By Tristan Hazell
Wade Bayliss was back at the tabernacle for another of his Island Experiments and he has been tinkering with his formula since the last one.
The 'house band' being joined by guests set up has been replaced with a less chaotic running order of artists MC'd by Wade in his now familiar white jacket (a jacket which seems to get whiter as it gets older).
I missed IN XANADU and ANDY MITCHELL but was in time to catch the indescribably cool CUTHBERT 80 with JAMES SIMMINS & PATRICK LONG and CHELSEA DIXON.
HAYLEY TUCKER who gave us three songs with that belter of a voice of hers.
Cool VALENTIN GERLIER arrived with a duet of vocal assistants providing the harmonies, replacing the advertised string quartet. He has some fine, well crafted and soulful songs.
I had not heard of JAKE EMLYN. Why not? He has the appearance of the love child of Brian Jones and Marianne Faithful sitting elfin like behind a keyboard resplendent in red velvet and topper. his songs (he don't rap, he tells us. But he do) are joyfully observational, riddled with angst, insecurity, self assurance, Hilarity, naivety, wisdom and pathos, all delivered in a wonderfully camp manner. Deliciously funny and very very good. If Jake doesn't become a star there is something wrong with the world.
Wade and his band: PATRICK LONG, MARTIN SAVALE , JAYGUN, MATT WINN, MR TOM BONES + HENRY BLAKE played us through to the headline act of the evening:
ORLANDO SEALE AND THE SWELL.
I've known Orlando for a couple of years, first saw him perform at the Troubadour and then he very kindly took part in one of my spoken word/music things in the Tabernacle bar in 2009. Things have moved on and Orlando arrived back at the Tabernacle with a 10 piece band (including strings, flute, clarinet and a number of drums) fresh from his BBC Live sessions success and blew the place away with a short but brilliant set. His band is very, very good and tight - orchestral training certainly brings discipline by the shed-load. Orlando's stage experience (he is a multi-talented man) shone through in his demeanour and commitment.
I am not going to attempt to describe what these people do save to say that it is Big in every sense , almost operatic in it's ambition. Orlando's lyrics are literary and lyrical, considered and there for a purpose. It's rock and roll for grown ups.
The set was far too short followed by the delightful scene of the man coming to the front of the stage for 10 minutes to chat with well wishers and new fans... By the way, Orlando is a babe magnet.
It was a consistently good night and testament to Wade's growing alchemy skills.The next experiment is in a couple of months.