REDS. BUTLINS MINEHEAD
12TH OCTOBER 2016
Producers John and Diana Mills
JMA staged their 2016 showcase offering at the iconic Reds venue, in front of their many clients. Compere Steve Walls, whose talent and excellent link work can never be underestimated, kept everything going along swimmingly during a hugely enjoyable and business-like showcase evening in Somerset.
First act out on stage were a smart and personable boy girl act, who go by the name of Traveller. Songs from Deacon Blue and Beautiful South were delivered with ease. I would imagine Traveller do their best work in front of club crowds, or at functions. However, I can also see them entertaining holiday centre guests, in family rooms, with slightly more modern material.
A girl on the fiddle came next. Nina Garcia sings very well, but it is the fiddle aspect which will make her saleable, outside the narrow career furrow that Ms Garcia may find herself ploughing, if she was simply a vocalist. Nina Garcia really took my eye and I know I was far from alone.
Next came four soulful male singers, known collectively as Princes of Motown. If the creases in their trousers had been as sharp as their choreography, there would have been a marked improvement in the all-round impression these guys made. In presentational terms, little things which are overlooked, can sometimes mean such a lot.
Together Forever is in point of fact a solo tribute to 80’s pop star Rick Astley. As ever in tribute-land, success will be dependent on demand. Did Mr Astley have enough hits to fill a set? Apparently he enjoyed chart success with many songs. I’m afraid I can only bring a couple readily to mind and I bet most people wouldn’t fare any better, when trying to mentally rake up Mr Astley’s back catalogue of hits. The other rather more obvious problem for this gentleman is that, in my view, he sounds absolutely nothing like Rick Astley!
‘Is it a bird-is it a plane? No! it’s The Supergirl’s! Here we have a three girl act, who cover exclusively all girl group material. Being relevant to the needs of many areas of the industry, and a quality act to boot, Supergirls look pretty super to me. The holiday parks will undoubtedly lap up this bevvy of Londoners.
Comedian Dean Keating is sheer quality. My first look at this winsome gag man revealed what I firmly believe to be quite a comedic find. With the look of an adaptable and versatile stand-up, Dean Keating comes up trumps in any live situation. Successful young mainstream comedians are few and far between and it would be a treat to see Mr Keating work a more adults only orientated audience.
Devious is the name of a five- piece commercial rock band. With a spooky Beelzebub character on bass guitar and a dead ringer for ‘The Edge’, of U2 fame on lead guitar, this band certainly know how to set the mood. Their brilliant front man certainly delivers in high energy fashion. In short, Devious are an extremely bookable band attraction and a must for any party or function.
The assembled throng then enjoyed a much needed interval and comfort break, during which time the Butlins ‘techie crew’, did their stuff at breakneck speed.
Kicking off the second half was The Golden Eagles. Here we have two men, one on guitar and the other making a token attempt on keyboards. Not great singers, by any stretch, these Eagles lovers, dived inexplicably into a Queen song. I certainly couldn’t discern the direction of their pitch so, probably best to leave it there.
Things looked up immeasurably as Retro Electro arrived on stage. This is a live five-piece band, playing an homage to the 80’s. The four musicians and front man singer were joined by a robotic dancer and memories of Duran Duran and others were evoked with style and the correct dose of elan, especially whilst covering superbly the Depeche Mode seldom heard classic, New Life.
I saw bright young magician Jamie Docherty recently at The Curtains Up event in Southend. One or two errors present in the performance at Curtains Up had clearly been rectified and this was a flawlessly presented performance. Fun with a giant balloon and other trickery combined to produce the most favourable of impressions, making Jamie Docherty a name to remember.
As was the case with Mr Docherty before, I saw The Take That Experience at the recent Curtains Up event, which is also featured in this issue. Delivering an identical performance to their Southend showing, I can only refer readers to their review in the Curtains Up coverage in this issue.
Closing the show out was an act we saw earlier, as Princes of Motown. Reappearing as Princes of Pop, these four tuneful guys revealed another string to their musical bow.
All in all, this was yet another fabulous night for all at JMA, in front of their clients and of course the famous redcoats. For Steve Walls, driving back to Liverpool that same night and myself driving up to God’s own County of Yorkshire, this was a long day, but an extremely enjoyable one nonetheless.