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The Overtones, review

Mark Jorgensen is pleasantly surprised at The Lowry

Published on April 5th 2011.


The Overtones, review

TV talent shows have somewhat skewed the process of musical talent being discovered.

After another doo-woppy version of ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, they signed off to a hefty din from the crowd, before returning for an encore of ‘Gambling Man’ and some pelvic thrusting that made me feel ill.

They offer a shortcut to stardom, usually in exchange for ownership of the bearers soul. Consequently, its genuinely heartening to hear of a musical act being discovered by chance.

A year ago, The Overtones were five wannabes serving up 1950s doo-wop in low-profile local gigs before being discovered by a Warner Brothers talent scout, while singing on a tea break at the painting and decorating shop they’d set up as a side venture.

From there, they’ve notched a number five in the album charts with debut ‘Good ol’ Fashioned Love’ and signed a multi-album deal, so there was not a spare seat in sight when they visited The Lowry last week.

A quick glance around the bar gave a good indication of The Overtones’ fanbase; groups of women and mature couples; the Michael Buble demographic, if you will.

A greeting of screams, woops and wolf whistles gave way to schmaltzy opener ‘Sh-Boom’, followed by an interestingly different cover of ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’.

My immediate thoughts were as expected - they were cheesy but accomplished singers and the harmonising was spotless. Manchester-born band member Mark took time out to salute his home crowd, with a quip claiming Manchester would be the loudest crowd snaring the inevitable deafening response.

After a pleasantly sombre rendition of ‘Still Of The Night,’ which included actual doo-wopping, a slight conflict was emerging in the crowd. The rise in tempo had caused many of the groups of women to stand up and dance, leaving the seated older members of the audience unable to see. They were getting frustrated, and it led to a few comments here and there.

On stage though, toe-tapping album title track ‘Good Ol’ Fashion Love’, one of their three self-penned tracks, whipped the crowd into a frenzy as the cheddar cranked up a notch. A lady in the audience who had just got engaged identified herself from the balcony. “Congratulations,” said one of the boys. “He’s a lucky man you certainly look like an angel”, Emma, my plus one for the evening, and I both audibly groaned in tandem.

They swiftly moved onto two well-performed acapellas - ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Forget You’ - after a quick huddle to slow down the pace.

After ‘Carolyn’ came the best and the worst of the covers. First, a great rendition of Madcon’s ‘Beggin’ before the rather strange version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Lets Dance,’ which didn’t really work. Perhaps meat-suits would have helped.

The best moments came when preposterously-deep voiced bass Lachie was the lead, such as on Rhianna’s ‘Only Girl in The World’.

After another doo-woppy version of ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, they signed off to a hefty din from the crowd, before returning for an encore of ‘Gambling Man’ and some pelvic thrusting that made me feel ill.

Before leaving the stage, they took the time to kiss the hands of each of the ladies down at the front and as much as I’d like to provide some form of snarky commentary on this, it clearly works for them.

The Overtones are something a bit different to anything else around and I’d be amazed if the sales of their album didn’t rocket around Mothers’ Day. The challenge will be to write more original material and reduce the reliance on covers.

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