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26 | March 20, 2014 | cambridge-news.co.uk | Cambridge News

The critical list: more hot tickets

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Music

Music

Hackney Colliery & Huey Morgan Steel Panther ᔡ Steel Panther plus The Cringe, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Saturday, March 22, at 7.30pm. SOLD OUT. IF you fancy a rowdy night of heavy metal shot through with hilarity and 80s posturing, Steel Panther are definitely for you. The cultish LA musicians quite possibly have the best names ever: there’s Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia, and together they parody the loudest, brashest hair metal from the era that brought you Cher in fishnets. Awesome, no? They are visiting Cambridge Corn Exchange with their Spreading The Disease (S.T.D.) tour (lovely), promoting new album All You Can Eat, which is out on April 1. First forming on the sunset strip in the early noughties, the four-piece changed their name from Metal Skool to Steel

Panther in 2008, and, while they might look like a bit of a joke, their last album, 2011’s Balls Out, was actually critically acclaimed and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Comedy Chart – so, there. Aerosmith’s haggard Steve Tyler has even gotten up on stage with them, as has Paul Stanley of Kiss, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and Green Day. Their lyrics are packed with nonfamily friendly swears and silliness, topped off with leather trousers and animal print bandannas. Sadly the gig has already sold out, but here’s hoping more tickets get released. On the night they’ll be joined by underground indie rockers, The Cringe.

Forming in East London in 2008, the Hackney Colliery Band is a nine-man team of brass players, with a knack for off-the-wall covers, ruffling the feathers of traditional jazz and starting a full-on party wherever they go. ELLA WALKER found out more from trumpet and melodica player Steve Pretty. How would you describe what you guys do? We like to think of ourselves as taking the New Orleans brass band aesthetic and filtering it through our British musical tastes, which are pretty diverse; hopefully sounding like a 21st century colliery band at a rave. At times we’re quite punky and free, sometimes we go for that tight hip-hop sound, but other times we try to have the warmth and depth of much more traditional brass music. While our main aim is to get people partying, we don’t just set off on one groove and sit on that all night, we like to mix it up, blending some seriously booty-shaking originals with what I think are often quite surprising cover choices. Do you feel you owe a lot to traditional British brass bands? Increasingly so, actually. Some of us have backgrounds playing in that kind of band, and there’s something really visceral and timeless about a lot of bits of twisted plumbing making a beautiful racket. Is touring just like one big

party? Does the fun ever get out of hand? Yes and no really. It’s certainly not all glamorous; the band room is as often a broom cupboard or corridor as it is a plush room full of premium booze. But yeah, there are worse ways of earning a living. One highlight was gigging for the opening of a great new club in Hamburg. We were looked after almost too well, with an apparently self-refilling fridge and an endless supply of fancy drinks from the bar. For some reason we spent about three hours singing happy birthday to everyone who came into the green room. It was one of those things that started out as pretty funny, then rapidly moved to being annoying (even for us), but then 1.5 hours in broke back through into being really funny. Oddly we’ve not yet been invited back . . . What do you think DJ Huey Morgan (of BBC Radio 6/Fun Lovin’ Criminals) will add to your Cambridge gig? Huey’s been a great supporter of ours, to the extent that when

we’ve been on his show it’s almost awkward as he’s singing our praises perhaps too much! He’s got really good taste (well, we would say that), and he’ll be pumping out some great tracks and getting the crowd nicely hyped for our set. What’s been your favourite collaboration to date? The moment Amy Winehouse joined us on stage was crazy. It was in the early days of the band while we were still finding our feet, but she was into the band and came down to check out a gig at the Jazz Cafe. I don’t think it was her, or our, best performance ever, but given what happened, it was particularly special. In an ideal world, who would you really love to collaborate with? Sufjan Stevens. His incredible magpie approach to musical genres and fusing catchy pop melodies with complex musical language, never mind his mind-blowing and uplifting live shows, are a true inspiration and it’d be a dream come true to work with him. Do you have a career highlight?

ᔡ Hackney Colliery Band & Huey Morgan, The Guildhall, Cambridge, Saturday, March 22, at 7.30pm. Tickets £12.50 from (01223) 357851 or cornex. co.uk.

We’ve done some pretty interesting shows over the years including, of course, playing a 45-minute set at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. But to be honest, although that was a pretty unique gig, our favourite gigs are always those where we really engage with the audience. On that score, I think it would have to be playing to a large packed-out venue in Kosovo. They don’t get many bands touring, and there was an

Theatre

The Perfect ᔡ The Perfect Murder, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Monday, March 24 – Saturday, March 29 at 7.45pm. Tickets £15-£30 from (01223)

B

EST known for presenting Family Fortunes, Les Dennis gets a touch more murderous in this adaptation of crime novelist Peter James’s story. Former scriptwriter James has merrily sold more than 15 million books (in 36 languages no less), including the Inspector Roy Grace series. But this is the first time his characters have been hewn into theatre-style shape. Courtesy of award-winning writer Shaun McKenna, and directed by Olivier winner Ian Talbot, The Perfect Murder sees Victor Smiley (Dennis) and his wife Joan (Claire Goose, her off Waking the Dead and Casualty), wrangling their way through a


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Musical theatre

Band ᔡ Oh! What a Lovely War, The ADC Theatre, Tuesday, March 25 to Saturday, March 29, at 7.45pm. Tickets £8-£12 from (01223) 300085 or adctheatre. com

Oh! What a Lovely War

incredible sense of anticipation – we were really flattered so many people turned out to see us. When we took it out on to the street in the middle of the show the atmosphere was absolutely crazy! Which is your favourite track to play live? Some people know us best for our covers, but our original material from our current album Common Decency is, we think, the best music we’ve ever produced. Our opener A Bit of Common Decency really

sets out our stall, and seeing the anticipation build through the first few bars and then get released as we rock out is pretty special. Dead Dialogue is very challenging to play but huge fun and it’s got some massive ensemble moments. And Smile for the Webcam really gets people moving; it feels like a real carnival tune to round off the set with. Should we expect any surprises when you visit Cambridge?

Murder marriage that has gone on for far too long: Victor hates Joan and is busy playing away, while Joan couldn’t be more bored or irritated by him. Bumping her off seems like a good plan. But then, as newbie Detective Constable Roy Grace finds out, nothing is quite as it seems . . . James has said: “Ever since I was a small boy when my parents first took me to the theatre, I dreamed of one day having something I wrote appear on the stage, and this wonderful, extremely funny and in parts very scary adaptation of The Perfect Murder is truly a dream come true. And I do not think we could have a more perfect, murderously wonderful cast.”

We like to keep things fresh, so no two gigs are ever quite the same. We’ve all got backgrounds in jazz and improvised music, so we play around a lot live, and we’re always looking for new ways of playing the tunes and having fun with the crowd. And our shows are absolutely driven by the crowd response, so given that it’s our first time in Cambridge we’re hoping for a pretty special reception . . . n Find out more about HCB at hackneycollieryband.co.uk.

FIRST staged by the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1963, Oh! What a Lovely War only made its way into the West End after Princess Margaret saw it and loved it. It’s always had a habit of garnering mixed reviews; even Michael Gove has been chatting on recently about how it should be a banned from schools. The ADC’s version is being put on by the Combined Actors of Cambridge to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First

World War. With strong anti-war themes filtering through, the cast of lively comic characters will contrast with the dark, muddied horrors of trench warfare going on in the background, while dressed in traditional pierrot (pantomime) costumes. There will be singing, dancing and joking, packed with “the futility, tragedy and overriding hope of the period”. Prepare to feel drained yet uplifted by the end.

Hackney Colliery Band  

Hackney Colliery Band and Huey Morgan

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