Not many people realised this at the time, but exactly 44 years earlier on 8th October 1971, John Lennon released his mega-hit “Imagine”. I don’t believe it is simply coincidence that connects these two events; on the contrary, I believe it was destined to be another pivotal moment in the history of music.
The band reunited for the first time after an eventful summer tour in Romania, grieving the loss of some key players to the world of graduate life.
There is a saying somewhere that goes ‘term hasn’t started until IC Big Band has played’. I know, you’re probably surprised, but it’s true. The highly anticipated Freshers’ gig was held, as it is every year, at Imperial’s biggest and best nightclub, Metric. The scene was set for a rowdy night, with barriers lining the front of the stage, presumably to stop the overly enthusiastic fans from getting too cozy with the musicians.
The gig kicked off with a few of the band’s favourites, notably: Love For Sale, Sing Sang Sung and the trumpet feature ‘Have you Seen them Cakes?’. The cats were sounding pretty tight and the night was off to a hell of a start. On hearing extracts of swing, latin and funk emanating from inside, freshers were soon flocking to the source of the entertainment. Now the audience were warmed up it was time to lure them onto the dance floor and it wasn’t long before the ‘man with the pipe’ started jiving away to an undulating rendition of Glenn Miller’s classic ‘In the Mood’. Soon a good crowd were dancing away like there was no tomorrow spurred on by the promise of a best dancer award.
The first appearance of the night for our star vocalist, Pete Noden, from the acclaimed Techtonics, was greeted with rapturous applause and continued to uplift the feeling in the crowd. The evening was now in full swing. After the closing chord in Mack the Knife, the band took a short break in order to refuel taking, full advantage of the wonderful selection at the bar.
The second half picked up where it had left off, this time with Critical Mass, an edgy funk composition showcasing the variety of styles IC Big Band can offer. The band were clearly enjoying every moment encouraged by an incredibly supportive audience. The intensity continued to grow throughout the second half. With the end looming it was time to turn it up to 11.
The (groovy) Chicken (followed by the cheesy Against All Odds, featuring veteran Chaz Keiderling on alto sax) proved to be the perfect recipe for bringing the gig to a climax. Pete then took to the stage one last time to close out the gig with two thrilling performances of the people’s favourites: Bad Bad Leroy Brown and New York, New York. Wow.
There is no doubt to me that this gig will go down in history as one of the many gigs that were played that night, maybe even that year. Coming full circle in the words of John Lennon, just ‘imagine’ what this band can achieve with more than 2 rehearsals; the year ahead looks full of promise for these talented young musicians.
Published on behalf of Gabriel Eve, Bass Trombone alumnus.