With the quiet confidence of those who’ve been there, done that and have nothing to prove, the California Dreaming musicians ambled onstage at the Brewhouse to transport us to the 60s and 70s.
It took a while before the audience cheers kicked in, perhaps because they were instantly immersed in memories of mellow music from the likes of Stealer’s Wheel, Fleetwood Mac or the Mamas and the Papas. Appropriately, Here comes the Sun warmed them and by the time of a sultry, mellifluent version of California Dreamin’, they were ready for some real participation.
5 genial musicians, each with an impeccable pedigree having performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jagger, Bowie, Rod Stewart and Lily Allen, could not have been more chilled if they’d been playing in an ice bar. They were supported by a female vocalist who at times lacked depth but came into her own with Carly Simon’s Coming Around Again, though star of the show was undoubtedly keyboard and saxophone player, Ritchie Cottill.
Singers and guitarists James Graydon and James Nisbet (not the TV actor, as a friend of mine thought she had booked to see!), have brought together musicians of immense calibre who project an easygoing air which permeates the theatre. Delivering intelligent phrasing such as in a bluesy Maggie May, and twists such as a jazz-orientated ending, but never detracting from the heart of the old standards, catch them anywhere you can.