Along with Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny, The Southsea Alternative Choir’s yearly fundraiser at the Wedgewood Rooms is becoming an essential date on the music calendar.
Tickets sold out well in advance as, for many people, their Christmas celebrations start tonight. The opening set of 1960s favourites and indie standards soon has the crowd singing along, and by the third song, The Zutons’ Valerie, everyone is dancing as well.
The eight-piece band are in fine form with five exceptionally harmonious voices, including Jim Lines leading the line with the voice of an angel.
There is a wonderful surprise halfway through with the legendary Nick Lowe appearing to perform Peace, Love and Understanding, which naturally got one of the biggest cheers of the evening.
The second set sees the band all don paisley shirts for inspired set of songs from 1967, starting with a rousing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band has now expanded with Dan Waldren on keyboards and the highly talented Megan Linford on additional vocals.
Lowe returns for a second guest spot with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful Night, before the band finish off with the sunny California Dreaming and The Monkees’ classic I’m A Believer.
On the night the band managed to raise more than £5,000 for Enable Ability, a Portsmouth charity supporting young people with disabilities.