So I had been hearing lots of good reports about this new local band "The CaddyFins" so I thought it was high time I went to see what all the fuss was about, and hence I found myself in the Ex-Serviceman's Club in Bicester last Friday to enjoy and review the gig.
The Ex-Serviceman's Club is a long standing and well known local venue and I have in fact performed there myself on a number of occasions so knew what to expect. It has improved considerably I feel of late, including an impressive new frontage which faces on to the Bicester's brand new town centre development, opposite the new Sports Direct store.
It hasn't always been the busiest of places in the past so I was impressed to see a considerably crowded room full of a mixture of all age ranges looking forward to the gig. Before the CaddyFins came on though, there was an extremely impressive support act, namely one Mr Mark "Sparky" Harding.
Mark is a man out of his time - he has a love of all things 1940's and enjoys dressing up and taking part in events celebrating happenings of that era. Had he been born a century ago it is easy to imagine him rubbing shoulders with other members of the "brat pack" and indeed it is from them that he derives his musical influence.
He gave us an hour of classic songs from Sinatra, Dean Martin, and other 50s and 60s stars such as Billy Fury, Del Shannon and of course, Elvis. He also threw in a few modern "Buble" versions for good measure. Despite a few initial teething problems with microphone feedback, soon resolved, he was on top form and the audience were loving it. This was no pensioners tea party - for all the oldies singing along there were plenty of youngsters enthusiastically getting into these great songs. Top notch stuff and the perfect support act to get the evening off with a swing.
|The Brat Pack - reborn in Bicester|
There was a very nice moment mid-set where Mark invited his daughter Kayleigh, 20, on to stage with him to perform a duet of Michael Buble's version of "The Way You Look Tonight". Kayleigh has a truly beautiful singing voice and the two harmonised perfectly together. The "old man" must have been very proud. Those wanting more of Kayleigh would not have to wait long - she is a member of The CaddyFins.
Mark "Sparky" Harding will be performing next at The Jolly Post Boys, Oxford on 25th October and The Royal Oak at Tingewick on 1st November.
After a short break it was time for the main event of the evening as The CaddyFins took to the stage. If you knew nothing about them before the night, you would have been left in no doubt as to their musical influences. The backdrop behind the band was of one of those great old American 50s style cadillacs such as you would have seen in films such as Grease, and several of the band members took to the stage in Showaddywaddy style outfits - of which I understand the lead singer, Andy George has a considerable collection! The band warmed up with a cover of "Wipeout" to iron out any last minute technical issues, and then the main man himself took to the stage kicking straight in to a cover of Cliff Richard's "Move It".
The Showaddywaddy influence was also noticeable in the number of band members, eight in total, though not all were performing during every song. The CaddyFins comprise:
Andy George - Vocals and occasional Guitar Becky Sutherland - Backing Vocals and Tamborine Connie Taylor - Backing Vocals Kayleigh Harding - Keyboard and Backing Vocals Tom Marrs - Drums Jacob Moyse - Lead Guitar Tony Pearson - Rhythm Guitar Chris Carroll - Bass Guitar, Percussion and Backing Vocals
|From left to right, Chris, Andy, Becky and Connie|
Although performing hits from the same era as the support act, this was less easy listening and more pure rock 'n' roll. Over the next hour and a half we heard classics from Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, and the Beach Boys. And there was even time to slip a modern song in, a cover of "Same Jeans" by The View. When Andy took a break (a much deserved one with the amount of energy he was expending in his performance under the heat of the lights and the heavy costume), the girls took centre stage for an impressive performance of "Stupid Cupid".
|Chris & Andy, with keyboard player, Kayleigh on backing vocals.|
The Ex-Serviceman's club has never been so lively, with young and old alike dancing in front of the stage and in the aisles. The set built to a final medley of Showaddywaddy classics and finishing off with a rousing rendition of Twist and Shout to a standing ovation.
I understand that the venue were so pleased that they have already been invited back for another gig at Christmas and that various other gigs are lined up across Oxfordshire in the near future - check out their facebook page for details.
All in all, a fantastic night and it's really fantastic to see these old songs given a new lease of life and being enjoyed by young and old alike.
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