GLive

Singer songwriter Lloyd Cole has a new album, Guesswork, and he proudly declares that it’s shorter than any of his previous 11 solo albums.

He also says it ‘mirrors the uncertainty of the world as you enter your third act’. Either way,  those who remember Lloyd for the literary pop of his early days like 1984’s Rattlesnakes, made with the Commotions will want to hear it.

Singer songwriter Lloyd Cole

That debut album earned him an unlikely place alongside Wham! and Duran Duran in the following year’s Smash Hits/Panini sticker book. But he’s had the last laugh by outlasting them all.

Hear Lloyd Cole play songs from across his career in From Rattlesnakes to Guesswork at G Live, Guildford, on Saturday (19 Oct).

AWARD-winning comic Lee Ridley was born in County Durham, but don’t expect a Geordie accent.

He’s also known as Lost Voice Guy and won Britain’s Got Talent by performing stand-up using a communication aid…which appears to have a southern accent.

“I have lived in Newcastle all my life, but for some reason, I still haven’t picked up the accent,” laughs Lee, who has never been able to talk naturally. “However, if you are trying to place my accent, it’s from PC World…


ENGAGING – Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, is bringing his stand-up show to Guildford and Camberley  Picture by Steve Ullathorne

“To be honest, I didn’t have much choice. The app I use to speak only had a limited number of voices to choose from, and my particular voice was the best of a bad bunch.

“I’m quite used to sounding like a posh version of RoboCop now though, and I think the posh accent makes my jokes even funnier. I’ve sounded like this for most of my life, so I do think of it as being my own voice. I’d feel weird if I had to change it now.”

The 39-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, says the main reason he entered Britain’s Got Talent was “obviously to meet Ant and Dec” but adds: “I also did it because I thought it would help me develop as a performer. Of course, I never expected to win it. In fact, I had to cancel my summer holiday because it clashed with the final.”

Lee encourages people to laugh with him about disability, and derides those who are patronising or prejudiced, and says life has changed a lot since his TV success.

“As a comedian, I’m busier than ever,” he says. “But one of the best things to happen since I won is that people are engaging with me a lot more than they would have in the past.

“For the first time, they seem comfortable talking to a disabled person. I’m used to being stared at for negative reasons, so it’s nice to be stared at for positive reasons for a change.

“You would be surprised at how many people come up to me after gigs and ask if I really can’t speak. Because, of course, it would totally be acceptable to pretend to be disabled for a laugh!”

Lee, who last year became the star of Radio 4 sitcom Ability, is out on the road with his latest stand-up show, I’m Only In It For The Parking, and brings it to G Live, Guildford, on Saturday 5 October and Camberley Theatre on Monday 14 October.

When he left school at 13 unable to read and write, it seemed unlikely that Benjamin Zephaniah would become one fo the UK’s best known poets.

However, the Brummie went on to befriend Nelson Mandela, fought in the 1980s race riots and recorded radical reggae music with Bob Marley’s former band.

Benjamin Zephaniah

His first poetry book was published in 1980 and his success has grown ever since and now he’s doing his first tour in eight years, to coincide with his autobiography, The Life And Rhymes Of Benjamin Zephaniah.

In the show, which will be at G Live, Guildford, on Friday 27 September, the 61-year-old will explain how he fought injustice and discrimination to lead a remarkable life, while sharing a selection of favourite stories and poems.

Believe it or not, it’s 10 years since Diversity took the nation by storm when they won the third series of Britain’s Got Talent, beating Susan Boyle in front of a television audience of over 20 million.

The country’s best known dance troupe are celebrating by heading out on tour, and will bring their latest show, Born Ready, to G Live, Guildford, on Tuesday (24 Sept) and Wednesday (25 Sept).

HIGH ENERGY – Diversity will celebrate past successes and visions of the future at G Live, Guildford, next week

Creator and choreographer Ashley Banjo says: “Born Ready is such an incredibly special tour for the whole Diversity family. 2019 marks 10 years since we won Britain’s Got Talent and since then we have continued to innovate, grow and achieve things that most said were impossible.

Born Ready will not only celebrate this and look back at some of the iconic Diversity moments over the past 10 years. But it will also look forward to the future, at how Diversity continues to evolve and how we plan to pass what we’ve created onto the next generation. Be prepared for dance, illusions, mind blowing stunts and inspiring stories that will hopefully leave people amazed!”

IT’S tribute time at G Live in Guildford, two salutes to major artists on stage next week.

The ELO Experience, emulating Jeff Lynn and The Electric Light Orchestra, heads to the venue on Wednesday (24 July) followed the next day by The Estefan Experience, a tribute to Latin songstress Gloria Estefan.

SOUNDS OF THE 70s -The ELO Experience re create the sounds of the Electric Light Orchestra

The legacy left by Jeff Lynne and The Electric Light Orchestra barely needs any introduction – suffice to say that between 1972 and 1986 they achieved more combined UK and US Top 40 hits than any other band, including 10538 Overture, Evil Woman, Living Thing, Diary of Horace Wimp, Don’t Bring me Down and, of course, Mr Blue Sky.

As for the Queen Of Latin Pop, the real Gloria Estefan sold over 100 million album and won 26 Grammy Awards. The tribute show will feature a 12-piece band with Cuban-themed singers and dancers and songs like Get On Your Feet, Conga, 1-2-3, Rhythm is Gonna Get You, Anything For You, Dr Beat and many more.

THE Mantic Muddlers needed a big sound for their new album, Tall Tales and the Gospel Truth, so they recorded all 12 tracks in a kitchen…over one weekend.

“It was a challenge but we did it,” says frontman Jacob Davies. “We recorded it live and absolutely have not manipulated anything. We did about four takes of every song and picked our favourites.”

Of course it wasn’t just any kitchen, but an industrial one in a former day centre for people with disabilities – next to a rail line with trains going past and vibrating the building every 15 minutes.


Roots, rattle and roll with The Mantic Muddlers (l-r) Laurence Evans, Jacob Davies and George Mercer

“Yeah, at one point a train rumbles past at the end of a track,” laughs the singer and guitarist. “But actually it was brilliant. The kitchen is full of shiny surfaces and the acoustics are great.

“We went there once to rehearse and we thought ‘this is a big sound’. There’s no carpet and everything is solid, there’s a wooden floor, metal furniture and cookers and sinks, lots of natural reverb. It helps to lift the playing.”

The result is Tall Tales & The Gospel Truth, the roots trio’s second release, following a six-track CD in 2017, but Jacob insists the new album is their true debut.

“This one that feels more like us,” he explains. “The intention was always there, from the first few tracks, that it would be an album. We’ve let them develop and grow and worked really hard on them.”

The Hampshire outfit have been a settled three-piece for about three years, the singer’s musical partners being double bass player George Mercer and violin player Laurence Evans.

George has provided rock solid basslines since he and Jacob were in a heavy metal band in school, but Laurence’s one-man string section is a more recent addition after he approached the others after a pub gig. 

“He came up and said: “I can play violin”, so I invited him round my house…and two notes in I was nearly crying, it’s such a unique instrument. I was like “yes!” and he was in the band from that moment,” says the frontman.

Laurence’s strings skill has been honed from a young age playing in the school orchestra and a mixed background ranging from Frank Zappa to Stephane Grappelli. “I started with classical, but got into jazz and always loved improvising,” he explains.

Jacob admits: “Musically we’ve come from different places. Me and George come from a rock and heavy metal background, whereas Laurence knows what he’s doing!

“But where does metal come from? Rock ‘n’ roll. And where does that come from? Eventually you get back to the blues, gospel, soul and slave music. They all have the same energy and, for me, it’s all about the energy.”

Whatever way you describe it, The Muddlers’ roots, rattle and roll sound has won them plenty of fans and upcoming gigs include the Twisted Village Festival, the Big Top tent at Victorious in Portsmouth, and a recent support slot with the legendary Johnny Mars.

The official launch gig for Tall Tales & The Gospel Truth will be at the Star Inn, Guildford, on Thursday (27 June), which was booked before they’d even recorded the album.

“Well, it’s quite good to put your back against the wall sometimes,” says Laurence.

ONE OF several singers billing themselves as “the world’s number one Elvis tribute artist” brings his latest show to G Live, Guildford, on Saturday 15 June.

Taking Care of Elvis – The King Is Back will see musician, singer and songwriter Ben Portsmouth perform the songs of his hero.


Ben Portsmouth performing the songs of The King

Ben had Elvis’s DNA in his blood from an early age. His father was an avid Elvis fan and he grew up on a diet of Presley songs before starting his tribute act in 2005.

In August 2012, he won the Elvis Presley Enterprises Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest which took place in Memphis, the first artist from outside the USA to win this title.

STRICTLY Come Dancing favourite Kevin Clifton has teamed up with Italian heartthrob Graziano Di Prima for his latest show, Burn The Floor, which comes to G Live, Guildford, on Thursday 23 May.

From the waltz and foxtrot to the tango and paso doble, the 36-year-old dance star says he’s aiming for a “feel-fantastic show”, rather than a mere feelgood one. Oh, and don’t forget the cha cha, the samba and jive, as they’ll feature too.

Kevin said: “Burn The Floor is the show that ignited a spark in me and changed me forever as a performer. Through Broadway, West End and touring all over the world, this show has ripped apart the rule book, revolutionised our genre and inspired and shaped me as the dancer I am today.”

BEING a blind comedian is tough, but being a blind father is possibly tougher. Just ask Chris McCausland, who’s done both.

“The most challenging parts of life as a comedian for me are all the logistical ones, travelling the country to different venues and even getting to and from the stage at a show,” he explained.

“Obviously, I’ve found solutions to these aspects of the job over the years. Once these issues have been overcome the actual on-stage, stand-up part of the job is the easy bit.”

FUNNY MAN – Comedian Chris McCausland is bringing his Speaky Blinder show to Guildford

Being a dad has raised a few more issues for Chris, who lost his sight as an adult.

“As my daughter has got older and more communicative, being a blind dad has got easier in lots of ways,” he said. “But there was a really difficult period when she was a one-year old, where she was mobile but silent, crawling about on the floor hardly making a peep!

“Looking back, maybe I should have put a bell on her, or a Bluetooth tracker so that I could ask Alexa to find her!

“Now she’s five though, the toughest thing is probably things like not being able to help her properly with her reading and her writing. How many other kids in her class have already got better handwriting than their daddy?”

Chris is now a Surrey resident, having moved to the county from Liverpool in 1996 to study at Kingston University. As a northerner married to a Brazilian, he says there’s often a culture clash – especially their different reactions to temperature.

“Whereas my wife will still require a winter coat in 22-degree sunshine, I struggle to function in anything warmer than about 26,” he said. “This obviously creates a great deal of conflict when the central heating comes into question.

“I talk about this in the show, but I think there is a good chance that one of us may one day be found dead in the hallway with one arm reaching out towards the thermostat, with the other one of us having skipped the country.”

Chris’s stand-up career started at a new-act night in Balham in 2003, but within a year he had won a string of awards and come third in Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny competition.

He’s since made many TV appearances and is a regular on the CBeebies series Me Too! But he said his career high point has been filming Live at the Apollo for the BBC.

“Not only was it the biggest career opportunity that I’ve had, but it was also the biggest actual gig that I had done, getting to play in front of 3,500 comedy fans at the Hammersmith Apollo,” Chris recalled.

“I’ve lived near London for over 20 years and have been to see lots of my music and comedy heroes perform on that stage, and so to get to do the same was a dream come true, really.”

Chris brings his Speaky Blinder show to the Bellerby Studio at Guildford’s G Live on Thursday 16 May as part of his later UK tour.

He added: “After this tour is over, I plan to write a book about my own experiences of losing my sight, being a comedian, and becoming a dad.

“They say that everybody has got a book in them, and I reckon I must have at least two. I also plan to become Prime Minister, destroy Facebook, and form the world’s most successful rock band…”

CANADIAN comedy legend Tom Stade is back with a new show. Welcome back to I Swear To…, picking up just where he left off as an hour simply wasn’t long enough.

Canadian Tom Stade

He will attempt to figure out exactly where he fits into this emerging new world of feelings and FaceTime. He’ll be asking questions like exactly when did he, and all his stuff become vintage – and why didn’t he see it coming?

Tom has been on Channel 4’s Comedy Gala, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, The John Bishop Show and Live at the Apollo – and on Thursday 9 May he’ll be at G Live, Guildford.