Arts Depo Finchley
60's Night to Remember, in aid of the North London Hospice took place at the Finchley Arts Depo on Friday night. The show hosted by Gold Radio's Dean Martin started with the fabulous New Amen Corner, covering some favourites from the era including Motown and Northern Soul. The band kicked off the musical evening with the rocking 'Sweet Soul Music', a hit in 1967 for Arthur Conley. Then straight into very soulful 'Gotta Get You Into My Life', every bit as good as the Beatles original. They were even more impressive considering that half the band weren’t old enough to remember these hits the first time round. A Booker T instrumental led us to the first guest of the evening the terrific Chris Farlowe.
The man is a legend and continues to rock at 72 with that distinctive voice still intact. He's the real deal, his professionalism and performance could put a lot of newcomer to the industry to shame. Starting with the soul classic 'I Feel Good' and then 'Stand by Me' which he once sang with Ben E King. An astounding version of 'Stormy Monday Blues'. And for those who admit to remembering Ready Steady Go he sang a haunting version of 'Mr Pitiful' which he'd sung on the show in the 60's. He is probably best know for the original version of 'Handbags and Gladrags', which was written especially for him by Mike D'arbo of Manfred Man. Much copied but never bettered this is the definitive version and the crowd loved it. Another classic Wilson Pickets's 'In the Midnight Hour' and its hard for people to sit still, the audience is becoming more animated by the minute. He gave a poignant version of 'all or nothing' in memory of his late friend Steve Marriott of the Small Faces. He finished the set with another classic ' Out of Time. What a performer!
For the second half we were treated to more excellent renditions of 60's soul hits including the Showstoppers classic 'House party', and a cover of the original Amen Corners 'Bend Me Shake Me'. Throughout the evening I was half expecting animated and talented guitarist (not to mention Guns N Roses lead singer Axl Rose look a like) Leroy to copy Pete Townsend from the Who and smash up his guitar but sensibly he just carried on playing some great songs and solos! He also did some superb vocals especially on Barry Ryan's dramatic 'Eloise'.
Then the heart throb of many a 1960's school girl, local singer Steve Ellis took to the stage, starting the set with a number from his new
album The Ten Commitments and then into one of the old favourites 'Bringing on back the good times'. He then dedicated some Temptations numbers to his old crowd The Finchley Mod's. I really loved his version of 'Please Please me' a slower and more soulful version than the original but equally brilliant. Sam and Dave's 'Hold on I'm coming' finished the set with the crowd most definitely wanting more. The encore was of course his two most famous numbers 'Rainbow Valley' and 'Everlasting Love' which brought out the teenager of 1968 in most of the ladies in the room as the got up to dance and applaud Steve. Absolutely deserved.
What a fantastic night and also a fantastic cause. The North London Hospice that provides specialist end-of-life-care to people living with a terminal illness deserve all they help they can get for the amazing work they do. Most of their money comes from charity donations, with only 23% coming from the NHS. All services at the hospital are free to the user and provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hospice also supports family and friends of patients and also bereavement support. People gave generously on Friday and if you would like to help raise money for this very worthy cause, please see their website www.northlondonhospice.org for their many fund raising activities throughout 2012. Or pop any old or unwanted “Handbags and gladrags” down to your local North London Hospice shop.