Live music on New Years Eve can usually be a bit of a downer; it’s a big earner for covers bands, certain pubs knowing that inoffensive not-quite-as-good renditions of well known songs for some reason draw a crowd. The Arts Centre wouldn’t commit such offense though; they know full well that the only way to see in the New Year is with some of the best, original, locally music available. And thus, another year of New Town Kings’ legendary celebration, a night of high energy, singalongs, dancing and an air of positivity that you can’t experience in the pub with a covers band or, though it pains me to say it, watching Jools Holland and friends perform their way into a fake midnight at home.
First up though, a set from The Majestic, a band who are completely new to me but whom won me over with little effort. You can often tell how much fun you’re going to have at a gig by how much fun it looks like the band are having and, in this case, as their bassist Tony Alli grins (and poses for the camera, repeatedly) his way through the set the waves of joy are instantanious. With amazing vocals, tight instrumentation and a grins all round I’d say they were a great success. I had to admire their tenacity in selling records too; going from person to person to chat and sell CDs.
The New Town Kings weren’t going to struggle pushing the buzz any further, a band who both command the respect of the local audience as well as pretty much demanding they dance (not literally, of course, that’d be weird). As they lead the crowd singing their way into 2016, the horns blasting along, the basslines rolling down the clock, the band do take the time to show off what they’ve been up to with plenty of new tracks to show off.
It’s the classics though which get everybody hyped, bodies bouncing around while dancing. One thing I did notice compared to last year is that more groups appear to be dancing around rather than the push to the front of last year, with a lack of crowdsurfers too, although I’m not sure why that could be. As far as the performance went, New Town Kings were were as great as the first time I saw them and, judging by the new tracks live and their announcements since, it looks like they’ll be stepping it up another gear in 2016. Bring on NYE then.