Saturday night saw the hottest musical ticket in Oxfordshire take place at Woodstock Social Club, with "Messy Fridays" pumping out some funky tunage to its adoring mass of fans. But would it be a raving success with lavish praise generously heaped upon them by the many volleyball critics in attendance, or would it all be a big song and dance about nothing?
Kicking off the evening was a delightful "One way or another" hit by Blondie. Rather ironic really when you consider the hair colour of the lead singer, flicking her golden locks around like a slow-motion clip from a Timotei shampoo commercial, Jess looked quite the part as lead singer of this jolly quintet of musicians. And then she opened her mouth and, well, tickle me pink and knock me down with a feather duster, *what* a voice! Smooth as a baby's bottom, her dulcet tones were like golden syrup as they filled the social-club airwaves. Dressed in a white top and with holes in her navy jeans, further irony was apparent when she rattled off "Torn" by Natalia Imbruglia as if she'd been singing for 40 years! Delightful...
On we progressed with several further rousing renditions of well-known tunes belted out, and then it was time to turn down the pop and bring out the Kurt Cobain! The irony this time was provided by the ever youthful Matt Smith. Plain T-shirt, jeans and white trainers finished off with a flat-peaked baseball cap, Smith-Junior certainly looked the part. He also looked like he was about to graffiti the nearest wall, or perform some other street-related mis-demeanour, but staying on the right side of the law he whizzed up and down the guitar strings with arms like well-oiled pistons, some excellent intricate rhythms banged out via the rather ample speakers behind him to perfection, the moment certainly did seem to "smell like teen spirit" to us all! Fine work Smith-Junior!
A quick breather between sets allowed Jess time to guzzle down some more honey and Matt a quick bit of artistry with the spray can out back. And with audience members now populating the dance floor with glasses fully re-charged, it was time to bring out the style and class of the big fella on bass! Who's the daddy? Neil "Pappa Smith" is! And reeking of cool and class he was too, black polo shirt, jeans, a healthy crop of greyish-black hair, cheesy smile, 'nuff said - only a pair of shades and a generous portion of gold bling around the neck were missing from the appearance. Now then, Papa Smith's knees may creak a little on the volleyball court these days, but nothing was creaky about this man's bass fingers, providing stupendous support down in the lower octaves of the overall sound coming from the instruments. Great stuff Papa Smith... with the audience now well-oiled and Oxford's finest volleyball players joined by a smattering of excitable locals, "I love rock and roll" went down a storm with everyone!
But what would a band be without that extra something? It wouldn't be right without someone present who has at some point in life had to play C# harmonic minor, 4 octaves with two hands. Said position in this band is more than capably filled by Luca! Yes OVC's excitable pet spaniel was well up for this little gig! Sporting jeans and a white space-man t-shirt, after a strangely subdued first half, his customary red-bull persona was kicking in at half time, and by the time we reached the second half and the chants of "LUCA, LUCA, LUCA" could be hear emanating from the buoyant audience, his hands were tinkling those ivories like two daddy long-legs spiders having an epileptic fit, fine work from the young Italian spaniel!
A brief mention to the band's drummer - nobody seems to know who he is, but "number 5" performed solidly all evening, a fine asset to the band. With the final song over and the audience begging for more, a final repeat of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" bought the house down with a monumental encore to round off a fine evening in the heart of Woodstock.
So then, the final summing up! Would our quintet of musical talent be sailing through to the next round, or would Simon Cowell be putting his hand up, stopping the music and delivering a confidence-shattering verbal slapping of the highest order?
Not a bit of it! With a hugely varied repertoire of songs there was something for every musical ear. Fantastic vocals by Jess, guitar excellence by the Smith father and son duo, and nimble finger work all evening by Luca. Messy Friday's?! This was a far-from-messy Saturday, Oxford Volleyball Club awards Messy Fridays "10 OUT OF 10"! :-)
Written by Matt Buckley