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.

A NEW work from Olivier Award-winning dancers of the Russell Maliphant Company is heading for G Live, Guildford, on Thursday 9 May.

Silent Lines will see the group working with video artist Panagiotis Tomaras in a co-production with Sadlers Wells to produce “explorations in dance and experiential anatomy using a unique mix of movement, animated video projection, and lighting”.

Russell Maliphant explains: “For this project, I’ve chosen to delve into the resource of studies and explorations I have made over the years in anatomy, biomechanics and in particular the body’s fascial system in relation to movement training and choreography.

“Allowing that to be the theme to inspire and effect the creation, Silent Lines investigates a range of poetic possibilities, using the visually rich and resonant connections between internal and external worlds, the microcosm and the macrocosm.

“Drawing on methodologies from a variety of movement disciplines and setting these within a world of animated light, this creation explores the endless web of connections we encompass and embody.”

IF THE thought of a Powerpoint presentation sends a shiver down your spine, think again. Comic Dave Gorman is back on the road and is bringing his laptop and projector screen with him.

The man behind TV shows like Modern Life Is Goodish, Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack Adventure has a new show called With Great PowerPoint Comes Great ResponsibilityPoint and he’s bringing it to G Live, Guildford, on Wednesday 27 February.

Dave Gorman

ORIGINAL members of David Bowie’s band will aim to bring back the magic of the legendary performer in Holy Holy this month, with one of the greatest synth pop front men of the ’80s carrying out vocal duties.

Woody Woodmansey, Tony Visconti and Glenn Gregory will bring the show to G Live, Guildford, on Tuesday 19 February.

Woodmansey was Bowie’s drummer during his Spiders from Mars period while producer Visconti worked on many of Bowie’s albums and played bass on The Man Who Sold The World. They will be joined on vocals by Heaven 17s singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Gregory. The Bowie fan and friend performed alongside Bowie on the original Band Aid single in 1984.

The group will perform Bowie hits from 1969 to 1973.