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!
As part of the ‘Olympics celebrations’ (don’t get me started), Waltham Forest are holding The Big 6 – six free events put on for residents of the borough. There has already been Winter Wonderland and fireworks for New Year, neither of which were of mch interest to us.
Party On The Pitch was a pop concert, free to all residents, with tickets allocated by lottery. I thought The Girl might like it (being 12 and all that), so applied for tickets early on. I have to admit, as the acts were annonced, my internal raver kept dying a little inside – Alexandra Burke, The Saturday, Scouting for Girls and finally Cover Drive.
I didn’t get tickets originally, but a friend did and ‘donated’ his to us (as he was off to watch West Ham) which gained us entry to the Gallery and free drinks and nibbles — which certainly cheered my mood up (It was nice to jump the long queues afetr we got off the bus too!)
I have to say, from our vantage point, the crowd seemed a little sparse, which was disappointing, as people shouldn’t really apply for these tickets if they have no intention of showing up – a good, solid crowd certainly adds to any artist’s performance!
I missed who the ‘compere’ for the day was, but I have to say, he was actually really good for the family-friendly audience. Just the right amount of cheese and forced jollity without being too over the top.
First on stage was local girl, Mizz Camara – at just 15 she can play 6 instruments apparently, and although she only sang two songs (and played the trumpet too!) she had a very strong voice and is certainly someone to watch for the future – yay for homgrown talent
Next up were Bajan group Cover Drive, who I had never heard of, but The Girl seemed to know most of their songs and hapily sang along and danced. They weren’t too bad at all – easy listening, a bit souly, but what impressed me most was the amazing midriff of the lead singer – my God she was totally ripped! Anyway, The Girl would now like their album, and I have no issues with that at all.
We were then entertained by Kaleidisco, a rather odd five-piece act from Ibiza. They consisted of a guy on bongos/drums, a girl on saxophone, a couple of neon-clad dancers, seemingly improvising to the backdrop of dance tracks spun by their DJ. A rather odd choice for the venue, I must say. However, I can imagine that they are qite effective in-situ in a proper club.
Then came what I was dreading most, and unfortunately my fears were completely with reason. The Saturdays were down to four (apparently they’re usually five) as one of them has just had a baby. They looked very good – all jewelled corsets, hot pants or short skirts and high high heels, perfectly made-up and coiffed.
I didn’t know any of their songs, but that hadn’t really made a difference with the first two acts. They really weren’t my kind of thing obviously, but personally, I don’t really think that they ‘brought it’. They seemed very much to be going through the motions, with no real stage presence, chemistry or character. I guess all I have in my mind to compare them to is Girls Aloud or The Spice Girls, and although I’ve not seen either of them live, I have seen clips of shows etc, and The Saturdays were nowhere near the same league.
In fact, well before the end of their set, The Girl said she should probably go to the loo as we knew Unity UK were going to be on at some stage, and she was worried they would be straight after The Saturdays and we’d miss them!
She was right too – even though they only did a short piece, local dance group Unity UK were definitely the highlight for me. The Girl had wanted them to win Got To Dance – but they got pretty close! Do check out their audition if you haven’t seen them before.
Alexandra Burke was up next – and I at least recognised a couple of her songs, and The Girl was happily singing along, and dancing – as were a few of her friends that we bumped into…they had dance routines and everything (oh to be that age again!). She certainly seemed to have a LOT more stage presence than The Saturdays, and a pretty impressive voice too, which I wasn’t really expecting. She also had two VERY hot dancers, that got a whoop out of The Girl when they took their tops off. A whoops off of lots of women and girls actually (and a fair number of men).
Then was the longest wait of the day (which to be completely honest wasn’t that long a wait at all!) and then Scouting For Girls came on stage. At this point, I had managed to convince the steward that seeing as many people had just left (probably to get younger kids home and miss the rush), that there should be no problem with letting us onto the pitch where we managed to join one of my friends.
I have to say, I always thought Roy was quite cute, and the songs were always proper pop sing-a-longy type creations. Good for what they were meant to be, and as it was the end of a pretty nice day with The Girl behaving herself, and the band were obviously well up for it, it was quite easy to give into the pop-pressure and sing along to songs which I didn’t realise I knew the words to!
They were a good finale to a very nice free day.
I have just asked The Girl for a quick review: The highlight for her was also Scouting For Girls as it really made her want to dance around, low point was not being allowed onto the pitch until right near the end. She also loved singing along to Halleluljah and other songs with Alexandra Burke.
Now, I am especially looking forward to Urban Classic which I have managed to get tickets for. Far more my kind of thing!
Just for balance, I bumped into the infamous Walthamstow Scene whilst there, and you should read his writeup too, as I think he has very different opinions to my own