Last night I attended a great gig at the Bedford in Balham. It was the Xmas special of a band called Kohiba (a ten piece jazz/funk/soul band) with a number of guest appearances from various people, including Herbie Flowers (go to the Google…), a number of people associated with The Orpheus Centre (the charity the concert was raising funds for) and Caliko (also a fantastic band).

It was a great night and I thought it was the best of both worlds — Caliko did some of their original numbers which are fantastic [Go! Go now, I don’t care if you don’t come back, go listen to Lifeless MP3 (Warning: 4MB)] and then Kohiba and the rest of the guests also did some really great covers … everything from jazz through to rock and pop. There were a disturbing number of Xmas tunes (Wham! should really be dead be now, last Xmas or no…) and even a (terrible) attempt at a Christmas Carol. Face it, the audience participation probably made it worse 😉

What impressed me most about both bands (and all the guests) was how they completely looked like they were having the most fun in the world for the entire time they were on stage. Their glee was absolutely infectious and it had everyone jumping around and smiling like maniacs. It was an absolute quality gig, wonderful music and a really inspiring bunch of people. The Orpheus Centre also looks an absolutely amazing concept and from what I hear it makes a massive difference — its aim is to “provide opportunities for young disabled people to participate in and enjoy music and drama”. Top stuff.

Slight Cheat: This is actually Caliko at another gig earlier this year, but you get the idea.