Thursday, June 25, 2009

Colchester Mercury

this piece also appeared as an Essex Chronicle Reader Review[!] this byline revived after all these years ...

Four strings good, six strings bad. That’s the mantra of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britian, who played a sell-out gig in Colchester ahead of a German tour and a late-night BBC Prom in August.

Hardly an orchestra, though this was a big sound, helped by some nifty mixing. Just seven musicians this time out, each with a different “bonsai guitar”.

Their musicianship is amazing. Jonty, on bass, whistled through Bach’s Badinerie, we heard a jaunty Dambusters March, an amazing a capella Pinball Wizard, and several perverse arrangements, including The Sex Pistols as the Spinners might have covered them. Cecil Sharp was royally Shafted, and the Ukes treated us to two of their “simultaneous segue” medleys – Fly Me To The Moon, Theme From "Love Story", Killing Me Softly, Hotel California, I Will Survive over a common chord sequence.

But what really makes their concerts a joy is the self-deprecating

dead-pan wit behind everything they do, from Dave with his “stage presents” to daddy of them all George Hinchcliffe, who looks as if he might be a loss adjuster or a benign gynaecologist. Until he sings Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights …

Their last gasp at the Mercury was an unbelievable arrangement of that erotic hit from the decadent 60s – Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus.

1 comment:

Mary Redman said...

Judging by the You Tube extract the Ukes' version of Heathcliff was superbly swinging. Much better than the original and you could make out all the words.
They are fabulous entertainers and I recommended them to Chelmsford Civic Theatre some years ago but nothing happened.
See them also at the Proms this year.

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