Friday 22 May 2015

Dan Redding - Bandeokee 2015

Max Luthert - Kiss to a rose
It is that time of year again, the highlight of the music calendar and still one of London's undiscovered gems. Glastonbury started on the day after Jimi Hendrix died while Bandeokee celebrates fellow guitarist Dan Redding who still hasn't quite managed to kick the bucket and reach the same Hall of Fame. In 2013 as a birthday present to himself he invited a fine crop of London's Jazz musicians and made them sing 80's power ballads in what was then called The Festival of Awfulness. Despite a change of name Bandeokee still tries to reach the lowest possible excellence in the music industry and humiliate its participants.

Paul Jordanous
Firstly as in every year I must add a few supporting comments to the review and sketches that follow. The musicians and press-ganged cast who stand in front of the microphone are much braver than I. They park their talent at the door of the Old Moot House in Kingston (11/04/2015) performing way out of their comfort zone and incidentally ours too. So what you read here is written with affection and respect with tongue firmly in cheek.

Dan Redding - Elvis
Dan Redding is a man of character, a leader, the sort of man you see on a poster (although possibly tacked to walls of a barber's shop). His lush wavy hair gives him the air of King Charles and our royal highness traditionally kicks off proceedings with the opening song of the evening. It was a manly performance of Elvis' 'Caught in a trap' and less of the Vegas years and more of the Hound Dog as Redding sported his spaniel perm with pride.

Bob McKay -
Minute by minute
The Statesman of the night sat calmly behind the piano, Bob McKay is the man many look up to on the Jazz circuit and not just because of his long legs. His seamless rendition of the Doobie Brothers 'Minute by minute' might have more to do the calming effects of the doobies in the air rather than any brotherly love from his fellow musicians.

Duncan Eagles
Bump N' Grind
Duncan Eagles as every young clubber on the dance floors of Pryzm, The Hippodrome and McCluskys knows can reel in young ladies with the smallest gyration of his hips. It is his boyish looks that lure many a moth to his flame and here at Bandeokee it was no different. Eagles' 'Bump N' Grind' (R Kelly) possessed such politeness that it reminded us of a Tiffin schoolboy propositioning his teacher at a school disco. Don't be mislead, for that is his power, under that veneer of respectability Duncan Eagles can let loose his grind like a rodeo star unleashing a lasso.

Helen Mayson
The pinnacle of the night came early as Helen Mayson proved the most beautiful and competent singer of the evening. This may indeed be the most dubious of compliments in light of the company she keeps. The spirit of Bandeokee dictates that Mayson is far too competent to achieve the highest accolade of Bandeokee, her performance neither humiliated nor embarrassed, in fact it was first class.

In this current age of enlightenment Bandeokee flies the flag for equal rights and it was heartening to see an all male version of 'Summer Nights' from hit musical Grease. I unfortunately didn't get a sketch of Andy or Vib and neither did I spot what colour of hanky was in their back pockets.

Piers Green
Little did we realise we were watching history in the making for here in 2015 we witnessed the return of the Castrati. Once the singing superstars of the 18 Century they dwindled into decline because of the barbaric act of castrating young men to preserve their child sized vocal cords rather than their testicles. There is no doubt that Piers Green owns cojones of manly proportions so it was with surprise that he hit the highest of notes during his performance of R Kelly's 'I believe I can fly'. Our resident heartthrob has been the 'nearly man' on previous years with both 'Careless Whisper' and 'Baker Street' earning him mentions in dispatches. It was the pick of the night because of its juxtaposition of deadpan delivery and high note bravado like a group of chipmunks singing a funeral march.

Joel Prime
Max Luthert earned the respect of his fellow musicians with the complex 'Kiss to a rose' originally by Seal. Usually the rose between the two thorns of fellow Partikel members Duncan Eagles and Eric Ford it was refreshing to see the languid bassman blossom in the limelight.

David Horden - Perfect Day
There is always one performer who takes you by surprise because of their theatre craft and David Horden was the man. The Sylvia Young training never leaves you and the murmur in the crowd was that Horden was a child star of Milky Bar Kid fame. These rumours remain unconfirmed but his performance of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' was strong and tough, we all suspected there was something stronger than milk in his glass.

Matthew Cox -
Not Unusual
Matthew Cox got the second set off to a swinging start with Tom Jones' 'Not Unusual'. Credit must go to the night's supporting band of Paul Jordanous (Keys), Holley Gray (Bass), Ross Ewart (guitar) and Joel Prime (drums) who sprinkled glitterdust on proceedings as though we listened in Las Vegas rather than the corner of Albert and London roads.

Sam Leak - My Way
That Vegas style still lingered in the air as Sam Leak took to the stage, the man that has been the hot favourite for the Bandeokee laurels every year since its conception. Leak resplendent in dinner jacket and with glass of whiskey in hand looked every inch the Rat Pack star. With hair brushed forward he even had a Napoleonic air such was his regal demeanour. Class is permanent, form is temporary, he always does it His Way, with panache.

Eric Guy is Tina Turner
The only man I have ever witnessed who could channel his inner Turner sang 'Simply the best'. Yes it was more JMW Turner than the Tina variety but still there was an authenticity and crowd pleasing edge that propelled Eric Guy into the higher echelons of Bandeokee. His inner woman ran rampant with such estrogen fuelled zeal that he also adopted the persona of Conchita Wurst too, although with slightly broader shoulders.

George Bone
Summer of 69
Two performers passed me by while refilling my glass but I was back in the saddle for George Bone's 'Summer of '69' which he shot from the hip like an ejaculating cowboy. Bone is your man in a gunfight such as this, never underestimate his denim demeanour.

Jonathan Lewis
is Billy Ocean
Expectations were high for last years hero Jonathan Lewis but he couldn't quite live up to his winning performance of 'Delilah'. 'When the going gets tough' was far too effete for a man of his alpha male status.

Holley Gray
Holley Gray proved he is the Beckham to Helen Mayson's Posh Spice, for they are the golden couple of Bandeokee. It was the high pitch of Beckham's voice which Gray emulated rather than the pitch of turf dreams.

The much maligned Leo Appleyard has at last found his oeuvre, his grunge groan of Nickleback's 'How you remind me' luckily didn't bring back the memory of past years but may thrust him to fame as the Cobain of Suburbia.

Leo Appleyard
We were treated to a grand finale with Paul Jordanous' 'Never gonna give you up'  followed by Jon Bird's heartfelt version of Harry Nilsson's 'Without You'. Bird gets better with age like a good wine but he may just need a few more years to reach the full maturity of a Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 rather than his Chateau Vimto of previous years. 2015 was a fine vintage and Piers Green proved that hitting the high notes may be the start of a new career as a eunuch as well as Bandeokee champion.

Jon Bird is Harry Nilsson

Ross Ewart

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