of 1353, a madrigal, yes, you read that right, complete with recorder solos, and two old favourites, Bowie and Foux du Fa Fa (who doesn’t love a lyric that rhymes haricots verts with pomme de terres), the list goes on and on.

The duo acknowledge that they look a lot older than they did in their TV show days, and apologise for reminding us of our own mortality, but the wit and intellect and self-deprecating humour is still there. They remain utterly irresistible and, if anything, funnier than they have ever been. This reviewers’ love for the pair remains undiminished. Just perfect.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Nashville Live – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Capitalising on the current insatiable appetite for all things Country and aiming to “transport you right into the heart of downtown Nashville, celebrating the atmosphere and energy of an evening in the home of country music”, Nashville Live at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall features a cast of seasoned West End performers recreating the great and the good of the country music scene.

Framed as an evening from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, where the world-famous venue broadcasts its radio show to the nation, complete with red on-air sign, silence/applause banner and peppered with vintage radio ads enacted by the cast, it’s an uneven evening that doesn’t know quite what it is.

To it’s credit the set list manages to cover an impressively comprehensive number of Country music eras and genres: Blue Moon of Kentucky sets the tone, quite literally, with heavy reverb on the microphones and slightly mushy sound mixing to start, it takes a while to get in to its stride. Robbie Durham elevates the proceedings with a duo of Hank Williams tunes, Hey Good Lookin’ and Jambalaya. However, there are technical glitches with Helena Gullen’s accompanying, silent fiddle.

Gullen tackles the incomparable Patsy Cline in Walking After Midnight and is competent, if a little lacklustre, again there are plenty of effects on the mic to support her voice, she fairs better in the classic, I Fall to Pieces. Chris Grahamson delivers Willie Nelson’s, On The Road Again and Always on my Mind and to the production’s credit, returns the anthem Crazy to its writer Nelson to deliver. Grahamson has a strong, clear voice and does justice to these well-loved tunes.

There are some unexpected detours courtesy of a few Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard songs and a bluegrass interlude, but it’s soon back to the big-hitters with Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man, Dolly Parton’s Jolene and I Will Always Love You performed by Lisa Wright. Wright has an excellent voice, but lacks rapport with the audience. Durham gets the audience singing along to Kenny Rogers’ foot stomper,The Gambler.

Robbie Durham, fresh from a London run and UK tour of Million Dollar Quartet, again plays Johnny Cash and showcases his astonishing vocal range and tone. Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line are particular highlights.

Grahamson returns with Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places and If Tomorrow Never Comes, again, Grahamson’s rich, clear voice is a stand out among the cast.

While there’s quality throughout the cast, the staging is incongruous. While the artists are introduced as “Dolly Parton” and “Patsy Cline” the costumes for the most part are modern, and there’s no attempt to look like the artists featured save for a few shirt changes amongst the men. That coupled with the ‘radio show’ staging and the vintage adverts in between. It doesn’t work. Either full-on tribute in wigs and costume or a band of musicians just playing covers of these songs, both of these would have worked, this mash-up just confuses. While the auditorium is full, the audience are singing along, the atmosphere is ‘flat’ and there’s a LOT of chat from the audience throughout most of the ballads and the songs that are less familiar.

A great set list and some flawless vocals but the show lacks the passion and energy from the performers that marks a truly entertaining night out.

Touring Scotland – more info at: http://www.mapletreeentertainment.com/currently-touring/Nashville+Live/16/tourdates/

REVIEW: Alfie Boe – Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

Blue sky, cheeping birds, the warm breeze rustling the green leaves of the beautiful trees, a flock of geese low-flying in formation above the picturesque and intimate setting of Kelvingrove Bandstand. The ideal night, and the ideal setting for a concert from one of Britain’s best-loved singers. After a few (highly successful) years in partnership with musical theatre treasure Michael Ball, Alfie Boe is back on his own, and arguably at his best.

Boe looks happy, he looks comfortable and totally at ease, sharing anecdotes about his life since bursting to prominence, he banters and cracks jokes, the crowd too are revelling in this perfect early summer evening, and the result is arguably the best concert Boe has ever delivered. There’s no interval, Boe arrives, bag-piped on to the stage at 8pm precisely and so lost in the moment is he, that the set runs 50 minutes over and skirts close to the 10.30pm curfew, ending (lit by the light of a few thousand mobile phones) in Snow Patrol’s Run. The set itself is hugely eclectic but surprisingly, absolutely perfect. There’s a mix of Italian classics, musical theatre, country, jazz and blues, pop standards and an absolutely barn-storming set of covers of The Who’s classic rock songs.

The audience are free to wander to the front, dance in the aisles, the sight lines are excellent, the sound quality sublime, the relaxed atmosphere a joy to be part of. It really doesn’t get any better than this. Simple excellent.

Jarrod Dickenson – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

It seems silly to label Nashville based, Texan troubadour Jarrod Dickenson a new, rising star, he’s an artist who’s been on the scene since 2010. However, now that the appetite for musical Americana is gathering momentum in the UK, Dickenson’s reputation is building, and with speed.

He’s in Glasgow at the world-famous King Tut’s with just his guitar, his trademark tall hat and his Belfast-born wife on backing vocals to support Grant-Lee Phillips and promote his latest album Ready The Horses.

A born storyteller, the stripped-back sound suits these self-confessional songs perfectly. His sound straddles multiple genres: country, old-school blues, folk, a touch of soul, a tinge of Johnny Cash, but most of all it’s entirely transportative, it’s more New Orleans blues bar than Glasgow rock venue tonight. Dickenson is clearly a gifted musician and songwriter, each song a perfect vignette on life, the universe and everything in between. Dickenson’s voice manages in turn to be plaintive, poignant, plangent, rough, smooth and strong. This live set is as note perfect as anything you could catch on a recording.

This is a strong set, delivered to an enthusiastic crowd, by an incredibly talented musician who deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Dickenson surely has a bright future ahead.

Reviewed on 21 April 2018, currently touring the UK with Grant-Lee Philips, then Don McLean.

REVIEW: Back to Bacharach – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

The back catalogue of Burt Bacharach comprises some of the world’s most recognisable hits. In a career spanning six decades (that arguably reached its zenith in the mid-to-late 60s) there’s a rich vein of material to be mined here.

Bach to Bacharach – The What The World Needs Now Concert Tour, delivers not only the big hits: I Say A Little Prayer, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Walk on By, The Look of Love, Make it Easy on Yourself, 24 Hours From Tulsa, the list goes on and on, but there are a few surprises too: Keep Me In Mind covered by Elvis and Don’t Make Me Over from Dionne Warwick.

Backed by an eight-piece band, the principal vocalists Martin Neely, Chloe Du Pre and Arabella Rodrigo have a wealth of experience behind them from the West End stage to backing/session work and cruise/cabaret performance. There’s a warmth from the trio that transmits to the audience and they work hard to keep the energy levels up and the audience engaged throughout.

There’s plenty of bang for your buck here, the hits keep coming and the two-hour show is packed with familiar song after song.

 

The only issue the cast are fighting against is that these songs are synonymous with some of the most legendary vocalists in pop history: Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and Cilla Black, to merely touch on a few, indeed Black’s trials and tribulations when working with control freak Bacharach, are vividly documented in the recent musical of her life Cilla. These are big shoes to fill and while there are some show-stopping moments, Rodrigo’s Anyone Who Had A Heart is a stunner, they never quite hit the heights of the originals. That said, this a top quality production with an on-point band and hugely talented vocalists, one could never tire of hearing these pop classics and the packed audience is testament to the enduring draw of Bacharach. Just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Back to Bacharach is currently touring the U.K. – details here: http://www.back-to-bacharach.co.uk

 

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