I thought I’d take a step back in time as go and see a few pop groups of the 1960s whom I’d never previously seen, perform at Whitley Bay Playhouse. The first act were The Swinging Blue Jeans. By the end of their spot I was thinking, their sound is too ‘tinny’. Even when they tried to ‘perform’ it seamed tired and contrived. I’ve seen better at Working Men’s clubs. These were followed by The Fortunes with improved sound quality and played with enthusiasm especially the vocalist/bass player. After the Interval came The Trems (Tremeloes). Who sounded even better (or may I liked the their songs more). What distracted me was the vocalist/lead guitarist. Yes, he can certainly play and sing but his appearance jarred with the rest of the group, more Bon Jovi style than Tremeloes. These were followed by the Dakotas without Billy J. Kramer, who had parted company with them many moons ago. The new singer’s voice was more attuned to blues than ballads, but he made a valiant effort. The final act was Mike Pender who was from the original Searchers group. He had a bit more of a stage presence about him while running through their major hits. I was a bit disappointed that not of the groups had any original members, so for me they were more like ‘tribute’ bands. This whole show brought back memories of the ‘Package’ tours that pop groups undertook years ago. Basically, do your twenty minute slot, run through your hits and get off; how times and timings have changed.
Last night I went to Whitley Bay Playhouse for the first time to see ‘The Rod Stewart Story’ performed by the tribute band ‘Some Guys have all the Luck’. After two songs I was beginning to think this was just a tribute act, but no, the singer then began ‘Rod’s story’ aided with flashbacks on the screen behind the band. The first half continued in this vein, a bit of story followed by songs related to that era. After the interval it was song after song. It’s remarkable how many well known hits Rod Stewart has had and these were performed with enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment by the band. The musicianship was excellent. The vocalist’s (Paul Metcalfe) voice was similar to ‘Rod’s if a little more sharp but he did well in the up-tempo number and the onstage gyrations. Overall, a value-for-money, entertaining and interesting show, well worth seeing.