Tuesday, 17 February 2009


This pleasingly unwieldy group of 11 multi instrumentalists first caught my attention at the Beeb's out door Folk Day last summer. Don't be put off by the 'folk' tag though; Bellowhead are far more versatile than that, as was much in evidence at their lively showcase at the QEH on Saturday. Jumping (sometimes quite literally) from sea shanties to music hall, Kurt Weill and then jazz (with the help of a stripper), Bellowhead demonstrated why they are one of the most engaging and good humoured ensembles around. Think of Loose Tubes, The Bonzo Dog Band and The Albion Band all in one and you've kind of got it. And if you're old enough to remember who those groups were, good!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Richard Rodney Bennett/Pizza on the Park

Richard Rodney Bennett and singer Claire Martin have been co-hosting evenings of show tunes, cabaret music, standards etc at Pizza on the Park for several years now. Softer, more refined and middle aged than its sister venue on Dean Street, Pizza on the Park is as good a place as any to experience the exquisite and startlingly intimate songs that Martin and RRB have a knack of unearthing. Last night they rummaged through Cy Coleman's back catalogue spurning some of his best known tunes in favour of those that had fallen by the way side, usually from musicals that never quite made it on Broadway. Total gems, particularly the one with lyrics penned by Coleman himself. As RRB pointed out, it was only when he discovered the importance of words that he really felt he had come of age as a song writer - 'it's not just about the chords'..