Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel @ Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall, 29th May 2010

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Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel burst onto the stage with a stomping start following a worthy performance by support act The Lartey Sisters.

Sisters Ashleigh and Faye Lartey write and perform their own material with freshness and skill. They have just completed their first album, “Nobody’s Here”, with their debut single of the same name. They opened with “Dreaming with both eyes open”, Ashleigh’s voice having a gentle vibrato quality.

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The next number “Burning Bridges” was an apt vehicle to showcase Ashleigh’s strong clear voice and was followed by the melancholic “The Light”. Faye demonstrated an imaginative technique in her guitar solo piece, combining using it as a percussion instrument and plucking the strings high up the fret board. The audience showed its appreciation of her skill.

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Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel could have no doubts about their fan base from the enthusiastic welcome that they received. From the 1970’s to the present day Steve Harley has always been in the public psyche even if only as an advertising lyric.

Most people can hum one of his songs without being aware of who wrote it. From their opening number to their final encore the audience sang along and cheered their approval. The line up of Steve Harley (vocals and guitar), Barry Wickens (exemplary on violin), James Lascelles (keyboards), Lincoln Anderson (bass) and Stuart Elliott (drums, and the only other original member of the band) was joined by the Lartey Sisters (Ashleigh providing backing vocal, tambourine and flute and Faye on guitar).

The band displayed considerable musicianship and many of the numbers took on epic proportions, particularly with Barry Wickens’ amazing violin playing.

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The play list included many of the old favourites including the first hit “Sebastian” from their first album “The Human Menagerie” and other notable titles such as “Judy Teen”, “Here Comes The Sun”, “Mr Soft” , “Tumbling Down”and “Journey’s End”. There was also a selection from the new album “Stranger Comes To Town” which received has received favourable reviews.The iconic “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)” was predictably the final song of the encore and the crowd took over the vocals with enthusiastic gusto. A great night for all!

Review – Pat Duke
Photos – John Bentley

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