EVERYONE of a certain age remembers Chopper bikes and glam rock... but who remembers clackers? They were the must-have executive
EVERYONE of a certain age remembers Chopper bikes and glam rock... but who remembers clackers? They were the must-have executive toys of the Seventies — consisting of two snooker-type balls on strings that clacked together — and any kid with street-cred had a pair.
Well now they’re back, courtesy of the bass player of a band staging a one-night musical extravaganza and nostalgia trip at the Kenton Theatre in February.
The Supersonic 70s Show is a tribute to everything fabulous about that decade — including Spacehoppers and Chopper bikes — according to lead vocalist Janey Bombshell.
She said: “There are all kinds of Seventies shows out there, but this is the one tha’s really taken off. The people that come to see our shows say that it takes them back to a time when they think they were happier! Things were a lot simpler then — you went out on your bike, fell off and got back on again. People say they always have very happy memories of that time, and they also love the music.
“I think the thing about Seventies music is that it had great melodies. It’s very rare these days that you get a tune that stay in your head. Songs were written properly, with proper harmonies.”
Janey, 37, was born in the mid-Seventies but acquired her love for the music from her parents, who she says brought her up on it. Her main influences are Abba and Olivia Newton-John, but the tribute show features all kinds of music from the decade — including glam rock — and not what she calls “just the obvious”.
The six-piece band, consisting of two vocalists, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards, cover songs such as MacArthur Park by Donna Summer, Goodbye To Love by The Carpenters, Love Is Like Oxygen by Sweet, and Devil Gate Drive by Suzi Quatro. They also cover songs by T-Rex and the Osmonds — all dressed in glittery, sequinned jumpsuits made specially for them by a seamstress from Brighton.
Janey said: “I love all the jumpsuits but my favourite is a red, white and blue one made of PVC covered in stars and stripes, with big shoulders and diamanté all over the collar. The legs are huge round the bottom. They are made to fit skin-tight so you have to be really careful what you eat. The weeks after Christmas were a bit tricky!”
Despite the fact that Janey and her fellow bandmates obviously love ramping up the glam for the show, they are all serious professional musicians.
Bass player Gary Wililams was in the line-up of Eighties band Ultravox, alongside frontman Midge Ure, in their heyday. Guitarist Greg Hart toured with musical Limehouse Lizzie for seven years, and Andy Stewart on keyboards is a professional musical director who has worked with many different shows and groups during a long career.
Janey herself was part of an Abba tribute band for some years, and has also worked as a soloist. She is now writing an album of new music with a Seventies vibe, and collaborating with a number of top songwriters and musicians.
These include Mick Wilson, the current singer with 10cc, David Martin who wrote songs for Barry Manilow, including Can’t Smile Without You, and Mike Moran who co-wrote Barcelona with the late Freddie Mercury.
She said: “It’s really exciting doing the new album, and getting all the different influences working together. It’s a mixed bag — there are ballads, Carpenters-syle songs, and some inspired by Abba. I’ve already released a single, Glam Sister Radio, which can be downloaded from iTunes.”
She is currently working on the album in the recording studio, in between touring with the show, which she says always gets people up dancing in the aisles.
“People come up to our merchandise stall after the show and say, ‘What was that song? I’d forgotten all about it!’ They love the fact that we remind them of music they’d almost lost forever — songs like Substitute by Clout. We get big groups of women coming along — they love dressing up in the Seventies gear — but then they come back the next time with their hubands, knowing that there are songs there for them, too. It’s great fun.”
The Supersonic 70s Show is at the Kenton Theatre on Saturday, February 23 at 7.45pm. Tickets, £17.50 for adults and £16 for children, are available from the box office on (01491) 575698 or from the website, www.kentontheatre.co.uk