Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
There was a bit of glamour and some real show business pizzazz with the opening attraction, A Broadway Spectacular. For those who have never experienced a real, live songs from the shows show, this is just the ticket. The pitch is very much that of a touring attraction and the choreography was well thought out, I would imagine, in order that this show can fit onto most decent sized stages. When a show in a box style attraction is done this well, the business just has to be huge.
Next came smooth and soulful singer Nick James, who opened with a niftily sung Stevie Wonder song. Lots of power in the vocal delivery here, despite the presence of a heavy cold. Artistes like this are always very saleable from an agent’s point of view.
Reviewing the next act on stage proved problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, the artiste in question was simply known as ‘Angie’, and there are many Angie’s out there. Most of all, the content of the act makes a review difficult. Angie informed us that she had thrown nail varnish over her stage clothes, so her garb was somewhat thrown together at the last minute. The act seems to consist of running all over the room singing a variety of songs very loudly. However, Angie was clearly having a great time!
In the stage name department, I have also seen a number of Lee Anthony’s. This particular artiste is a tall and handsome singer with a well-pitched voice. I would imagine he does his best work in a social club situation, where his line in crowd approach will no doubt be best appreciated.
Latina Diva is a quite superbly presented three girl act, with a J-Lo lookalike out front on lead vocals and two well-drilled latino-style dancers on stage with her. Energy and verve here from great dancers, who are sure to attract interest galore.
Renowned singing star Mark Allen is already well-known and widely admired. Here he gave us his eighties genre tribute, which features heavily the music of the resurgent Rick Astley. Whatever Mr Allen turns his hand to, is sure to be well sung and thoroughly thought out. In short, here is another stand-out performer.
I was Compere at an outdoor festival last summer where singer Michelle Lawson was on the bill, so I have seen her work close up. I nicknamed her ‘Awesome Lawson’. This is exactly the type of British artiste who should be an enormous star, without having to resort to the talent show circus lottery. Michelle Lawson is one of my current favourite UK singers, who have somehow remained undiscovered. Her voice and talent reaches awesome proportions.
Kaylie’s Country Girls came next and here we saw and heard a singer and two dancers, who cater for those who like a bit of hot-diggetty dawg with their music. Well- rehearsed and extremely bookable, I will imagine there will be work aplenty for an act like this.
On an evening of outstanding female voices, we then had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Jennifer Ball. The massive reaction from the tough showcase audience said it all. Ms Ball sounded in a rush, which was probably down to the jangling of nerves. The vocal range sounded virtually endless and with so much light and shade within her ear and larynx, I hope this stand-out young artiste is looking after her amazing voice.
Next came a stand-out three-piece band by the name of The Glen Leon Band. In an exceptionally strong showcase session, this band certainly provided one of the main highlights. This is a very solid working band, who will no doubt continue to busy, after this impressive showcase outing.
Re-Abba are a two girl Abba tribute, who were both carefully costumed and highly professional. The overall impression was of performers who probably have many strings to their collective bow. Re-Abba should receive lots of enquiries.
Cherelle is the name of a gorgeous singer, who sounds as good as she looks and received a warm showcase reception. A Whitney Houston tribute, plus a mixed and more eclectic set are both on offer from this top-drawer artiste.
Soloasis is the name of a solo tribute to the music of Oasis and in particular Liam Gallagher (the one with the hat and the aggression). As ever in the tribute market, success will be dependent on demand and, I hope I am wrong when I opine that I don’t envisage much demand for this type of act.
In an evening of full-on female vocal talent, it was the turn of Lauren Faye Moss to wow the late- night showcase crowd, with her opening song, I Dreamed a Dream, from Les Miserable. The dress Miss Moss chose to wear was as stunning and distinctive as her mode of vocal delivery. This really is a glittering talent and I happen to know that her diary is full of quality work and recording credits, including a recent collaboration with the great Donny Osmond no less!
I saw singer Lee Brady not too long ago, when he was performing an Olly Murs tribute show. As is often the case with great singers who perform tributes, presumably for the money, Mr Brady is much better as himself. An exceptional singer with an almost endless range, Lee Brady also possesses individual charisma and, without taking himself too seriously, Lee Brady is an outstanding artiste in every department.
I saw The Livertones very recently. On the night in Blackpool, these guys only underlined their quirky delivery and sheer verve, as they took us through a journey through the field of vocal harmony. I just love this act!
Next came singer Carolynn May, who delivered her splendid tribute to Shirley Bassey, in front of an admiring late-night showcase audience. Miss May knows her business and could probably give lessons in vocal production and microphone technique. This was yet another quality set, in an evening chock-a-full of quality.
Closing out one of the strongest showcase sessions it has ever been my pleasure to write a review on was Lisa Stanley’s Big Country Band. In all honesty, it took the sound engineer a while to get to grips with this five-piece line-up. Once into their stride we saw a niche band attraction, who should find favour within the country music market. It is now over to my friend and colleague Johnny Tait to write about tribute acts, appearing during session five.
This is the only showcase I have ever attended with an encore. Providing it was Viva resident singer Rhys Oliver, who gave us a well-turned song or two, which sent the late-night audience on their way.
Experts Choice. Julie Butcher of Parkdean Holidays chose The Livertones & Jennifer Ball.
Simon Quarmby of SQ-Live chose Michelle Lawson & Jennifer Ball