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Costa Acoustic Evening @ The Lights Saturday 14th September 2013

One Last Thrill                                                      Connor Fealy - 3's a Crowd

I arrived at The Lights at seven o’clock on Saturday evening not really knowing what to expect. I had never attended a Costa Acoustic evening before so I wasn’t aware of the format it usually takes. I was flying solo that evening so, as you can imagine, I was a little apprehensive as to whether I would know anyone or feel uncomfortable being on my own. As soon as I arrived I knew I had nothing to worry about. I felt at ease almost instantly because the atmosphere was so informal and relaxed. There were people sitting on the floor as all of the seats had been taken so I found myself a little spot just in front of the stage as I thought I could capture the most action there! I did feel a little critical sat there with my notepad and pen scribbling down notes, the talented subjects of my commentary occasionally glancing over and suddenly feeling very aware of my presence! This of course was not my intention.

Compare for the evening was Louis Sellers of Anton Road Studios and Drummer for In Darklight. Louis did a wonderful job of making the audience feel at ease. He was very complimentary of all the bands to come. Louis is an extremely talented musician and producer himself so any compliment from him and you know you’re in the right place!

Local bands featuring on the night were 3’s A Crowd, Bertie Chattell, Chasing Daisies, One Last Thrill, Talking To Amy and In Darklight. The music was varied throughout and The Lights Arena was the perfect venue for it. In the past, the Costa Acoustic events have been held in the coffee shop itself. When going from a very intimate setting like this to a bigger auditorium there is often a worry that the feeling of intimacy might be lost. This was not the case. The music was not lost in the slightest and the audience were very attentive.

 

Joshua Yard & Kai Marsh of 3's a Crowd

Each band exhibited their own skills and styles. Some played original sets and some played covers. The covers, however, were arranged so creatively it gave each band an original feel. For Example, Chasing Daisies version of Valerie was much slower and sweeter than both other versions and, actually, I thought it was better! “Controversial,” I hear you say! In a similar vein, 3’s A Crowd played a really nice rendition of Yellow. It maintained the power of the original but also added an element of gentleness thanks to the Cajon and acoustic line up.

Chasing Daisies

Bertie Chattell played some really tasteful covers and developed a humorous rapport with the audience. Talking to Amy played a great set showing off the talent of each of the members. Max Gifford from Talking To Amy also accompanied Chasing Daisies in their set. One Last Thrill were fantastic and I was amazed by the singer, Steph Whitehead. She wowed the crowd with her beautiful, smooth and powerful voice. Ben Sellers, frontman for In Darklight, played a beautiful solo performance which went down a storm. In Darklight always put on a top quality performance and they were the perfect choice as a supporting act for the evening’s headliner, Toploader.

 

 

 Bertie Chattell

It was clear that all of the bands who appeared had a very admirable and professional approach. Each person had really thought about their appearance and performance, taking the whole thing very seriously.

 One Last Thrill

Toploader, who were particularly famous in the late nineties up to around 2002, were the headlining act for the evening. The set performed by Dan Hipgrove and Joe Washbourn was the final in what proved to be a very successful night. 

More than 400 people whose ages must have ranged from less than 16 to 60 were tapping their feet and dancing to songs old and new. I must admit I did not know many of the tunes bar the top twenty hit single ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’, but there were plenty of fans singing and it was a great atmosphere.

Frontman Joseph Washbourn was full of energy with a sense of humour, keeping the crowds laughing in between songs and in particular made one fan very happy by playing two of his requests.

The only disappointment of the night was the encore, or lack thereof. With a room full of people chanting ‘more, more’, I expected a repeat of the classic hit that had everyone dancing earlier in the night. But we stood, waited, and the house lights came up.

Although the headlining act played a great set, I went to the evening purely to soak up the local talent and I have to say we are not short of it here in our little town. The supporting bands were so well chosen for this event and it was they who made it what it was for me. I plan to attend many more Costa events in the future and I would certainly recommend it for an interesting, diverse and thoroughly enjoyable evening.