What: Hard Rock’s Pinktober Charity Gig
Where: O2 Indigo, London
When: Tue 5th October
Reviewed by: Roger Goodgroves
Tonight’s gig is part of Hard Rock Cafe’s ongoing sponsorship of events relating to Breast Cancer awareness and fundraising. Although many in the UK aren’t aware of Hard Rock’s support, the campaign is now entering its 11th year. The profits from tonight’s gig go to the Caron Keating foundation. Caron ,TV presenter of programmes including Top of the Pops and daughter of Gloria Hunniford died of Breast cancer aged 41. Tonight would have been her 48th birthday so was extra poignant.
Events were kicked off by a touching introduction from Caron’s friend and now radio presenter Gabi Roslin reminiscing about Caron before introducing Amy MacDonald. Amy certainly got the crowd going with her infectious song writing and lovely clear vocals. I always think at events like these where people are coming for the overall show, rather than the artists specifically, that it’s always wise to play mostly hits or known tracks. Although Amy’s set was well mixed it lacked the ability to sustain the momentum for the audience.
Next up were a new girl group called Parade. Frankly nothing we haven’t seen before. Some nice dance moves and singing over a backing track. Here’s me thinking I am at a live gig not Karaoke?
The filling in the middle of tonight’s gig was the wonderful soul voice ofBeverley Knight. Knight’s song selection was perfect for the evening with her hits “shoulda woulda coulda” and her cover of the Erma Franklin’s classic “Take a piece of my heart” bringing the audience to their feet even in the VIP area (called the Kings Road). Talking of tonight’s venue, the Indigo within the O2 is the Arena’s little sister and a very intimate place compared to the vast space of the main hall. It’s standing downstairs for tonight’s gig with a steeply raked upstairs gallery of about 15 rows the front two being the VIP area. The upstairs area is very close to the stage front and unless you are in the first two rows you can’t see any of the audience downstairs and as a result loses some of the atmosphere as a result.
Before tonight’s main act we had a short introduction to another new, all girl group. “Women” who release their single “I’m a women” with proceeds going to the Caron Keating Foundation. Women are fronted by West End stage performer Mazz Murray. Whilst another singing over a backing track performance, Women got the crowd to their feet with some classic rock tracks. All four of the women have extensive West End musical experience and it showed with a polished vocal delivery. Their single can be downloaded on itunes
Bringing this evening’s entertainment to a close were“The Bangles”. Their blend of guitar based pop/rock and harmony vocals had the crowd singing along from the start. I’d forgotten how many hits they had and it was pleasant reminiscing. Some of the harmonies had a harsh shrillness but overall it was good to hear and had us all walking like Egyptians towards the exits.
It was good being at a gig showcasing the presence women have in rock and pop. With luck we won’t lose any to breast cancer. If this gig does nothing more than make women be aware of the dangers and check themselves regularly, it will be time well spent. Here’s to many more years of Hard Rock’s sponsorship or if I can pray for a cure, I’m sure Hard Rock won’t mind as their sponsorship seems well intentioned and not convenient.
Pictures are from tonight’s VIP reception show the performers as well as some of the guests who were brought in to introduce the acts.