Saturday, 4 October 2008

Boogie Nights @ the Oxford Arms, Newcastle-under-Lyme. October 2nd.

Review by Steve Dean

Photos by Leo Mazzocchio

Although it wouldn’t normally occur to Stoke Sounds to review a covers band such as the well-established Boogie Nights, finding myself at one of their gigs, I was much impressed with their practically spot-on versions of favourites from the 1970s disco scene. As I was only very occasionally found in a discotheque in what was essentially the years of my heavy rock youth, the appeal of these tunes is essentially timeless and I found I appreciated them more now than I did when they were first released. Mellowing with age, I suppose.

One of two excellent vocalists, Melodie Forrester showed herself to be an extremely accomplished singer, having the range to handle songs like ‘Wishing on a Star’ with ease. At the other end of the scale, her bluesy wailing during ‘Lady Marmalade’ put me in mind of celebrated old time band singers of the quality of Anne Shelton. The standard of musicianship was very high all round, in fact. The keyboards and guitar more than adequately handling the often complex arrangements of these numbers while the bass and drums rhythm section couldn’t be faulted.

Adding further to the spirit of the 70s by wearing garb synonymous with the day; namely aerofoil collars and absurdly high waistbands, they set the scene for a thoroughly entertaining and nostalgic evening (although I can’t recall anybody in those times, with the possible exception of Slade, wearing platform-soled boots quite as high as vocalist Ian Pemberton’s 12”-heeled pair. His wig has to be seen to be believed too).

Beginning with KC & the Sunshine Band’s ‘That’s the Way I like it’, the band went from classic to classic, with tracks from the likes of Chic, Donna Summer and James Brown, and finally giving two encores in the form of the Doobie Brothers’ ‘Long Train Running’ and B-52s ‘Love Shack’.

Loudly appreciated by the audience, they left the stage to joyful applause. A different evening from the norm for me, and an enjoyable one at that.

Visit: Boogie Nights

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