UCLU Live Music Society took to the Bloomsbury Theatre stage last month. Anjelica Phoebe Barbe was there to see how the society would make the most of the step-up from Mulley’s
Rhapsody: A Live Music Concert was UCLU Live Music Society’s highly anticipated large-scale production at The Bloomsbury Theatre. As their first ever venture out of the familiar territory of Mulley’s, there was some nervousness in tackling the challenge of a much larger venue, such as the sound tech requirements of the concert. However, the collective efforts of the cast and crew paid off and no one was disappointed by the evening’s performances. The musicians produced many accomplished and enjoyable covers, with each set punctuated by projections of YouTube videos in which UCL student musicians performed their own original songs.
The concert began with a reworking of The Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’ by a whole host of musicians. Dylan Trenouth started off the song with a gentle vocal solo before the lush string section kicked in. The final chorus was a buoyant climax to the track, but the song then faded out acapella-style to a delicate, stripped-back rendition of the chorus, atmospheric in its execution and complete with beautiful vocal harmonies. It was a large departure from the original track – a theme that continued throughout the concert as many other pop and rock songs were originally reinterpreted.
Other tracks that followed the originals more closely, such as the two Muse numbers, were made fresher by being mashed-up with reverb-heavy extracts from less contemporary tunes. The undulating electric bass groove on ‘Uprising’ amplified the chemistry of the musicians on stage and made them seem like a band in their own right. But INKA’s trip hop-inspired version of ‘Hide and Seek’ proved most impressive with its bass-heavy drumbeat and melancholy sound.
Occasionally the stage became crowded with the cast and some musicians were hidden from view, though this didn’t detract from their impressive sound. The harmonising skills of the singers were showcased most impressively in stunning covers of ‘Some Nights’ and ‘Viva la Vida’. The concert concluded with a rousing rendition of ‘Dog Days Are Over’ – the camaraderie of the cast shone through as Lizzie Jay’s confident lead vocals were sung over a punchy backbeat, with further percussive support in the form of the whole theatre clap-clap clapping along.
All in all, Live Music Society’s first show in Bloomsbury was a resounding success. The highly original acts were performed by many musically gifted students, running through a diverse array of songs with tenacious dexterity. Although the few technical glitches and sound issues distracted the audience occasionally, these minor faults did not deter the audience from giving the cast and crew an undoubtedly deserved full-house standing ovation.