Venue: MADCAP, Wolverton
Acts: Frantic UK, Sushi, Raw Pride, Neil Beardmore, Baron Makabre, Faceless Joker, Joshua Timmins
I dunno if reviews of the legendary Evenings Of Diverse Entertainment at MADCAP would usually qualify for inclusion here in The Dudebox – the Diverseness is supposed to encompass Theatre, Poetry, Film and Anything Else Anyone Can Think Of (e.g. Omelette Cookery) – but this one for some reason contained bands and bands only. And I do mean bands only. Inexplicably* there was virtually no audience to speak of, so the evening consisted of each band playing their set to the watching waiting other bands. Almost like a great big communal rehearsal, or a Jools Holland programme. So into The Dudebox it shall fall. ;-)
Frantic UK aren’t really a band, I suppose – more an “urban dance troupe” – but they kicked things off with a compelling mix of high energy breakdancing and shape-throwing routines. As they grabbed volunteers from the audience (including our mate Thomas!) to learn some moves, I whispered to Tony “this is what MADCAP is all about!”
So the first band band up were Sushi, an act extremely close to the heart of The Dudebox. I think Phil would admit himself (and he did!) that this was a hit-and-miss set from him and Breakdancing Thomas. The more songs they do as an electric-guitar-and-bass duo, the more you think as an observer “hmm… this could probably do with some drums, dude”. But the songs themselves are cool, from classic “oh yeah, alright” number “Party” to the newer songs which hint at a slightly different direction for Sushi. Watch this space, here comes the Summer! ;-)
Raw Pride are fast becoming one of our favourite MK acts – in fact Simon and I had been talking about them in the pub only that afternoon. Their set at MADCAP was a different vibe again from their Sunset Lounge or Lupus Aid appearances. Two rappers and a turntable were joined by a dude on funkeh bass and a dude on guitar, so the general result was more rap-rocky than their usual sound. They seem to be able to turn their hand to anything – and they’re jolly nice blokes too! ;-)
At least the evening was able to conjure up Diversity in the types of music, though. Neil Beardmore’s bluesy lounge act, all bright red boots and Hammondy organ sounds, is quite a distance from Raw Pride. And to have that followed by the standard Baron Makabre set of unsettling “um...is-it-comedy?” voodoo rock? Well… it’s certainly not yer standard Band Night, anyway.
The biggest noise of the evening came from a five-piece band of young lads who’d been very patiently (well, most of them!) been waiting at the back of the room for their turn. Faceless Joker served up relatively standard grungey rock, but were still interesting, clearly very tight - and went down well with what audience there was left by that point. Phil talked to them later and apparently they’re splitting up soon to go to University. Ah, the ways of the world. I have been there, brothers. They did a song about “the greyness of things”. I have been there too. Good stuff.
But one of the nicest surprises of the night came with the final act – cheeky-faced hat-wearing acoustic boy Joshua Timmins. I can’t believe a) he’s only fifteen, but more importantly b) this was only his second ever gig. His big-hearted campfire singy-songwritering put a smile on everyone’s faces – and you have to have something special about you to be able to cover “What A Wonderful World” and get away with it. I bought a copy of his CD for £2, apparently only recorded that afternoon. Chap! Definitely one to watch.
And so against all the odds a good night, despite the low turn-out. Definitely worth clicking on their various MySpace links and checking them out. Local talent. Go on. Go on. Go on.
* Doctor Who had already finished!