I had the pleasure of returning to the Alea Casino in Glasgow recently to perform at a glittering ‘Las Vegas’ style night.
The Alea is a great place in Glasgow for a night out, as not only can you try your luck at the Poker table or on the slot machines, but they also have a variety of live entertainment and tribute shows in their bars and restaurants.
Alea Casino prides itself on its Las Vegas style, located on the waterfront at Springfield Quay with stunning views of the River Clyde and the Glasgow skyline. So it was the perfect venue for a Las Vegas style evening.
I performed classics from the 1950s and 1960s from stars such as Frank Sinatra (and his daughter Nancy!), Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, and many others to keep us all in the Vegas mood. The audience were really up for singalong after they enjoyed their dinner at the casino’s fantastic Face to Face function room.
Many thanks to Ford McGill at the Alea for organising such a stylish and fun-filled night.
I recently sang at a lovely vintage tea party at Pollokshields Burgh Hall in Glasgow. The special occasion was the 40th birthday party of Jo Pirie, an award winning film-maker who runs Bowery Productions, an independent film and production company that makes promotional films, wedding videos, and various films for other events.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the gardens in Maxwell Park were all in bloom. Jo had opted for an afternoon tea party to celebrate her birthday, as she was pregnant with her 2nd child so it seemed like a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative to a late-night party!
Vintage music lends itself perfectly to this kind of thing, so she booked me to sing some 1940s and 1950s songs while everyone relaxed and tucked into some delicious looking cakes and sandwiches. It was a lovely informal family affair, with lots of children running about and enjoying the retro-style candy on offer, while people meandered in and around the hall and gardens, making the most of the sunshine.
I included plenty of great old unforgettable classics in my set, such as ‘Fly me to the moon’and ‘My baby just cares for me‘, plus some modern songs with a vintage twist, like this version of Meghan Trainor’s ‘All about that bass‘
A vintage tea party is a unique family-friendly way to celebrate a special occasion in style – and Glasgow has plenty of classy venues that lend themselves perfectly to these occasions. Pollokshields Burgh Hall certainly added a special something to a perfect day.
I recently paid a visit to South Queensferry to sing for a wedding at the gorgeous boutique hotel Orocco Pier. What a charming place it was, set on a quaint little cobbled street in a seaside town near Edinburgh. The bunting that had been arranged all the way down the street gave it a real vintage feel.
Once I got to my room I was very pleasantly surprised by beautiful views right out over the Firth of Forth.
The function room for the wedding also shared these same views, making the balcony a very popular place as it was a lovely warm summer evening.
I was very impressed by the bride and groom’s first dance selection – they had put together a cool mash-up which started off with a romantic love song then blasted into 80s classic ‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and the News, as they invited all their friends up to join them on the dancefloor. Great choice – that’s got to be one of my favourite 80s numbers!
As for my part of the proceedings, the bride had asked for a mixture of music from a variety of eras and genres, and specifically requested some theme songs from my James Bond/Casino show – including the famous Shirley Bassey classics ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds are forever’ to add a touch of diva-type sophistication to the evening! I was happy to oblige, and as the evening went on I added in some more upbeat numbers to keep everybody moving.
Julie, the bride, very kindly sent me some excellent feedback, which you can read on my testimonials page.
Wishing Mr and Mrs Ryan all the very best for the future!
This Saturday (2nd May) I will be heading up north to Newtonmore to perform my 1940s / 1950s show at the Village Hall for Friends of the Main House. We’ll be commemorating the 70th anniversary of VE Day by singing all the great songs from that fabulous era.
There are still some tickets left for this event, so if you fancy spending your May Day weekend celebrating vintage-style up in the beautiful village of Newtonmore, call 01540 662294. Tickets are £12.50 and include a light supper. The show starts at 7.30pm. Hope to see you there!
Last weekend I was singing at a wonderful 1920s themed party at the Anchor Line bar & restaurant in Glasgow city centre.
I was asked to provide a musical backdrop which would be reminiscent of a New York speakeasy from that glamorous and exciting era of jazz and prohibition.
1920s parties are currently enjoying something of a comeback, no doubt due to popular TV programmes like Downton Abbey and movies such as The Great Gatsby, and people need little excuse for dressing up as a glamorous flapper girl or a Chicago gangster.
The Anchor Line is a beautiful place which has been converted from the original offices of the old shipping company. Memorabilia such as old menus, photos and news articles are scattered around the walls and give an authentic nautical feel of times gone by.
With the vintage art-deco surroundings it feels like you’re in an elegant ocean liner heading from Glasgow to New York – so it was truly the perfect venue for a 1920s themed party.
The 1920s is one of my favourite eras for music, with its catchy tunes and witty lyrics, and there are a surprising amount of 1920s songs that are still well-known today – in fact most people probably don’t realise they were written so long ago.
Songs like Sweet Georgia Brown, Bye Bye Blackbird, Someone to watch over me, Blue Skies, S’Wonderful, Mack the Knife, Ain’t Misbehavin, I wanna be loved by you, and Side by side have been covered throughout the years by many popular artists, so it is easy to forget that they were written so early in the 20th Century.
The evening was expertly organised by Chloe, who gave me this lovely feedback:
“Just a quick email to say THANK YOU so much for everything on Thursday evening at The Anchor Line, Glasgow – you were absolutely fantastic & fitted into our ‘Gatsby’ theme perfectly! I have had lots of complimentary emails from Brodies hosts & external clients since the event, all echoing that they thought you were superb! I have no doubt we will be in touch again re. future events.”
I’ve been performing my James Bond shows in Glasgow over the past couple of weekends, in some marvellous venues.
The first was for a fundraiser ball at Oran Mor, a stunning building right in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.
Oran Mor is a converted church, and this is evident in its beautiful architecture and unique setting, including the celestial ceiling mural by Alasdair Gray, which is one of Scotland’s largest pieces of public art.
Unique ceiling at Oran Mor
Top funk soul and disco band ‘Funk Nation’ were also on the bill, looking and sounding absolutely fantastic. Here they are in action (I got a bird’s eye view from the gallery!)
The evening was compered by Glaswegian comedian Alan Anderson, and we were also joined by the fabulous opera singer Lucy Kay, who you may remember from Britain’s Got Talent.
A big thank you goes out to resident Stage Technician Ross, and also to agents Freak Music .
My next James Bond show was at the very plush Grand Central Hotel, right in the middle of Glasgow. This hotel can be accessed directly from Central Station, so I was able to travel to the gig by train, which made a nice change for me!
For this event I teamed up with Richard Knight, a wonderful tenor who specialises in Opera and West-End show songs, as well as James Bond themes.
Richard has to be one of the most hard-working acts I’ve ever worked with. He managed to look cool, calm, and collected, and remained in true charming ‘007’ style throughout the evening, despite having spent all day travelling all the way from Bournemouth to Glasgow. He kept the audience thoroughly entertained from start to finish with his fast-paced show, and didn’t rest until he had the whole crowd up on their feet singing and clapping. What a star performer!
It was nice to hear some happy feedback from the clients too:
“Dear Lisa & Richard
Just wanted to say a great big thank you to you both for a fantastic night. I have feedback from other guests and people have said what fun they had – they loved your singing and the fact they could dance and sing along too. Thank you once again and I hope we see you again soon.
The Mar Hall Hotel provided the perfect venue for a Silver Wedding Anniversary party I performed at recently. Situated in Bishopton, near to Erskine, this Edwardian Scottish mansion is a luxury five star hotel with gorgeous views over the River Clyde.
It was a beautiful sunny Autumn day with clear blue skies as I drove into the hotel grounds. Set within a picture-perfect 240 acre woodland estate, I was struck by the tranquil peace and beauty of the area.
The interior of the Mar Hall Hotel is decorated in an elegant vintage style that exudes class and sophistication. The pianist playing softly in the lounge added to the relaxed ambience.
I had been asked to perform a mixture of Swing classics and 1950s & 1960s songs, with the anniversary couple picking the majority of the songs themselves from my set list. Their main objective was to keep all their guests up on the dancefloor, and this was no difficult task as everyone was really up for a party from the word go.
I started with a ‘1st dance’ for the anniversary couple: the gorgeous Etta James classic ‘At Last’. I was glad they chose this song as I love it as a first dance; it’s so romantic and works beautifully, plus it’s familiar to all age groups because it was recently covered by Beyonce.
The rest of the guests needed no prompting to join in the dancing and looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. I love singing at wedding anniversary parties because there’s a certain atmosphere to them that’s a little different to weddings – everybody is so relaxed and at home with each other, as the two families have had all those years to become well-acquainted.
As the night went on I sang a mixture of Swing standards and kept the emphasis on fun, dancing, and romance, with ‘Let there be love’, ‘Cheek to cheek’, ‘My baby just cares for me’ and many other classics. I even threw a bit of Jessie J into the mix in response to a request on behalf of the younger members of the audience 😉
The night was over too soon, but I’m glad to report some excellent feedback from the happy couple:
“We booked Lisa to perform at our Silver Wedding Anniversary event where we had guests across a wide age group. Without exception every single guest commented on the amazing performance that Lisa gave – her set of 50’s and 60’s classic’s fitted perfectly with the theme of our evening and we could have been in a New York supper club from that era.
Her delivery was effortless and the quality of her voice was exceptional – without doubt she put the gloss on what was a fantastic evening and the dance floor was never empty. We would have no hesitation in recommending Lisa to anyone wanting to add a touch of class to their event, we only wish we could do it all again!”
To see more of my reviews, please visit my testimonials page.
So, all in all, a wonderful evening at the Mar Hall Hotel. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel as a top-class venue for a wedding or anniversary function. Many thanks to Jane and Simon for making me feel so welcome at their lovely party.
Last weekend I sang at a beautiful Golden Wedding Anniversary party at Douglas Park Golf Club. It was a nice local booking for me as Bearsden is less than an hour away.
It’s the first time I’ve performed at Douglas Park Golf Club, and I must say I was very impressed, not only by the stunning views of the golf course, but also by the lovely staff, who were genuinely friendly and very welcoming. A big thank you goes out to Moses and Lisa for all their help and hospitality on the night.
The clubhouse itself was very nice indeed: a perfect venue for an intimate gathering. The room was a nice comfortable size for a small party, plus it also featured a good-sized dancefloor. Excellent use of lighting gave the room that extra-special touch too.
I always love to perform at Golden Wedding Anniversary functions, as it feels such a wonderful and important thing to celebrate a couple who have stayed happily together for such a long time. It’s so lovely to be part of that very special celebration.
When I look around at all the guests I wonder who was originally present at the wedding and imagine what life was like for them on that day 50 years ago; how they have changed, and how the world around them has changed too.
In this case it would have been 1964, and the world was indeed a very different place back then. The average weekly wage was £16, BBC2 made its first broadcast (which was Play School!), the Forth Road Bridge was opened, and Harold Wilson was poised to become Britain’s first Labour Prime Minister in 13 years.
Music was very different back then too. Whenever I sing at a Wedding Anniversary party I like to look back and see what was in the ‘Hit Parade’ back then, so I can include some of the songs that would have been around when the happy couple were in the first blush of romance.
In 1964 Beatlemania was in full flow, and they had pretty much taken over the charts. Their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, was released in July of that year. The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and Cilla Black were also very popular.
James Bond featured in the cinema and in the charts too, as there were two ‘007’ movies out that year: ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘From Russia with Love’, with their respective theme tunes becoming huge hits for Shirley Bassey and Matt Monro.
On this occasion however, I had been asked to perform music from a slightly earlier era: Swing songs and other classic easy-listening standards. I was glad to do so as this is my personal favourite genre of music!
I chose a mixed program that included plenty of lovely old romantic songs such as ‘Fly me to the moon’ by Frank Sinatra, ‘I only have eyes for you’ by Ella Fitzgerald, and the 1950s Jo Stafford hit ‘You belong to me’.
I soon realised that the guests were really up for a party as they were up on the dance floor from the word go. So as the night went on I shifted from swing music to timeless pop classics such as ‘Baby Love’ by The Supremes and ‘Kissin’ in the back row’ by The Drifters, to keep everybody happy on the dancefloor. I also got a request for some country music, so I added a bit of Dolly Parton into the mix, plus a Boney M medley in response to numerous ‘Slosh’ requests!
I finished off a lovely evening with what is in my opinion the perfect Golden Wedding Anniversary song: ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ by Vera Lynn.
My warmest congratulations go out to Andrew and Brenda. May they enjoy many more happy years together.
The BMC Club in Edinburgh held a fantastic 1940s themed party last Saturday night.
The club was decorated beautifully with 1940s memorabilia and bunting to get everybody in the mood, and the club members had really gone to town with their cool vintage outfits – everyone looked fabulous.
When I arrived to perform my 1940s wartime show it really felt like I had been transported back to the 1940s as I looked around at a packed club full of land girls, officers, home guards, sailors and American GI’s. I even caught a glimpse of Adolf Hitler loitering at the bar!
Belles of the ball
And I must say, I think it’s amazing how all those land girls ever got any farmwork done in their 6 inch stiletto heels 😉
A special mention must be made to our irrepressible trio of Andrews Sisters, who were good enough to join me in an impromptu performance of their hit ‘Don’t sit under the apple tree’ (although I’m not quite sure where their allegiance lay, as they were to be spotted later on carousing with some SS officers!)
Fun-loving Andrews Sisters
Everybody really got into the party mood, waving their flags and singing along to old favourites such as ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’ and ‘Bless em all’, plus of course the Vera Lynn classic ‘We’ll meet again’.
Captured by the enemy!
Rab the DJ from Chaplins Disco helped create just the right atmosphere with his friendly banter and great collection of 1940s themed party tunes, and of course he looked the part too in his wartime uniform.
It was a lovely surprise to see Anne Nelson and her team of ‘Jump ‘n’ Jive’ dancers turn up to entertain the crowd with their wonderful dancing. These guys are the friendliest group of people you could hope to meet, and their dancing brings a great retro feel to any occasion.
Want to learn how to dance like this? Well you can! Anne holds ‘Jump ‘n’ Jive’ dance classes (beginners / intermediate) around the Glasgow area on the following nights:
Monday: United Reform Church Hall, Rutherglen, 7.30 – 10pm
Tuesday: St. Columba Scottish Episcopal Church Hall, Bathgate, 8 – 10 pm
Wednesday: Goodyear Social Club, Drumchapel, 7.30 – 10pm
Yvonne and the troops at The BMC Club
A big thank you to Yvonne and the team at the BMC club for organising such a fantastic 1940s themed party night. They thought of everything – even bringing out some delicious ‘stovies’ at half time.
It just goes to show that with a bit of imagination and some good organisational skills, clubs can still pull in a full house and have a really successful night, even in this day and age.
They certainly added a touch of glamour to the night, with their glitzy costumes and fabulous dance routines (choreographed by Emma-Jane Ashman).
The Vegas Show Girls in action (Photo courtesy of www.brillpix.com)
They were also lovely and helpful backstage in helping me with my dress, which seemed to have developed a mind of its own!
Even more glamour and showbiz was to be found in the reception area, where a stunning Marilyn Monroe lookalike was onhand to provide drinks, alongside a very convincing Oscar award ‘living statue’, both provided by top corporate event agency www.steppin-out.co.uk.
Steve Brill of Brillpix Photography was busy all night taking photos of all the proceedings.
Northamptonshire-based, Steve specialises in wedding, commercial, and corporate photography. Check out his excellent work here: http://brillpix.com/
A big thanks to Steve for letting me use some of his photographs from the event.
That night I headed straight back up north to Manchester, to break up the journey back to Glasgow. Unfortunately the M6 was not kind to me and I ended up driving for hours due to various road closures – all the while listening to the Scottish referendum results as they came through on the radio.
It was around 3am by the time I reached my hotel – a beautiful little country guest house called Ash Farm in Altrincham.
This was such a charming place in very picturesque surroundings, with very friendly hosts – unfortunately though, I didn’t have much time to enjoy it as I was heading straight back to Glasgow later that morning. Hopefully I will get a chance to return for a longer stay whenever I’m next in the Manchester area.
That night I was singing at a cabaret night at The Columba Club in Barrhead. It was a lovely night, very well-attended, and lots of funds were raised for Mary’s Meals charity.
On Saturday I revisited one of my favourite clubs, The RAFA in Prestwick, for their annual Battle of Britain ball.
I’ve performed at this event for the past few years now and it’s always a pleasure to return and see all the friendly and familiar faces.
As usual, the dancefloor was packed from start to finish with lots of talented and energetic dancers, and lots of fun was had by all.
Check out this video from the RAFA club, it seems that we had a lot of teenagers in that night! 😉