The Southsea Alternative Choir at The Wedgewood Rooms REVIEW: ‘A triumphant show’

Jim Lines and Megan Linford at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor
Jim Lines and Megan Linford at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor

Eight years ago a group of Portsmouth musicians decided to don their acoustic guitars and take a few buckets round to the pubs of Albert Road at Christmas to collect money for charity.

Soon, gigs were organised, the line-up expanded and now The Southsea Alterative Choir is the hottest ticket in town at Christmas – their now-annual Wedge show sold out weeks in advance.

Charlie Waddington at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor

Charlie Waddington at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor

The place is rammed early on, with the crowd eagerly awaiting a good old sing song. Opening with The Beach Boys’ Wouldn't It Be Nice, the first set is a perfect mix of ’60s and ’70s classics (Monkees, Faces) and indie anthems by Primal Scream and Oasis. However the highlight is an extraordinary vocal performance from guest vocalist Khaleda Brophy Harmer on The Supremes' Natural Woman that leaves the hairs on the back of your head standing.The set finishes with a wonderful version of Fat Boy Slim's Praise You.

After a short break the boys and Khaleda are joined by Tash Alladin and Meg Linford to form a gospel vocal trio that takes the night to a different level, especially on Lou Reed’s Perfect Day and Blur's Tender. Tash belts out another Primal Scream stormer, Movin’ On Up, before Meg provides an excellent foil to Jim Lines for the greatest Christmas song of all time, The Pogues’ Fairy Tale of New York.

An encore of Wham's' Last Christmas provides the perfect end to a triumphant show.

Khaleda Brophy Harmer at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor

Khaleda Brophy Harmer at The Southsea Alternative Choir's annual Wedgewood Rooms show, December 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor