ANYONE who admires the music of legendary blues artist Joe Cocker would have appreciated Centrestage’s homage at The Little Theatre on the Wharf over the weekend.
Entitled, Joe Cocker – The voice that rocked the world, the show was a fitting tribute to the British singer as the musicians from Port Elizabeth-based Centrestage strutted their stuff on stage.
Lead singer and also the driving force behind the show, veteran artist Francois Hugo performed the songs of Joe Cocker with passion, and the rest of the band showed they were no less capable.
INTRODUCING THE BAND: Centrestage artists performed “Joe Cocker – The voice that rocked the world”, at the Little Theatre on the Wharf to appreciative audiences last weekend. From left are Deon Mathys (bass guitar), Kevin Mathys (drums), Claire Venn (backing vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar), Francois Hugo (lead singer), Michelle Mathys (backing vocals, keyboards, sax) and Alan Kozak (lead guitar) Picture: ROB KNOWLES
From the expert playing of lead guitarist Alan Kozak, to the brilliant musicality of Deon Mathys on bass guitar and the skill of his brother Kevin on drums and daughter Michelle and Claire Venn on keyboards and backup vocals.
Friday evening saw the first performance of the tribute show and the capacity audience showed their appreciation by singing along with the classic numbers. From Unchain My Heart to You are Beautiful Tonight and, of course, the classic version of With a Little Help From My Friends which Cocker sang at Woodstock in 1969.
Kozak’s handling of some of the more complex riffs was superb and Mathys’ energy on bass reminded me of a musical version of Fozzy Bear. The fact is, these are all excellent musicians and, more importantly, their musicianship is tight and perfectly blended.
The Little Theatre on the Wharf is the ideal venue for this sort of intimate concert, as the audience can get up-close and personal with the performers in a way that would be impossible at the larger venues in the major centres.
Look out for Vegas showgirl Flame Metter next week, who will be at the Little Theatre for her show, Up in Flames goes Country.