Unplugged March ‘15
The first Friday of the month and has come and gone, leaving applause and empty beer barrels behind it. Unplugged was kicked off by an introduction to Banjo, the adorable service dog. Banjo has joined the Kotz family in order to assist seven year old Estella with day to day tasks she can struggle with, due to her autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some ACE Space attendees have donated towards the cost of Banjo, and he received a very warm welcome indeed. After thanking everyone who had contributed, Adam Kotz launched the evening with a couple of bluesy tunes on his guitar.
Two piece band Loreley quickly followed with tongue twister lyrics and fast paced banjo playing. Their EP launch party is on 12th March at 8pm, The Retreat Pub in Reading and will be well worth attending!
Splodge put in another appearance with his topical comedy songs walking, and occasionally dancing boldy over, the line of offense (our favourite lyrics came from a tune about Madonna’s Brit Slip, and went a little something like “Pedro was dressed so kinky, then I was off down the stairs like a slinky”).
A big ACE Space congratulations to James Creed for passing his driving test! James leant his deep tones to two soulful covers from Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen. He then joined friend Josh Fiddler for Josh’s second song, a funky interpretation of “Lean On Me” which both men performed with talent and infectious fun.
Many of us had been disappointed not to see Glyn’s contribution at the XMAS Bash due to his untimely throat infection. Glad to hear he was fully recovered, we were somewhat surprised to find him taking to the stage resplendent in sling and bandage bandana. Luckily, it was all part of his heartily appreciated performance of “The Bricklayer’s Song”, a hilarious song recounting a man called Murphy’s accident on a building site.
More comedy followed from Graham Coulam who had us all tittering along to witty observations about marriage, injustice and each one of Newbury’s totally unique coffee shops. Talented Tilly Minchin was up next with two of her own songs about friendship and heartache, “Are You Coming Home Tonight” was a particularly touching piece.
Something a bit different from local poet Ken Rich. His new poem “Linguist” went down well, as he considered a wealth of possible careers including “Freelance Gynaecologist”. He followed up with an ACE Space favourite, an unfavourable account of Basingstoke that earned more than a few cheers. Debbie Murphy impressed us all with her fast finger work, accompanied by her accordion and clear dedication. Stephen Baker’s bittersweet covers were the perfect thing to mellow out to as the last of the bars’ lager started to dwindle.
Newcomers SixPack (video below) were a charming twist on the traditional boys’ band. This six piece ukulele group had a feel good, unified sound that certainly benefited from the cheerful audience harmonising.
Slight technical difficulties were overcome with humour and grace by regulars Skyport, who spun out an ode to parking wardens on guitar, violin and drum. William Wallace stirred up solid support for his protest songs, especially from the younger people at the back of the audience who heralded him with cries of “Freedom!”.
Next up were Serin, Daniel, Diarmuid and Nina. Probably our most enthusiastic audience members that night, the young multi-national foursome did covers on banjo, guitar and violin – with Serin and Nina also contributing stage shaking vocals.
Edinburgh Fringe veteran Ben Champion admonished us for our abysmal clap-a-long skills and made us all think long and hard on the question “What if Johnny Cash had been born 30 years later and worked in IT?”. Then it was time for the Kotz family (minus Banjo, plus Calum) and their musical account of their 15 years by the Newbury canal. First timer Josh Smith caught our attention with his guitar and a crooning whisper, it was truly a shame he only had time for one song.
The evening was rounded off by Serin & Nina who returned to the stage after high demand. Their accapella version of HRH Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” was spellbinding, particularly for a performance devised not five minutes earlier in the ACE Space toilets.
Join us at the next Unplugged, Friday 3rd April. Performers free, everyone else £4.