On this special celebration of their fourth birthday at South Street Arts Centre, Readiophonics, resplendent in cobalt blue and led by the sassy Sarah Sharp, Musical Director, welcomed us with a warmly soulful beep bop medley, Tonight… is going to be a good, good night.
And so it was, as they teased us into Song No. 2 (no cheating!) with tantalizing bass harmonics and insistent beat box into… Superstition! (smooth vocals by Liz Aitken). Next was the reflective Roaring Twenties, which built into a clamorous foot tapping Tiller Girls routine. Midnight Hour gave us velvety vocals against lush layers of Tamla Motown chorus counterpoint, contrasting with the poignant and soulfully soaring Crazy. Jason ‘Ringo’ Fox, who gave the groove to practically every vocal number, mesmerised us with his punchily percussive and physical beatbox solo. This was followed by the provocative Tilted, with its piping soprano overlay, interspersed with playful French rap – bon boulot Shane! The first half culminated in the joyous and upbeat Like a Prayer with its infectious snappy clappy routine.
Refreshed, the Readiophonics zapped back on stage for the second half with a powerhouse performance of Hold Back the River, with compelling beatbox rhythm and real gospel feel. The searingly beautiful Say Something with honeyed harmonies followed, the mood then calming into the soul-searching High and Dry (sung with moving simplicity by Nick Keane). The theme of love and loss continued with the tender Hide and Seek, ‘crop circles in the carpet’.
Then true love prevailed, yay! Dipesh, the incurable romantic who proposed to his lady love in the Global Cafe, singing You’re Still the One, backed by our very own ‘Cupid’s dart’ Readiophonics (fortunately the response was in the affirmative), to the audience’s rapturous delight, did a reprise! I, for one, had a lump in my throat as he sang, dulcet-toned and adoringly, to his lovely new bride…
A romantic antidote Bad Romance followed, performed with considerable humour and va va verve (a noticeably mischievous male chorus). And all too soon it was the finale (if you cheer loudly enough we may do one more) and we were on our feet, mingling our vocals with the multi-layered harmonies of the rousing One Day like/Hey Jude.
Thank you Readiophonics for dispelling the grey gloom of this stormy Saturday and for bringing us joy, music… and much more.