So once again Pensions Rocks hit the 100 Club in London. This was no ordinary Pension Rocks though- this was five previous winners of Pensions Rocks battling it out to be the best!
Perfectly timed so that Christmas drinks can coincide with rock gods strutting their stuff, it is apparent upon entering the legendary venue that once again organiser Stuart Breyer has done a fantastic job. This night is all about charity, and with the venue selling out hours before the first band took to the stage, and the total raised cleared £6,000.
The decision on who would be the winners of this champion of champions night was in the hands of the judges- David Rowley, Diana Nye, Andrew Dickson and Paul King.
Our host for tonight, Redington’s Founder and Co-CEO Dawid Konotey- Ahulu, took to the stage at around 7:45pm to introduce our first act and get the night started.
Old Grey Whistle NEST (NEST)
Chosen Charity- Help for Heroes www.helpforheroes.org.uk
First up to grace the stage were the offering from the National Employment Savings Trust, The Old Grey Whistle NEST. They kicked off their pop heavy set with the Girls Aloud song ‘Sound of the Underground’ and NEST CEO Tim Jones set out the stall for guitarists with the riff ringing everybody’s already boozy heads. The vocals were a little shaky to start but by the time the mid set medley that included George Michael’s classic ‘Faith’ had begun, they had caught up with Tim’s guitar skills. The bands version of ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ by Blondie set them up nicely for what was undoubtedly the highlight of the set- Emma Winfield and Linda Kissi trading verses on the Aerosmith and Run DMC song ‘Walk This Way’. All in all a good open to the show.
Full Setlist- 1. Sound of the Underground- Girls Aloud 2. I Kissed a Girl- Katy Perry 3. Medley- Faith- George Michael, Mama Do The Hump- Rizzle Kicks, Not Fade Away- Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley- Bo Diddley 4. Toxic- Britney Spears 5. Hanging on the Telephone- Blondie 6. Walk This Way- Run DMC & Aerosmith
Funds ‘N Roses (Towers Watson)
Chosen Charity- Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org
Next onto the stage were Funds ‘N Roses from Towers Watson. Once again a very pop start to the set with ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady GaGa. This band looked as if they’d been dragged through a wardrobe of rock attire of the last 40 years- green leopard print trousers, a Thriller jacket and a bandana. The Thriller jacket made sense (or did it?) when the band next launched into Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. The standard of guitar playing set out by Tim Jones was matched and maybe even bettered by Roman Subbotin smashing the riff and pulling out some rock poses to boot. The songs got heavier as the set went on and finished with our first big singalong of the night ‘Living on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi and ‘Paradise City’ by Guns ‘N Roses. I’m glad the set ended with some rock songs, it’s Pensions ROCKS and so far we’d only had pop!
Full Setlist- 1. Bad Romance- Lady GaGa 2. Beat It- Michael Jackson 3. Material Girl- Madonna 4. Like a Pill- Pink 5. Living on a Prayer- Bon Jovi 6 Paradise City- Guns ‘n Roses
White Tiger (Schroders)
Chosen Charity- Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org
The third band kicked off with ‘Heartbreaker’ by Pat Benatar and the crowd were definitely up for it by this time. A surge towards the front showed that Schroders had bought along a strong following. This was followed by AC/DC’s signature song ‘You shook me all night long’ and had the crowd singing along with lead vocalist Carol Shand. The two White Tiger guitarists sounded great together and the rhythm section, Richard Scarr on Bass and Ken Lambden on Drums ensured this band sounded really tight. ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ followed and kept the crowd moving. Song choice of the night has to go to White Tiger for their version of ‘Go your own way’ by Fleetwood Mac. It may have had something to do with the extra hour of drinking but the crowd were hitting top form now.
Full Setlist- 1. Heartbreaker- Pat Benatar 2. You Shook me All Night Long- AC/DC 3. Because the Night- Patti Smith 4. River Deep, Mountain High- Ike and Tina Turner 5. Rolling in the Deep- Adele 6. Go your own way- Fleetwood Mac
Pink Torpedo- F&C Investments
Chosen Charity- The Backup Trust www.backuptrust.org.uk
The buzz around this band seemed inescapable around the venue before the start. The name on everybody’s lips- Pink Torpedo. From the very first verse of ‘Born to be wild’ it was clear to see why. When frontman Carl Yearwood launched into his unrivalled vocals, it would be easy to forget the rest of the band but James Rixon on drums and Simon Cordery on bass keep this band moving, while Paul Grice on guitar nails every note and chord to make each song sound incredible. By the time the band had moved onto the Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Foxy Lady’, the crowd were in awe of this band. The band finished with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and from the opening riff right to the end of the song there was so much movement in the front of the crowd I think we may have had our first Pensions Rocks mosh! Incredible band that would be hard to follow.
Full Setlist- 1. Born to be wild- Steppenwolf 2. Sunshine of your love- Cream 3. The Riverboat Song- Ocean Colour Scene 4. Foxy lady- Jimi Hendrix 5. Pretty Vacant- Sex Pistols 6. Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana
Moral Hazzard- Sackers
Chosen Charity- Richard House www.richardhouse.org.uk and Contact the Elderly www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk
Last but by no means least were Moral Hazzard. Taking to the stage to a chant of ‘Hazzard, Hazzard, Hazzard’, this band opened their set with another GaGa song- ‘Poker Face’. Guitarist Nigel Cayless and frontman Ian Cormican never stop moving and make sure the crowd does the same. Next up came another Jimi Hendrix song ‘Fire’ before the only rock song from this century to be played on the night ‘If You Wanna’ by The Vaccines. The frenetic energy of this band was perfect for their choice of songs and John Parkinson on drums likes to hit hard and make a lot of noise so Paul McCartney’s classic ‘Live and Let Die’ must have been his choice. The band closed the set with ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand, to which Nigel Cayless looked be having great fun with the riff and also the crowd. A strong close to the night before the judges decided on their top 3.
Full Setlist- 1. Poker Face- Lady GaGa 2. Fire- Jimi Hendrix 3. If You Wanna- The Vaccines 4. Alive- Pearl Jam 5. Live and let Die- Paul McCartney 6. Communication Breakdown- Led Zeppelin 7. Take Me Out- Franz Ferdinand
After discussions a deliberations while the raffle winners were being announced the judges came to their decision on the top 3 of Pensions Rocks- We are the champions. In third place were White Tiger, in second were Funds ‘N Roses but the clear winners were Pink Torpedo! Congratulations to them and to all of the bands who played. The night was not over yet as Pink Torpedo took to the stage once again to fly through a few more songs including ‘Times Like These’ by Foo Fighters and ‘Back In the USSR’ by The Beatles.
More photos of all of last night's acts will be on this page later this afternoon