The Kings Head, Barnet [Pub]
There's only one thing better than watching a top-class entertainer performing to a pub audience -- and that's watching two top-quality entertainers on the same bill. And all for the price of a few pints.
The King's Head obviously realised they were on to a winner when they booked country singer Billy Patrick because they got crooner Gary Allen as part of the package too. And together these guys put on a fabulous night of entertainment.
The great thing about the Patrick/Allen (no pun intended) partnership is that they perform one song each. So if you prefer country more than swing there's always another of your favourites on the way.
Billy is a larger-than-life character, full of anecdotes, and he obviously has a deep love of country, rock and Americana music. Billy can tackle any type of country number, both old and new, and the King's Head punters loved his Glen Campbell medley; a lively version of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire and Darius Rucker's catchy Waggon Wheel.
Silver fox Gary , who devotes much of his time to singing with rock band Engine Room, swings his way through Rat Pack numbers and the work of other balladeers. First off was Tony Bennett's Chicago quickly followed by the Sinatra favourites The Lady Is A Tramp and You Make Me Feel So Young; plus a great interpretation of Sammy Davis Jr's novelty number Mr Bojangles.
The two distinct styles blended well together but I could have done without the constant banter between the two of them.
The guys present a non-stop two hour show and highlights included Billy's interpretation of Don Henley's rock ballad Heart Of The Matter and the Paul Carrack/Ace classic How Long; and Gary's powerhouse version of Bobby Darin's swinging Mack The Knife.
Billy and Gary have a great enthusiasm for their work and this shines through in their performances. No wonder the Barnet pub have already invited them back.
I must admit I would like to see Billy and Gary do solo shows too. So I will be keeping my eyes peeled to the Lemonrock gig lists in future weeks.
COLIN FENN, DJ/Freelance JournalistWednesday 14 February 2018
Thank you, Colin, for taking time to come out on a freezing February night to brave the evening's Entertainment !
It's good to receive critique, and the positive vibe was most welcome!
Chris Baker is so determined to please his audiences that he is constantly learning new songs.
There aren't many solo singers who have more than 150 songs in their repertoire but Chris doesn't rest on his laurels and in recent weeks has added the Muse songs Uprising and Resistance.
At the King's Head he performed another of the newbies -- Take That's highly complex power ballad The Flood -- and he made a terrific job of it.
Chris was in top form again at a venue that keeps bringing him back. The first half (the longest I have ever seen by any performer) kicked off with Michael Buble's classic arrangement of the standard Cry Me A River.
It was followed by other great swing numbers like I'm Your Man, Don't Rain On My Parade, A Foggy Day In London Town, Up A Lazy River and Save The Last Dance For Me, a la Michael Buble.
But as this was a special party Chris showed his incredible versatility by switching styles at the request of the birthday boy. He was able to perform much more modern material (to an equally high standard) and pumped out hits by the Killers, Kings of Leon, the Kaiser Chiefs and Robbie Williams.
The one hour forty minute "half" included also songs by Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin and Stealer's Wheel.
The shorter second half offered more jazz, swing, pop, rock and even ska numbers like Lip Up Fatty.
Chris Baker is already booked to appear again at the King's Head. No surprise there, then.
Colin Fenn, DJ, journalistWednesday 2 February 2011
Thank you Colin, It was a great night and an enjoyable challenge, we had such fun I almost forgot to take a break!
It's not often that you discover a potential star singing on the pub circuit.
But Chris Baker is no ordinary performer. Here's a guy who wouldn't be out of place on Britain's Got Talent.
How many artists would be brave enough to stand in front of a boozy group of pub regulars (mostly men) and sing Music Of The Night from The Phantom Of The Opera?
Or tackle a large selection of songs from that crooning master of suaveness Michael Buble?
Chris, armed only with backing tracks and a couple of mics, 'swings' his way through the Canadian's imaginative arrangements of classics like Everything, Home, Cry Me A River, I've Got The World On A String, Haven't Met You Yet, Fever and Save The Last Dance For Me.
But Hemel Hempstead-based Chris is no Michael Buble 'covers' artist. He has a wide-ranging repertoire that takes in Spandau Ballet (Gold, True, Through The Barricades), David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust, Life On Mars) and, almost unbelievably, Green Day (American Idiot, Wake Me Up When September Ends).
In between all this (during his two lengthy sets) Chris chucks in some Beatles, a medley of 1970's hits, plus some Tony Christie, Richard Marx and REM.
It's as if Chris likes surprising his audiences. And he did just that at the Kings Head when he demonstrated an incredible falsetto voice on the Stylistics' hits You Make Me Feel Brand New and Sing Baby Sing.
He stunned the punters again when he performed the recent Plan B smash She Said, complete with totally acceptable rap.
But it was the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical number that brought a deserved ovation from the lively crowd.
The most remarkable thing about Chris Baker is that he started performing professionally only in January of this year. His father asked him to sing at his 75th birthday party and it took Chris time to pluck up the courage and take the musical plunge.
He should be very grateful to his dad as I think Mr Baker could have a big career as a singer. He has a powerful, tuneful voice and a nice sense of style when performing.
And I suggest that he enters next year's Britain's Got Talent show. He deserves to go far in a programme like that.
Colin Fenn, DJ, journalistTuesday 26 October 2010
Thank you so much for such a kind review, I'm glad you enjoyed the night as much as I did in performing it. Hope to see you again soon.