Jam Tarts: Tart Attack – Live

1 Jul

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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.

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