As I left the office the rain was falling hard, the city was grey and the season was pandemic. I remember when it was the bad guys that wore the masks… funny how these things switch on you when you least expect it. I needed a drink. The light at Ronnie’s bar looked inviting and I knew he had a gin list that would ruin any mother. A quick nod to the doorman and I was inside, I could see the glow of the stage. There was entertainment on the menu and I was starving…
There is something about describing walking to a jazz club in the rain that makes film noir the only stylistic option for me. Sadly, I now have absolutely no way to intelligently transition from that to this review and the juxtaposition of finding The Horne Section in that same environment.
Ronnie Scott’s is a truly amazing venue and even under restricted conditions it still feels like a very special place to see a show – the venue is timeless in style and naturally sets both tone and expectation. We’re ready to begin.
The band walk silently on to the stage to take their places and somehow, without the use of any words or music, they already have the crowd laughing and fully on their side. This alone speaks volumes about how these guys have managed to stay at the top of the game for so long.
As this is the 10 year anniversary show I was trying to think back through all of the times that we have seen these guys perform. We haven’t seen them live for a couple of years and it’s been 3 since we last reviewed them but I think that the first time we saw them was back in 2010 or 2011 on Shaftesbury Avenue with Tim Vine as the guest. It was a fabulous show and just the first of many great nights with these talented performers.
Alex Horne may be the marquee name and lead singer but this truly is band that is greater than the sum of its parts – the whole band contributes to every show in every way possible and it would wrong of me not to call them out – they are Ed Sheldrake (piano), Will Collier (bass), Ben Reynolds (drums), Mark Brown (sax) and Joe Auckland (trumpet).
Tonight is a greatest hits night, a chance for the guys to dust off some classic routines and once again prove that fantastic comedy is timeless. Even the silliest of tunes (Sticky Situation) is a winner, I am a sucker for the caveat song, Less Is More and their interpretations of YMCA and Gonna Be a Lovely Day will never get old.
What highlights a greatest hits gig for me though is if you come away having loved every second and yet you can still name a plethora of tracks that you wished they’d also played. If anyone is taking notes that would include Beatbox, Battleships and the Simply Red Money’s Too Tight To Mention‘ gag.
Watching these guys work is infectious, they are perfectly practiced yet messing about, they are constantly breaking from the set yet always in perfect time. It is a study in organised chaos and the hour just flies by.
I cannot recommend going to see these guys highly enough, especially at the moment when everyone could do with a break from the day-to-day. Because regardless of everything that is going on right now, you can guarantee that any time you have tickets to The Horne Section it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be…(beat)… a lovely daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…
Clown Stars: * * * * *
@ Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London