Friday 16 October 2015

Night out with the Nanna's: Alex Bliss writes about a live gig by “Nanna Radleys Band”

Night out with the Nanna's by Alex Bliss

Nanna Radleys Band
So on a Saturday night, I have a problem. I’m not much of a clubber anymore; I’m fed up of having to shout to talk to my friends, I’ve got absolutely no rhythm and I am growing ever more angry at rising cloakroom prices. I like to sit in a pub until the early hours, chatting with my friends.

But my best friend, Verity, now she likes to dance and won’t hesitate to cut into the pub conversation with a cutting, “I’m bored now.”

Some weeks ago, Verity and I were trekking through town heading to a bar (to avoid paying the cloakroom fee at the eventual club, I am wearing only a T Shirt and am freezing!), when we pass O’Neills Bar on Loseby Lane and hear Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan being belted out. I wanted to warm up (and get a pint), and Verity spied a dancefloor…

The Nanna Radleys (a band neither of us had heard of) were playing, and your foot starts tapping (or in my case shoulders bopping) almost the moment you walk in the door.

The atmosphere was heady with pure and simple fun! There is not posturing from the band, no slightly irritating attempt to be "cool" (they just are). It is brilliantly performed covers all the way and it is clear they know their job is to entertain their audience.

I got the drinks in and Verity headed straight for the dance floor. But soon the infectious music - songs you are either guaranteed to know or at the very least sort of remember the tune - had me dancing on the edge of the crowd, clutching the drinks. The bar was packed, and all seats long claimed.

The Nanna’s (as they call themselves) are a six piece band. They are led by singers, and sisters, Lauren and Sarah Bird. Sarah has a powerful, belting voice that brims with soul and a diva presence as big and fabulous as the flower pinned to her quiff. Lauren has a sensuous voice that leads you happily to the dancefloor (shoulders bopping!) and injects excitement into the repertoire as she throws herself into a rendition of Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out.

The rest of the band is made up of David (guitar), Glen (bass), Carlos (drummer), and Craig (keys); all (to my unprofessional yet judgmental-a-though-a-professional-eye) brilliantly talented. One really nice and quite unique point to note about the Nanna’s is the range of ages: 27 - 57. Yet their laidback camaraderie and genuine warmth can be easily felt by the crowd.

Between them, they soon even have the men dancing and you feel like they are at least partly drawn by the music and not the ladies on a Hen Night already occupying the dance floor. I soon make my way to join Verity, sufficiently embarrassing myself with my dance moves but cheered by the Hen flirting with me (I think…).

Without a doubt, the Nanna’s provide Leicester’s least boring night out. You can sit, sup and sing along or bound onto the dancefloor and enjoy the fact that it’s not sticky. Like the Nanna’s themselves, the bar was choker with different ages; this is a band suitable for all.

Verity wasn’t bored. We’re going back.

Nanna Radleys Band website:

About the reviewer
Alex Bliss is a writer and producer. He is co-director of Original Ink, a theatre production company who have supported local writers, directors and actors by producing evenings of short plays which include: Hashtag, Mashed and The Meltdown Test. He has written plays for the 14/48 at the Y Theatre and currently works in events at Curve in Leicester. He is writing the book for a new musical soon to be performed at the Sue Townsend Theatre called Madeline and Joe, which revolves around a relationship between a young couple trying to conceive.

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