Producer: Jack Applebaum
Musical Director: Ruth Gomez
Reviewer: Ruth Jepson
For one night only, Huddersfield Town Hall was a Mecca for the slightly older gent and the ladies who, in their courting days, accompanied them to many a 70s and 80s rock gig. Gods of classic rock brought back to life by all-girl rock band Joanovarc, probably all of whom were only a twinkle in their mother’s eyes when such hits were in the charts the first time around.
Ably fronted by a two girl, two guy quartet of singers, One Night of Rock is a nostalgic whip through the greatest hits of your Dad’s vinyl collection. You name the classic rock song, and it was probably crammed into this show. Queen, Guns ‘N’ Roses, MeatLoaf and many more smoothly flowed into one another thanks to Musical Director and Joanovarc keyboard player Ruth Gomez’s excellent arrangements.
Joanovarc (Laura Ozholl, Sam Walker, Shelley Walker and Deborah Wildish in addition to Gomez) are clearly a tight group, and the amazing music they play is a testament to twelve years on the international music scene. They clearly know how to work a room, and Sam Walker especially is a joy to see perform as lead vocals, bass and guitar player. She is so natural on the stage, and an excellent counterpoint to the more humorous fun rocking out shown by Shelley Walker on lead guitar and vocals.
Slightly less tight-knit are the singers. The four are clearly each very talented singers, who could easily blow the roof off in a one-man show. The harmonies are sometimes a little off in the group numbers as each vies for dominance (unintentionally surely, but still evident), and it makes for a slightly inconsistent and somewhat lacklustre first half. However, all is forgiven in Act Two. Bat Out of Hell gets the crowd going, and then Katie Paine steps in to break your heart with her spine-tingling rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart (possibly the best performance of the night). Not to be outdone, Kate Leiper oozes into your eardrums with a performance of Black Velvet as smooth as its name. Hot on her heels is Brain Elrick, gaining more than a few female fans as he takes
Hot on her heels is Brain Elrick, gaining more than a few female fans as he takes Foxy Lady literally out into the audience. Finishing the roller coaster is Osvaldo Iturriaga with More Than a Feeling and held notes that would surely be unsustainable for us mere human beings. These solos are where the foursome really shine and the freestyle way they move around, relying on only the minimal bit of organised choreography to punctuate a line or chorus, is so much better than the often cringe-worthy choreographed ‘rock’ movements busted out in Act One. If you’re going to choreograph rock, it needs to be big West End We Will Rock You style. One Night of Rock does sometimes try for this (and succeeds in the odd song such as Money for Nothing, or Paint It Black where Leiper and Elrick absolutely nail the sex appeal) but generally the choreography does stray towards being a bit GCSE.
And what about the much-touted laser show element? Well, it’s a bit literal (want to guess what they did for Purple Rain?) but it really helps tie the whole thing together and turn a tribute act into a proper rock gig. And with the gorgeous backdrop of the massive organ dominating the stage in Huddersfield Town Hall, it really does come together nicely.
If you like your classic rock, chances are One Night of Rock is for you, even with the odd flaw. Talented musicians with equally talented singers, encourages you to dust off your Doccers and throw on your leathers to sing and dance along to some old favourites – who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Reviewed on 18 November 2016 then touring nationwide | Image: Contributed