REVIEW: Powerful performance by a band in great voice

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Hey Blondi, Queens Head, Horsham, Saturday April 26

Up and coming Horsham band Hey Blondi played an impressive gig at the Queens Head on Saturday.

The lively four-piece seemed to have won a few more fans by the end of the evening, after a set that ranged from Dusty Springfield to Kings of Leon.

Hey Blondi stand out from the run-of-the-mill pub bands largely because of the focus that they give to vocals.

Naturally talented singers Gabriella Baulch and Camilla Hamblin are given a free rein to showcase their skills, with Richard Donnelly (keyboard) and David Hatto (guitar) providing a stripped-down musical accompaniment, which gives the vocalists plenty of opportunity to shine.

Camilla’s crisp vocals give a striking contrast to Gabriella’s vibrant gospel singer-style delivery, yet their very different voices mesh beautifully on one track after another. The pair look relaxed and comfortable in the limelight, while behind them accomplished musicians Richard and David seem content to lurk in the background, even as they provide the solid technical proficiency that underpins the whole performance.

Two tracks into the show, I’d decided that Gabriella’s voice was my favourite, having made set opener Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (KT Tunstall) sound as if it had been written with her in mind.

Next up, a rendition of Radioactive (Imagine Dragons) threw the issue into doubt, with Camilla’s haunting vocals seeming to give the song a new dimension.

Later in the set, Price Tag (Jessie J) and Empire State of Mind (Alicia Keys) gave her some more great chances to stand out, while Addicted to You (Avicii) and Sunny Afternoon (The Kinks) did the same for Gabriella.

The issue of which voice I prefer seems unlikely to be settled soon. More research is probably needed.

Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) really showed Hey Blondi’s strengths, with the deceptively terse and gentle opening creating a great platform for the singers.

After the show, Camilla said they are looking to perform at weddings, birthdays and corporate events, and to raise their profile.

The band aims to appeal to the broadest possible audience, performing songs from the 1950s right up to the present day.

Gabriella felt that this is one of their major strengths. “We’ve got such a mix-up – from The Mamas and The Papas and Ray Charles, to stuff that’s in the chart at the moment,” she said.

They are still working to broaden their repertoire – Gabriella added that their set had included four songs that they’d never performed before.

David said: “Richard and I have been playing together for years and years, so we’re very quick at communicating together and working together.”

Follow them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/HeyBlondiGabsandMills