Last week, Waltham Forest council put on another concert as part of The Big 6, as a ‘celebration’ of being an official Olympic borough.
You may remember my trip to Party On The Pitch – this again was a free concert with a random ticket ballot. Unlike Party On The Pitch, I think this was absolutely fantastic.
I have to say, it probably helped in some way that the weather on the evening of July 5th was gorgeous – an unexpected occurance considering the weather this summer. The crowd was also extremely varied.
Urban Classic is a real musical mash-up – the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing with urban hip-hop artists. It had its first outing in 2006 to much acclaim and earlier this year it apparently had a very successful run at the Barbican (which somehow passed me by – shocking for a Barbican member, as this is right up my street!).
Luckily, last week it literally WAS right up my street, taking place in the Chestnuts Showground behind the iconic Walthamstow Town Hall. There were loads of food stalls and I had a gorgeous chorizo, red pepper and rocket roll No alcohol though, and no food or alcohol allowed onto the site. they even nicked my hairspray which was a brand new can and I hadn’t taken out as I’d come straight from work Boo!
There was a great atmosphere with everyone happy to be out somewhere being entertained for free in the sunshine. There was such a mix, as you can expect, with loads of kids down the front cheering and shouting, unable to contain their excitement for seeing Fazer (from N-Dubz), Skepta, Devlin and Ms Dynamite (who I had actually heard of!) and then others (the oldies, like me) who were looking forward to the 85-strong orchestra (although personally it was the whole mash-up that appeals to me personally!) and (like me) had brought along their foldy chairs
First of all there was a rather random DJ, who, although enthusiastic, unfortunately came across as a kind of local radio DJ with an over-abundance of sound effects, he was particularly fond of a breaking glass one, which after a while we found really amusing. he even houted “SHABBA!!” a couple of times. I can’t believe that he was cool even to the yoof, but bless him, he got the party started.
The orchestra kicked it all off with Jules Buckley conducting and then were joined by each of the artists in turn – I even got to sing “Ms Dynamite-ee-hee” which is the only part I actually knew from any of the tracks (I am SO old)…but it was all amazing…I loved every single second.
At one stage, Fazer was joined by Ed Drewett for their cover of Englishman In New York, which was really good, but this was totally blown away when Ed Sheeran joined Devlin (I think they’ve collaborated many times) for their cover of All Along The Watchtower that is being released as a single. I hate to say it, as the original really IS a classic, but I loved it a hell of a lot more than I should’ve done.
Here’s my vid of that part:
There was an unexpected firework show to end things, and we all went away feeling thoroughly entertained and extremely happy. this was a total success, as I said it was so much better than Party On The Pitch, and I think appealed so much more to the diverse population of the borough. I hope there’s the opportunity for more things like that – I would be willing to pay to see such a brilliant show on my doorstep!
I am so behind on my blog – I have been suffering from VERY bad insomnia and other various run-downness lately that I just haven’t had my head together to formulate my posts!
Anyway – just under two weeks ago (ahem), I went along with a friend to see a youth orchestra playing at Cadogan Hall (where I recently saw Maz Jobrani).
The Orpheus Foundation offers a platform for young musicians to be part of a real performing orchestra, and play both free rehearsal and paid / fundraising concerts. The performance that we went along to was one of the more fun ones as they were playing themes from TV and music – kind of the ‘entry level orchestral experience’
The first half were classical pieces that happened to have been used in film:
- Camille Saint-Saens – Danse Macabre (Jonathan Creek) – I’ve awlays loved this one
- Giacomo Puccini – O mio babbino caro (A Room With A View)
- Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto #20 (Brief Encounter)
I loved Danse Macabre as ever, but unfortunately although i’m sure the other two peices were played very well, it just reiterated my previous feelings that piano concertos just aren’t really my ‘thing’. I love the piano – especially jazz etc – but personally pianos don’t tend to work for me as a focus in an orchestra as they detract so much from the gorgeous sound of the collective instruments.
Anyway, the second half was all scores composed for film – a real John Williams extravaganza. In fact, they actually began by playing the 20th Century Fox theme tune, which was amusing.
- Jurassic Park
- Schindler’s List
- Harry Potter
- Star Wars
- Indiana Jones
This half was the crowd-pleaser. We all knew and loved the tunes, and Indiana Jones in particular is hornily fantastic! (As in I love the horns, not anything else!).
I have never seen Schindler’s List, nor heard the theme. A violin soloist (Leonard Schreiber) came on to play it and it was SO haunting, and he was so amazing that I felt completely moved. Although some of the faces that he pulled during his performance did in fact make me feel that I’d just done the dity with him!
All in all, it was a fantastic night, and I would definitely like to see the orchestra perform again. especially as we started giving some of them nicknames. Not very imaginative nicknames admittedly – Spikey Heels, Giggles, Grumpy…
You probably by now realise that I’m a bit of a sucker for a big band or orchestra, so it will come as no surprise that I have always wanted to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra live – but have just never got around to it. Mainly because tickets to events that they have been at have been rather expensive, and because I have never managed to ‘win’a ticket to the Hootenanny, and have had to make do with just watching it on the TV every New Year!
So, you can imagine how excited I was when I spotted that he was doing a show for Radio 2 and quickly applied for (the obviously free) tickets. And I got them, just when I’d forgotten I’d applied!
I have a bad recent track record for not managing to get into show recordings (as they always oversubscribe to make sure they get a full audience), and so was taking no chances. I got ‘let out’ of work an hour early and made my way to the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House (where we had the very civilised protests for 6Music). As I went past on the bus, I was pretty dismayed to see how long the queue was already at 4.20, and even more upset that there was a burst water main and we sat in traffic for 15 minutes! But I got in. The process of actually getting in is rather long-winded and boring, but we were all seated in the gorgeous theatre about 10minutes before the live broadcast started at 6.
It really is a fantastic place to see live music as the sound is brilliant, and yet the audience isn’t very large – probably about 250 I reckon.
I was celeb-spotting as I walked in as I saw Tony Blackburn and Ken Bruce, but then I spotted Paul O’Grady – which was weird as this is the second time in six weeks that I’ve been in an audience with him. People will start talking
So, the band took their place, and Terry Wogan introduced Jools Holland – and he came out and did exactly what he does best – played the piano with such an effortless grace, awe-inspiring style and unbelievable speed that makes you think it can’t possibly be just one person playing it.
We were also treated to others (mainly Radio 2 presenters) ‘doing a turn’ with the orchestra – highlights were Clare Teal, who I had never heard of who had an absolutely amazing voice, the beautifully chocolate-voiced Huey Morgan who did his best Frank Sinatra bit, the amazing Ruby Turner, the (now very elderly) ska-legend (and one time Special) Rico Rodriguez and also Jamie Cullum, who have never really liked but who didn’t sound too bad with such a brilliant band. I reckon he could be the Jools Holland of the future when Jools Holland is too old to be Jools Holland – but he is nowhere near it now – watching the two of them play at the same time, you could see that Jools is all effortless and loose-handed and feels the music, whereas Jamie’s playing looks a little to measured and practiced. I guess time and experience may change that – and his voice has definitely changed a bit, it didn’t grate on me as much as it used to
You can hear the whole show on iPlayer for 7 days – and I strongly advise you do as it was fantastic!
It was the best hour I have had for free in ages! **UPDATE – They now have the whole show televised on the site for 29 days**
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Bumble Boogie (absolutely amazing piano-work)
- Clare Teal — I Just Wanna Make Love To You (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Love (lead vocals by Rico Rodriguez)
- Paul Jones — Remember Me (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra) (guy from Manfred Mann)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Endless Love (there was an AMAZING trumpet solo on this one!)
- Huey Morgan — Fly Me To The Moon (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — I Went By (lead vocals by Louise Marshall)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Father Time
- Nigel Ogden and Frank Renton — Honeysuckle Rose (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Roll Out Of This Hole
- Jamie Cullum — Hallelujah I Love Her So (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra)
- Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra — Get Away Jordan
- The Radio 2 All Star Band — Enjoy Yourself (featuring Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra) Lead vocals by Rico Rodriguez