Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: Live Music review 5 February 2010, Leicester De Montford Hall

Last Friday, despite my near screaming pains from this damn trapped sciatic nerve [yes, STILL causing me grief several weeks on], Neil kindly ferried us to lovely De Montford Hall in Leicester to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. I knew them only by reputation - chiefly the praise of Marie from some time ago - but booked early (Marie saw the UOoGB back in 2006, back in the days when she was writing under 'Struggling author'!). Good job we booked early for Leicester, as it was an inter-generationally packed house.

The remarkable and transformable space that is DMH has seen some wonderful sights in its time, including the various Summer Sundae performances (most memorably of course last summer's Monotonix gig which possibly still makes the DMH staff come out in a cold sweat). With its ability to shrink back its seats in a bleachers-like set up, DMH can offer an open-plan, all moving, non-stage-using, jump-from-the-balcony-into-the-crowd type of space --- or it can bring out the seats to join seamlessly from said balcony, adding hundreds more seats for more sedate performances.

Mind, in some respects I am not sure I'd call the UOoGB that sedate, and they certainly created a series of a hugely appreciative standing ovations as they were pulled back on stage for more of their surreal ukulele covers and banter.

Do, PLEASE if you get chance, go and see them live as they are quite gloriously entertaining (even if I was in excruciating pain throughout the gig). I laughed a lot - much needed - and also cried slightly when they covered 'Teenage Dirtbag' with the sort of reverence the song deserves as a paean to hopeful nerds everywhere. Uplifting beyond words. And who can resist tuxedo dressed ukulele players doing versions of 'Theme from Shaft', 'Yes Sir, I can boogie' and the George Formby [banjo] classic 'Leaning on the Lampost' reinterpreted as a melancholic Russian folk song. Brilliant.

They have their own UOoGB YouTube channel and their site includes opportunities to purchase both DVDs and CDs. The live performances though are something else - so if you can, go see them!!!

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