16 December 2014 (gig)
23 December 2014
The recently released live album of The Albion Christmas Band’s concert at the Kings Place last year was, if truth be told, lacking a little atmosphere. So seeing them perform tonight in the same venue, is a revelation: The sound, the players and the audience coming together resulted in - to pinch a title - some enchanted evening.
Opening with The Sussex Carol the band proceeded to take the audience on a journey that went from the staples of the season such as Silent Night, through slightly more obscure traditional songs The January Man, to the more contemporary Mad World.
They are helped no end by the auditorium’s excellent sound with the singers harmonising for a glorious version of The King. There’s no need to wax lyrical about Kellie While’s talents but is has to be said that her version of Thea Gilmore’s December in New York was sublime.
Multi-talented as they are, we had a satirical reading of the nativity from Simon Nicol and a traditional egg dance from Simon Care, though possibly not. Whatever it was, it was totally off the wall and very funny.
Old favourites are trotted out: a rollicking Sans Day Carol, sat comfortably with the none rollicking but affecting In The Bleak Mid Winter. The Guv’nor Ashley Hutchings occasionally taking time off bass and vocal duties to give some background to the songs. So it’s educational too.
This is the 16th year that the Band have toured and with the majority of shows selling out there’s clearly a continuing appetite for festive wit, banter, good music and a touch of eccentricity.