Archive | July, 2013

Jam Tarts: Tart Attack – Live

1 Jul


The Old Market, Hove: Friday, June 21, 2013

Brighton’s Jam Tarts are a sonic sugar rush for those who crave mass harmonies, but want them free of sickly religious sentiment or the saccharine emotions of West End stage shows.

In their first show of the year, the 55-strong ensemble soared and swooned through 21 of choir leader Li Mills’ inimitable interpretations of songs by artists as diverse as Billy Bragg, Nirvana, Beyoncé and Nick Cave.

After a nervy start with The Teardrop Explodes’ Reward and Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know, they struck gold with their first ever outing of Echo & The Bunnymen’s Silver – a version so joyous that it would make notorious curmudgeon Ian McCulloch throw off his Parka and swing from a chandelier.

The Tarts’ appeal lies in the fact they are not simply 55 people singing en masse; instead they perform cleverly constructed pieces that spectacularly reveal their depth and range.

No more so was this evident than on a genuinely spine-tingling version of Bat For Lashes’ Laura which then seamlessly segued into Bowie’s Changes.

Musically, the Tarts were bang on the money, but it was never at the expense of a giggle or a good time, as a clever and comical finale of O Fortuna showed.

Bearing in mind their name, it’s no surprise this lot are decidedly moreish.


Comedy review: Henning Wehn – Live

1 Jul


Bexhill De la Warr Pavilion: Saturday, June 8, 2013

Somewhat appropriately for a comic who delivers an act in his second language, there are very much two sides to Henning Wehn’s “rallies”.

Having honed his persona over the last 12 years in the rough and tumble of the comedy club circuit, it’s no surprise he can freely wheel out a steady stream of German puns, war references and sarcastic comments about British tardiness with supreme efficiency during the full-throttle opening half.

So while the assertion that the Germans don’t have a stereotype for the British “because you aren’t important enough”, a rousing condemnation of the “lazy Greeks” for needing German bailouts and his conclusion that he knew he’d been assimilated to life in the UK when “having a laugh outweighed logic” successfully mocked the audience and himself – it was the second half airing of his Henning Knows Bestest show that raised the bar by supremely shattering the stereotypes he’d cleverly teed up.

Aside from lampooning the British-German relationship with wide-eyed innocence and sharp observational insights, Wehn also swiftly dismissed the debate around Scottish Independence with withering accuracy, ruthlessly tore apart those people who raise money for charity by growing facial hair and brilliantly belittled the bizarre political correctness that dictates what uniforms are acceptable at Second World War re-enactments.

Like his homeland’s economy, Wehn’s comedy stock is in rude health.

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