Wednesday 30 April 2014

Dan Redding's Bandeokee 2014

Dan Redding - Power of Love
UNESCO's International Jazz Day is but an anti-climax in comparison with the annual event of Bandeokee in Kingston that I had the pleasure of attending earlier this month. It is the night when some of the finest musicians in the country emerge from the shadow of their talent, leaving their instruments at home and instead pick up a microphone and sing for their supper. It is an act of bravery, for not only are they exposing themselves in front of their contemporaries and peers but also sharing the stage with non-musicians who often outshine them in both style and purity of voice.

Bob McKay -
In the air tonight
The collective gleam of sweat that greeted me as I walked into The Cricketers pub on Good Friday (18/04/2014) was almost blinding, as musicians and non-musos alike awaited their turn to be called on stage. It is testament to the personality of guitarist Dan Redding that the room was filled with so many people willing to humiliate themselves, for this night was originally a birthday party but now has grown into a behemoth that will one day outstrip Glastonbury in its cult worship.

Chris Nickolls -
Born in the USA
The first tune is reserved for Redding himself for he knows that the earlier you get the monkey off your back and sing your song, then the quicker you can relax and enjoy yourself. He performed 'Power of Love' and in keeping with the mid eighties period had bouffed his hair to BIG proportions.

Marc Le Guerrannic
Not only do we, the audience, enjoy the spectacle but it seems the band does too, with a core of Paul Jordanous (Keys), Holley Gray (Bass), Marc Le Guerrannic (guitar) and Cem Andre (drums) who gently giggled away in the background. As well as being a terrific night of entertainment it is also a night of speed sketching on my part, with only one tune per performer you have to throw yourself into your work. Hence I have not drawn everyone, and apologies to those I have missed.

Leo Appleyard -
My Everything
After our host, came Bob McKay who is no stranger to the big stage, I remember settling down to watch a heady session of Songs of Praise one Sunday only to be confronted by Mr McKay and his piccolo in full flow. This night he sung Phil Collins' 'In the air tonight' in the style of Leonard Cohen and he was impressive with his soft sensitive drawl. The bar had been raised high.

David Horden -
Easy like Sunday morning
Chris Nickolls didn't knock the bar from it's teetering height either, and the normally shy drummer of Shez Raja fame puffed out his chest and gave it his all. I think he has the right idea, if in doubt belt it out, and he sang his lyrics as though he were Springsteen himself in a stadium rather than the more modest Cricketers.

Jonathan Bird -
It's raining men
Despite Leo Appleyard's lambasting at last year's Bandeokee gig he came back for more, foolish or courageous you have to admire the man. With those boyish good looks and heartbreaker eyes you would have thought he had the voice of an angel. Unfortunately Appleyard does not have all of God's gifts bestowed upon him, although his rendition of Barry White's 'My Everything' hinted that his prowess in the bedroom shouldn't be underestimated.

Bill Mudge - Keys
Now here is where I missed a sketch. The next performer was Steve Gilbertson who couldn't keep still longer than a second and ended up spread-eagled on top of Cem Andre's drum kit by the end of 'Dancing on the ceiling' where he was less Lionel Ritchie and more Roger Daltrey in his destructiveness. I did capture yoga champion and trombone supremo David Horden who continued the Ritchie vibe with 'Easy like Sunday morning'. I suspect that the way Horden was bolstering himself with Dutch courage that Sunday morning would have been the moment he cast off his Good Friday hangover.

Piers Green -
Baker Street
Paul Jordanous gave his Big Band leader Jonathan Bird his very best on the camp anthem 'It's raining men'. Bird's performance was one of contradictions, he played his trump card, a handsome face like a young Marlon Brando but it wasn't quite enough to convince even his most ardent groupies. Similar to his legendary jokes there was a squirm factor in his performance just like watching David Cameron dance the Macarena.

Sam Leak -
Purple Rain
Piers Green galvanised a team effort around him for Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' with Bill Mudge (Keys), a superb contribution from Le Guerrannic (Guitar) and a scintillating Bob McKay (Sax). The finger in the ear like David Coleman displayed how seriously he was taking his singing. Next was Lynsy with 'Don't you want me baby' which was theatrical so say the least, I assume that she is a thespian of some repute

Chris Southwell
Bitter Sweet Symphony
The second set was stolen by last year's hero Sam Leak, who downed a quick shot before taking to the stage. His 'Purple Rain' was both comparable to Prince himself in voice but also in curly dark looks and a swarthiness that could blunt a razor within 50 paces. A jealous voice in the crowd called out for a Stewards Enquiry. He was that good!

Tony Heiberg -
Norwegian Wood
A fine 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' from Chris Southwell could have left a pregnant pause after Leak proceeded him with such quality. To Southwell's credit he didn't let that phase him.

Kingston royalty was in the house with the arrival of Tony Heiberg on the dais and he inadvertently galvanised the crowd with his 'Norwegian Wood'. After the first verse his singing dropped away in preference to his beloved guitar and the sizeable crowd took up the reins.

Kate Reid & Gregor Ross -
Despite the next tune being authentic mockney in delivery I assumed we had stumbled upon the set of 'Made in Chelsea' with two such beautiful people before us. Gregor Ross with bottle of beer in hand commanded the stage with his textured voice while Kate Reid gave us the thrust of Blur's Parklife, definitely more Park Lane than Skid Row.

Michael Kew -
Easy Lover
I recognised one of last year performers with his shock of blonde hair and sailor suit stripes, Michael Kew cut quite a figure, musically he hit the highest of notes amongst the his fellow male voices. It is with regret that I didn't capture his fellow 'Easy Lover' Tom Woerndal as they would have made quite a couple. Although Woerndal, with his arran sweater looked like he had just come of the set of a Scandinavian Murder drama so perhaps it is better I kept my pen sheathed.

Jenna -
Blurred Lines
The night hit an upward curve at this point (or maybe the amount of alcohol had dulled the senses) and Matthew Cox steered the safe route through Kenny Loggin's 'Danger Zone' before a duet between Sam Gusson and Jenna brought the crowd to the peak of excitement. Jenna it seems is much like Cher, Lulu and Beyoncé in only needing one name to advertise her wares.

Jonathan Lewis -
It seems Sam Leak had less than an hour to bask in his Number One status before it was cruelly snatched away from him in an audacious and powerful counter attack by Jonathan Lewis. His performance was so theatrical that it felt like we were watching a scene from Carmen rather than a Tom Jones pastiche of 'Delilah'. Yet Lewis is no imitation or parody, here is a man who has shorn his locks but unlike Samson shows no lack of strength or virility because of his shiny pate.

George Bone -
Use Me
Before I lost all ability to hold a pen and quite possibly the dexterity to get myself to the toilet without my wife's help later in the night I danced a little jig to George Bone and Bill Withers' 'Use Me'.

Matthew Cox -
Danger Zone
Another fantastic night was topped off by Helen Mayson with Skee Lo's 'I wish'. It wouldn't be too much to ask the genie next time I rub his lamp if we could have another Bandeokee next year. For my other two wishes I will ask for a 'Rhythm Stick' to help me perform a passable Ian Dury and the courage for me to step up on stage like the other brave singers.


Helen Mayson -
I Wish

Sam Gusson -
Blurred Lines

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