Fundraiser made everybody happy

FUNDRAISERS are often strange events. Unsure whether the audience are there in support of the project the funds are being raised for or just for the excellent bands on show, I set out to put on a diverse line-up that would please all who attended. For th

FUNDRAISERS are often strange events. Unsure whether the audience are there in support of the project the funds are being raised for or just for the excellent bands on show, I set out to put on a diverse line-up that would please all who attended.

For this event, a fundraiser for my own theatre company before we head to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a run at the end of the month, I came away feeling satisfied all had been achieved: money had been raised and people had enjoyed themselves.

Opening the five band event were

Alighting, featuring a certain Chris Boland on vocals. I've found myself on the bill with these guys a lot recently, and although now down to a duo, the Boland brothers looked sharper and in fine song from the start, despite having the difficult 'first band on' slot. The key to Alighting's resurgence of form is that as a duo they have more control these days, they look more confident than ever heading down the folk-pop route and as a result this is probably the best I've seen them.

Next up, and the second acoustic act of the night, we saw Emma York and her beat-box sibling Galactica. Emma is a unique brand of songwriter: delicate, charming and easy on the ear, while remaining melodically strong. The human-voiced drums of Galactica is a concept I still find intriguing despite having seen this sister-brother duo several times over the past year, and coupled with York's sparse guitar playing the sound as a result is both warming and compelling, and very well received by the audience.

I found myself on stage for the next act, drumming for my new band, The Deadlines. It was our first gig. We thought we were tight enough and came away very happy with the performance, but obviously it's not my place to write a review of my own band.

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Despite arriving late, and missing the sound check, Opaque remain the most inventive, exciting band in Cambridgeshire, and to have them at our fundraiser was a privilege. I'm really happy too that most of the audience, many of whom hadn't seen the band before, were converted on the spot by frontman Moony's majestic performances, and the depth, charisma and originality of this psychedelic pop five-piece makes them a rare treat.

Promoting their debut album, The Last Moustache, Opaque set the standards that all unsigned bands should aspire to. Perhaps having five bands on the bill was too much, because by the time Colonel Bastard made their way to the stage, a lot of the audience decided that, at 10.30pm, it was time to call it a night. This was a real shame, because despite only having a handful of people in the crowd to entertain, Colonel Bastard certainly did entertain with a quick reminder of why they were joint headlining. Missing their lead guitarist for the night, the band sounded sparse and more bass-lead than normal, but that didn't stop the fun.

New material, including the excellent I Think She Thinks I Fancy Her, fitted in nicely with their older classics, Peter Sissons and The Day I Met The Bloke From Holyoake.

All in all, a lively, witty set brimming with enthusiasm, professionalism and top quality song writing.

I left the venue satisfied. It's the first time I've ever hired the Man on the Moon without making a loss, and satisfied that I've given those kind enough to support my Edinburgh plans a damn fine evening of music.

RICHARD PAUL

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