St Etienne

Lighthouse Family @ Symphony Hall, 11 November 2019

After an 18-year album hiatus, 90’s band Lighthouse Family are back on tour showcasing their new album Blue Sky in Your Head. This was the first date in a bumper UK tour, continuing for the rest of this month and then through February, before they head off to South Africa for three dates in March.

The show opened with the hall encased in blue light and the sounds of relaxing spa music. Then the band took to the stage. They began with lead single from the new album ‘My Salvation’, a pop anthem with a desperate main lyric that reflects the current state of our society: “Does anyone care for anyone?”. It’s arguably one of the best songs they have written as it’s both catchy and relevant. In a way it was a shame to open with it (in the words of Vanessa Williams “save the best for last”) but it got things going with a bang.
Vocalist Tunde Baiyewu and keyboardist Paul Tucker were dressed smartly in black suits. Paul in particular was thrilled to be back on the road, and clearly humbled by the opportunity.

The stage set up was simple leaving us to concentrate on hearing the music. The lighting remained blue for much of the show and Paul hinted that it was chosen to complement the name of the new album — i.e. put the “blue sky on our heads”. Backing singer Janelle Martin looked stunning in a figure-hugging sparkly dress and her voice blended with Tunde perfectly, particularly during ‘Blue Sky in Your Head’ where she had more of a joint vocal role than a backing one.
In addition to Janelle, Paul and Tunde brought three other musicians: Guitarist Phil Hudson; Bassist Oscar Golding; and Drummer Ryan Aston, all of whom they described as part of the family.

The setlist, quite rightly, had a heavy leaning towards the new album but there were also well-known hits from each of the band’s previous albums. These were the ones that had people up dancing.

The evening’s anecdotes were wholesome covering family life and how ‘Put My Heart on You’ from the new album was inspired by Tunde’s daughter. Paul mentioned that his son had told him that anything that would have previously been labelled as 90’s pop, is now called a “banger”. But, the comment that made me smile was at the end of infamous 90’s hit ‘Lifted’ when Tunde exclaimed: “I got so excited there I spilt my lemon and ginger tea!”. Rock and roll.
Towards the end of the set came a more chilled out section comprising ‘Lost in Space’, ‘Who’s Gonna Save Me Now’ and ‘Clouds’, before the energy was reignited once more for main set finisher, and their best-known single, ‘High’.

The two-song encore wasn’t as energetic as the crowd might have hoped, but we did hear ‘The Streetlights and the Rain’ which, according to the band, has been hotly tipped as a big Christmas hit for this year. Many people will agree that it’s high time for something new to hit the Christmas market, so watch this space!
Tour tickets and the new album, Blue Sky in Your Head, are available to buy now.

1. My Salvation
2. Blue Sky in Your Head
3. Question of Faith
4. Put My Heart on You
5. Lifted
6. Run
7. Raincloud
8. Postcard From Heaven
9. Live Again
10. Ocean Drive
11. Lost in Space
12. Who’s Gonna Save Me Now?
13. Clouds
14. High
15. I Wish I Could Know How It Feels (To Be Free)/One (U2)
16. The Streetlights and the Rain

Review: Chrissie Duxson

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