Musical Arrangement: Mike Batt
Reviewer: Paul Downham
It is unfair to say that Bob Blakeley was a reject earlier this year after his appearance on hit BBC TV show The Voice, but what is fair to say is that tonight at The Lowry he played maybe not his biggest, but definitely the most emotional gig of his career to date.
Blakeley from Stockport performed songs from his debut album Performance to a near capacity Quays Theatre peppered with his nearest and dearest and some of his most loyal supporters. At times sadly their over exuberance tended to almost overshadow the on stage performance.
Backed by a superb 8 piece band Blakeley shone at times but seemed to be slightly nervous on what was clearly an emotional night for him. His set consisted entirely of cover versions from Sinatra to the Righteous Brothers, however it would have been nice to her one or two original numbers dotted about during the evening.
Midway through the evening Blakeley introduced to the stage the man who has been instrumental in the progression of his career to date, Mike Batt. Batt who created The Wombles, discovered Katie Melua and has written some of the most iconic songs ever including Bright Eyes performed a number of his songs while Blakeley made a costume change. While Batt isn’t the most accomplished singer to grace the Lowry stage, there is no denying his influence within the musical industry. Batt was also responsible for all the musical arrangements for the entire concert.
Upon Blakeley’s return to the stage proceedings took a somewhat Rat Pack turn as the crowd became more and more involved with each track. Closing the show with a new arrangement of his Voice audition track Cry me a River this was by far the best song of the evening. With Batt’s arrangement and Blakeley’s delivery it would not have sounded out of place on a James Bond soundtrack.
A special mention should go to the support act of the evening, fellow Voice hopeful Beth McCarthy. Her innocence on stage was wiped away as soon as she began to sing with her acoustic guitar. Still only in her teenage years she has a big future ahead of her and certainly one name to look out for.
Reviewed on 12th September 2014