Articles - Pensions Rocks 2012 Final Night

 After two high quality nights at the 100 Club, Actuarial Post made our way to the final night of Pensions Rocks 2012. The venue filled up early and the audience seemed in a very enthusiastic mood.
 Our host for the evening was Steve Delo, Chief Executive of PAN Governance LLP who introduced us to the judges for the night- David Rowley, Terry O’Malley and Dr Ros Altmann. Steve also encouraged the audience to ‘take the roof off of the 100 Club’. He also passed out a huge thanks and congratulations to the organizers of the event, Stuart Breyer of Redington and Charlie Thomas of Pensions Week. The current total of money raised for the charities is more than £22,000 and figures will be finalised this afternoon.
 With the introductions complete we kicked off the music with The Fundertones from MAN/GLG. After a shaky start Zaki Orbell on lead vocals lead a stirring rendition of Blondie’s ‘Picture This’. It is hard to emulate an icon such as Blondie, but Zaki Orbell channelled the attitude and confidence of the superstar and made the song her own. A strong guitar solo complimented the vocals perfectly and the song closed with huge applause from the audience. Next on the set list was a song previously sung on night two by AJ ReBELLion, ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone. Zaki’s sensuous vocals slowed the tempo but not the mood of the audience who reacted to this song with enthusiasm. The tempo might of slowed with this number but with strong base the song still packed a rock punch. The band also showed their imaginative side with Zaki Orbell using a megaphone to sing portions of the song. This touch of rockstar brilliance was met with a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd and gave the song an added layer not seen before.
 From one icon to another, the Fundertones then took on the legendry David Bowie and ‘Rebel Rebel’. The bands enthusiasm was infectious and soon the crowd were clapping along to the legendry song with an excellent guitar solo by Andy Preston. The highlight of their set,however, was the classic 80’s rock-pop ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol, and The Fundertones ‘Rebel Yell’ was evident throughout with powerful vocals once again complimented by an energetic guitar solo. Judge Ros Altman commended them on what a fantastic start to the evening they had made which was evident by a strong set with fantastic range and variety.
 The second band of the evening to take the stage was Hip Flask Junkies from Russell Investments, kicking off with Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Go My Way’. Whilst the vocals could have been stronger, the strong riff and bass delivered the song well. Next on the set list was a different choice, some might say brave and others just ‘funky’, because sure enough Hip Flask Junkies brought funk into Pensions Rocks with ‘Play That Funky Music’ by Wild Cherry. Did Pensions Rocks enjoy this? Judging by the numerous funk head bobs in the audience, I would say a definite yes. Throughout this performance Scott Cranshaw moved around the stage with confidence and played to the crowd like a true rock front man and this confidence carried on throughout the next song, ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet. The highlight of the set was a rock twist on a modern feel good pop song, ‘I Got A Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas. Whilst some may of shied away from this number due to the variety of vocals needed, this did not stop Scott Cranshaw who delivered the number well and got the crowd going to this feel good modern song. A special mention must go to Andy Harradine and Dan Murray whose strong guitar riffs made this song stand out. The set closed with ‘Rocking In The Free World’ by Neil Young and once again the song was delivered with an awesome lead guitar riff and enthusiastic vocals. Whilst judge David Rowley was a little uncomplimentary about the bands appearance, judge Terry O’Malley noted that the set just got better with each song, a statement agreed upon by a cheer from the crowd.
 Next were Moral Hazard from Sackers, who had an abundance of support from the crowd from the get go with even the first mention of their name garnering a huge roar from the excited crowd. Moral Hazard were making their debut at Pensions Rocks and they kicked off with ‘Communication Breakdown’ by Led Zeppelin. ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand was up next and got the crowd dancing and singing along. Ian Cormican was every bit the enigmatic front man with an apparent unlimited amount of energy on the stage. Ian’s animated lead whipped the crowd up and got the crowd singing along to this modern rock anthem. Nigel Cayless on lead guitar had the females in the crowd cooing and screaming in a way that not even John, Paul, George and Ringo managed. Not only was his guitar work up there with the best but his poses, windmills and foot on the amp really made this band stand out. Next up for the band was ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam. Rich Forrest on drums gave the band a hard rock edge, whilst the one of the highlights of the set was the following song- ‘Back In The USSR’ by the aforementioned Beatles. The band finished their set with the power ballad ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ by Tiffany. This received a great response from the audience as did the rest of the set. One of our judges commented how the band reminded him of Iggy and The Stooges. High praise indeed.
 Standard Life were up next in the guise of Tax-Free Clash, who immediately caught the crowd’s eye as the boys had donned kilts and the ladies had injected some glamour into the proceedings by donning shades and glam dresses. Another rendition of a Blondie classic was first on the list and with the band exuding rock star confidence in their rock star threads, this was sure to be a crowd pleaser. The band did not disappoint. Hard drumming and strong vocals brought this song to life, with the crowd singing along and lending their vocals to the chorus. Next on the set list was Green Day’s ‘Basketcase’, a grunge-rock anthem which was executed perfectly by Tax-Free Clash. Whilst Andy Weir took on vocals for the song, Lindsay Strachan and Julie Allan fell back into a backing dancer role, which was performed well with perfectly timed choreography. The dancing and strong choreography carried on to the next song where Lindsay Strachan and Julie Allan channelled their inner Ike & Tina Turner and executed perfectly timed classic Turner shimmies to the tune of ‘Proud Mary’. Proud Mary certainly got the crowd rolling and the fun that the band were obviously having on stage was transferred to the crowd who responded with zeal. The next song was a daring choice, a rock take on the chart hit ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce. Whilst a wandering tambourine nearly floored an audience member, Tax-free Clash made this song their own, giving the pop number a rock edge. This was followed by another brave choice, ‘Edge of Glory’ by Lady Gaga, however, Lindsay Strachan and Julie Allan matched Gaga’s confidence and on stage presence and performed the song well. They were backed up with a great guitar solo giving the song even more attitude and depth than the original. The set finished with a great rendition of rock anthem ‘Pretender’ by Foo Fighters. Although the judges said their look was a cross between the B52’s and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, their range and variety of songs was matched perfectly with their look, giving them a strong all-round rock set.
 The next band up were a 7 piece from Redington- Rough Justice. Kicking off with ‘Brown Sugar’ by The Rolling Stones, audience members had to double take because all were fooled by the Keith Richards lookalike on guitar. The only difference was the left handed playing of Marcus Taverner. He made the distinct riff of the Stones classic his own and laid the base for the rest of the band to thrive. Next up was Maroon 5’s song ‘Hands All Over’. Great vocals from Alicia Loxley and Juliet Arthur carried this song through. Everytime keys man Dawid Konotey-Ahulu seemed to look towards the crowd he received a cheer and a simple wave of his hands had the crowd going wild! The band followed this song up with ‘Bad Case of Loving you’ by Robert Palmer before launching into ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon- this song received the biggest crowd sing along and enabled our Keef-a-like to take another riff into his clutches and lay it down like a true guitar champion. Finishing with ‘Moving To New York’ by The Wombats this band received a great response from both the crowd and the judges who said that the front women had the X Factor and that the lead guitarist was the only to look like a lead guitarist on the night.
 Our final band of Pensions Rocks 2012 was Age Against The Machine from MGM Advantage. With a strong crowd following all in band t shirts the band were sure to receive a huge response and didn’t disappoint when kicking off with the REM hit ‘Losing My Religion’. They were the only band over the 3 nights to use an acoustic guitar and a mandolin. These two instruments gave a new vibe to the 100 Club and Lottie Mawson impressed everyone with her energy whilst playing the acoustic and singing the majority of the songs. Her voice was the most impressive of the night. Another crowd sing along was on cue next when the band played The Zutons song ‘Valerie’, itself brought to the masses by the late Amy Winehouse. The crowd were getting more into the band with every note and every strum and this didn’t slow down upon the next song ‘With or Without You’ by U2. Every song seemed tailor picked for the crowds pleasure and this didn’t change with ‘Under The Bridge’ by Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Often a difficult song to sing- Lottie nailed it again and by this time drummer David Nutall had his shirt off and was pleasing/ scaring the crowd with his best Keith Moon impression. Age Against The Machine finished with ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac which was hailed as a great song choice by the judges. They also gave top marks for the topless drummer and congratulated the band for the great sound they had.
 The winners of the finals night of Pensions Rocks were Moral Hazard! As always congratulations to them, a very tough night for the judges but this band may have just edged it. A huge congratulations to all of the other great bands who performed and of course another thanks and congratulations to Stuart and Charlie- without them this night truly wouldn’t be possible.
 We at Actuarial Post cannot wait for next year’s event and we already have the drum set, guitar and microphone in the office with the hope of donning some KISS style make up and gracing the 100 Club stage next time around!
 Until then...

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