Before that though, we were treated to a lively acoustic set by County Durham troubadour Conrad Ashton.
His set switched between tracks from his 2015 album ‘One for the Road’ and his upcoming release (to follow 2018’s stop-gap single ‘Anna Jean’). An on-the-sleeve reverence of 60s Mod-Rock permeated his performance. Throughout his quick-fire set, Ashton’s assured delivery kept the crowd hooked.
After a suitably bouncy opener, the room was ready for a brassy main event.
Hyde Park Brass wasted no time in showing how they’ve steadily built a passionate following over the past five years. Kicking things into gear was their interpretation of early 2000s dance smash ‘Lola’s Theme’ by The Shapeshifters.
Apart from their poor sousaphone player having to stand half on the stage, half out of the door due to the restrictive ceiling height, the rest of the band never stopped shifting. The audience followed their lead right from the off.
Their early foray into crowd-pleasing club classics continued. Energetic performances of Kevin Lyttle’s ‘Turn Me On’ and Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, proved very popular on the Think Tank? dancefloor.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t the odd risk taken with taste. The band themselves acknowledge that Justin Bieber’s evil earworm ‘Sorry’ may rub people the wrong way. But, as they well know by now, whatever people’s opinion of the original may be, their big band version was always going to go down a storm.
It wasn’t all covers – although honourable mentions must go to their sublime brassy takes on Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ – there were a couple of their own tunes and some inventive medleys thrown into the mix.