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Review: Music Through the Decades at St Mary’s Centre

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this musical evening. The title made it sound a bit like maybe a programme of tired oldies Shawaddywaddy-style – but refreshingly this was no tired tribute act.

In fact this sharp young band of musicians sound fresh as a summer afternoon, their repertoire of modern classics re-making every number in their trip through the decades sound brand spanking new, even old favourites seeming as if heard for the first time, each discovery making you unsure whether it had sounded as special as this the first time out.

The undemonstrative cool of these assured young performers may at first tempt hearers to make allowances but trust me, these guys are good and their secret is quite simply talent allowing them to make forgotten tunes and even the most familiar treasures seem fresh all over again.

This is no tribute band but a genuine celebration of style. A five-piece of young guys, all expert musicians, plus a pair of glamorous gals redelivering in their own sophisticated way half a century’s worth of classics. What’s not to like?

A quintet of cool musicians make up the band – Tom Alderson on guitars and keyboards, Dan Anketell, guitars and viola, Lewis Heeley, bass guitar and double bass, and Ben Mott snappily on drums. Add in two very sophisticated backup vocalists Hattie Rumsey and Ellie Galvin and you’ve got the lot.

Or very nearly. Because even in this effortlessly cool outfit it’s charismatic frontman Chris Buckle on guitar and lead vocals who owns the show.

I won’t waste time on describing this young local star but if they don’t get him on in the West End, Hollywood or on prime time TV soon he’ll be too experienced. An effortlessly affable star, this charismatic performer, vocalist and MD wooed his audience like the theatrical maestro he truly is.

The evening was also my first chance to see how well the conversion of much-loved St Mary’s had fared in its transition to performing space and the answer is that the upstairs area is headily spacious, warmly inviting with excellent acoustics, a new theatrical gem in the centre of its ancient home.

That Lichfield’s newest performance space is in one of our oldest buildings brought up to modern standards by technical wizardry while retaining its marvellous atmosphere only added to the evening’s magic.

Pink Floyd’s elegiac and enigmatic Wish You Were Here poignantly ended this marvellously eclectic and carefully chosen celebration of popular songs from down the years, some familiar, some lovingly rediscovered.

A truly brilliant evening in a sensational setting from these delightfully young but already well-seasoned performers.

What’s not to like? More please, more.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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