Never the Bride Cardiff PentyrchWhat’s great about live music is that sometimes a great musical performance surprises you when you just did not see it coming. Having not seen Never the Bride live before I had no expectations as to what to was about to unfold, but the excitement evident from members of the Acapela audience who had, should have warned me we were about to experience something very special.

Last weekend Never the Bride hit the Acapela stage and brought us an energetic, powerful and often emotional concert that had the audience stunned by its brilliance. Oh and it’s fair to say also a night of some comedy as the pair delivered an amusing string of great stories from their “Rock and Roll” career.

The opening number, an amazing rendition of the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” certainly had the audience entranced and from there on you could sense the expectation building in the crowd.

Never the Bride with Nikki Lamborn (vocals) and Catherine “Been” Feeney (piano, guitar, vocals) ably supported by drums and lead guitar ( who also provided some incredible guitar solos) provided a first set combining  their  wonderful original material, which was equally as powerful as the other covers they play which included a wonderful version of “Me and Bobby Mcgee” (Kris Kristofferson).

The first set was ended triumphantly with the bands tour de force “The Living Tree” written by the duo, which was a huge hit for Dame Shirley Bassey. “The Living Tree” was recorded by Dame Shirley for her 2007 album Get the Party Started. The album was produced by Lamborn and Feeney and that should tell you all you need to know about this duos musical standing.

Nikki’s infectious sense of humour was evident here as she told the story of how they managed to get a CD of the song to the welsh legend by leaving it at reception in the gym Dame Shirley frequents in Monaco! The Living Tree performance was phenomenal and you could hear the audience gasp when the final chords were left floating in the high spaces in the chapel! Absolutely stunning, one of the best individual song performances Acapela has ever heard.

A drink or two later and the audience excitedly returned back to their seats with the band continuing their comedic performance introducing the singalong “Don’t Trudge Mud in The House of Love”. Nikki’s powerful vocals pack a real punch and this with her strong stage presence makes the concert a visual as well as audible feast!

But not to be outdone, Been’s performance on piano provides a real driving force to the whole proceedings and when she steps out from behind the grand piano to play the guitar and  take lead vocals you get to really understand this really is a team effort!

The second set continues at some pace and sees David’s Bowie’s Life on Mars performed effortlessly and with such great passion – resulting in rapturous applause from the audience. If I thought it could not get better I was wrong as the band perform two of their own powerful compositions Tiger Bay and April Rain closing the second set to a well deserved standing ovation.

All in all a night of music that I will remember for some time, for both the superb individual performances but also for the amazing powerful performance of the whole band which gave one of the most exciting concerts Acapela has seen for sometime. “Ladies of Rock” I salute you!

Paul James – Programme Director, Acapela Studio

Set List

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
BETTY’S SONG
BOBBIE McGEE
LOSER IN LOVE
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
MIND HOW YOU GO – BEEN LEAD VOCAL
LIVING TREE

SET 2.

DON’T TRUDGE MUD IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE
LOVE FINDS THE YOUNG AND OLD
LIFE ON MARS
LIKE THE WAY I DO
I GOT A CALLING – BEEN LEAD VOCAL
TIGER BAY.
APRIL RAIN
SECRET LOVE