Thursday 20 February 2014

Chico Chica - Tomfoolery

Barbara Snow - Percussion, Flugelhorn and Vocals
Prepare yourselves because this is just an amuse bouche before the main course is served. I was attending the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea (09/02/2014) in my role as artist-in-residence for critic Mr Rainlore. Along with his able assistant Chetna Kapacee we were here to experience trio Chico Chica who I had previous sketched and written about in 2013. Mr Rainlore will be giving them a fleshier review than I at in due course, along with my colour sketches. For now be satisfied with a monochromatic pictorial representation but with the words in vivid hues to reflect Chico Chica's witty performance.

With a mixture of Mediterranean flavours provided for the ears, Chico Chica are appetisingly entertaining but it is Tom Hannah poetic brilliance that gets my cerebral juices flowing. This isn't a one man band by any stretch and the stage was illuminated by the sleek satin beauty of Barbara Snow, who immerged from the Palace Theatre's rich lighting as through a Claude Lelouch Vaseline smeared lens. Luckily I regained self-control as thoughts of petroleum jelly along with Snow's singing on 'C'est Ta Chanson' nearly brought an embarrassing end to my tenure with Mr Rainlore.

Hilary Cameron - Flute/Piano/Vocals
Hilary Cameron was the red haired sprite playing piano and flute in the centre of the trio. The clarity of her voice cleansed the Southend crowd during the second set, particularly on 'This Room'. Her calming presence was much needed due to the audience becoming overexcited by Tom Hannah's lyrical high jinx. During the interval I managed to chat to a few members of the 'back row' club. True to form it turned out they were from the Southend branch of the Hannah Clan, describing Tom as the black sheep of the family. A real badge of honour.

Tom Hannah
Tom Hannah got his dancing shoes on once again for the iconic 'A Scientific Fact' with a bit of robotic shuffling and then brought out his angry ant dance for 'Music is Overrated'. Hannah keeps the tongue in his cheek so firmly hidden you never know which side of the coin his lyrics will land. Tails for humour and Heads for the thought provoking poetry that is Hannah's metier. Although he isn't personally the 'Nice guy with an Edge' from his dating song, this sums up his persona perfectly.

Tom Hannah informs us in his introduction that Chico Chica are no chin stroking aficionados. If you believe therefore that there aren't deep pools within their repertoire then you would be wrong. The attention does wander when in repose during some musical interludes but not for long as Hannah's conceptual zeal thrusts deep into your mind just as your guard is lowered.


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