Sunday, 26 January 2014

David McAlmont sings Bowie at The Hideaway

On Friday evening we went to see David McAlmont's 'Wall To Wall: Bowie' set at the Hideaway jazz club in Streatham (i.e. off-off-off West End). The Hideaway is a great venue, very stylish and very orange and black. David first did his Bowie set in 2013 and, since it was the Hideaway's most popular show of 2013, he was asked to reprise it over three nights last week - we missed it the first time round so had to go on Friday.

We saw David McAlmont's Prince show last year (also at the Hideaway) in which he rearranged and sang his favourite Prince songs so I was expecting interesting re-interpretations of Bowie. And that's exactly what we got. He worked with Hideaway music director and pianist on the night Janette Mason to come up with some jazzy, chilled out versions of some songs and funked up versions of others. Backed by a pared down band of just keyboards, bass, drums and guitar and joined on stage for some of the songs with added vocals by Sam Obernik (who also had a few songs to herself) it made for an enjoyable evening.

David came on in blue suit (a la Bowie 'Life On Mars') covered in blingy jewellery, an enormous glam boa and a painted face (but not the lightning flash of Aladdin - that would be too obvious) and launched into 'Watch That Man' that he described as the song closest to the original arrangement. He went on to give us 'Suffragette City', 'Starman' and 'Changes' with Sam Obernik leading on 'Life on Mars' and 'The Man Who Sold The World'. David also gave us 'Let's Dance' and an electric piano funked up version of 'The Jean Genie'.

The second half of the show led off with 'Fame' and a torch song 'Lady Grinning Soul' with David walking round the tables in the audience after inviting us to stroke his boa if we wanted (I did). After 'Ziggy', Sam performed a lovely version of 'Kooks' and 'Wild Is The Wind'. 'Space Oddity' (in which David and Sam floated out in space). The show closed with a funky 'Young Americans' with David in dancehall mode towards the end. The encore was 'Modern Love'.

It was a great, fun show and a good end to a long week. David was on top form and I'd not come across Sam before and she's a bit of a find. Other than 'Let's Dance' and 'Modern Love' (and 'Space Oddity') all the songs were from the '70s and the first half of the '70s at that. That is classic Bowie territory but it might have been interesting to hear David's re-interpretaion of some of his later material, even something from the latest album perhaps? Or maybe that's for the next set of shows? Favourites of the evening were 'Starman' (with David doing Bowie's pointing thing), the funked up 'The Jean Genie' and the already funky 'Fame' and Sam's version of 'Kooks' (I like that song!).

And, to give you a flavour of the evening, here's a video of 'Young Americans' from the 2013 show. Enjoy!

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