1st February 2003
Featuring: BBC Concert Orchestra & Anne Dudley
Brixton Academy, usually home to the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Jamiroquai's funk-fuelled frolicking, hosted a slightly different event on the 1st February. Club Classical, having debuted at the Royal Festival Hall, upped and moved to South West London for it's third instalment of chill out tunes. An odd choice of venue for the BBC Concert Orchestra perhaps, but then the evening's repertoire was not exactly traditional.
If there was any scepticism as to whether a rock venue could attract a crossover of audiences it was swiftly quashed by the turnout. Magnetic flashing blue lights were being given away in handfuls for all that turned up, which occupied many an intrigued classical clubber until the BBC Concert orchestra adorned the stage with a similar blue hue. Although many of the arrangements would have been familiar with those who had attended the Festival Hall debut, the whole setting was geared towards more of a club atmosphere with Rob da Bank sandwiched around the orchestra's main slot.
As the place filled up with the sounds of Moby, Goldfrapp, and Ennio Morricone, the audience lapped up the ambience, so much in fact that you got the impression sofas and lava lamps would not have gone amiss here. Anne Dudley's arrangements of modern day chill out tunes created a live sense of tranquillity, and just the sight of a full orchestra on stage at Brixton Academy was an impressive display. Aside from their finale, the orchestra received their biggest reception of the evening as the opening bars of Groove Amada's "At the River" started up. The track summed up what the night was about - classic chill out tunes with a classical slant.
A few elements of the night might have been better saved for the Festival Hall - Fiona Talkington's presenting slots seemed to baffle the audience, and it being Brixton Academy, there was the constant hum of crowd noise, but sonically the BBC Concert Orchestra brought Dudley's arrangements to life with a stirring force that left the audience beaming blissfully all the way to the tube station.
- Helenka Bednar