Party Pianos at Broad Street Tavern Music FestivalBy Jon Nurse
July 25, 2012
Music lovers can rock to Whatever You Want as the Broad Street Tavern Music Festival swaggers back into Wokingham this Saturday.
The Status Quo classic is part of a 60-year back catalogue which will be blaring out across town when the requests flood in for the night’s headline act – Party Pianos.
The audience could be on a Stairway to Heaven or checking into Hotel California when Party Pianos takes the stage, as it is the crowd that will choose the set list.
“We’re going to bring a bit of Las Vegas to Wokingham,” Party Pianos’ Joe Lee said.
Party Pianos plays under a format known as duelling pianos, which sees two pianists and a drummer jam to whatever requests the audience hurl their way.
The style originated in the late 1980s in Dallas in America and Party Pianos is bringing the innovative and fluid concept to English ears.
“I thought it’d be great to get British audiences to experience it,” Joe said. “It’s amazing how it’s been taking off.
“We’ve got great musicians who’ve played all over the world and their repertoire is everything from 50s’ rock and roll to modern-day Adele and Kings of Leon. “We always find 80s’ rock is best for getting people up and dancing.”
Party pianist Joe spent three years playing in Holland, including one power performance in front of 16,000 people at FC Groningen’s Euroborg stadium.
“They have this great concept of duelling pianos over there and in the USA, but it’s brand new to the UK,” Joe said.
“It’s all about requests – a truly interactive show. It’s going to be a lot of fun on Saturday.”
The former law student realised music was his calling after he played at Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood’s home.
He set up Party Pianos with help from a mentoring programme run by the Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles.
“Their support and guidance has been great – hopefully we could play to Prince Charles to thank him one day,” Joe joked.
Since its creation last year, Party Pianos has been playing all over the country.
They arrive in Wokingham fresh from playing at the Guildford Mandolay Hotel as part of the official celebrations for the Olympic torch relay.
The duelling pianos are joined on Saturday by rock bands Guns 2 Roses, Backbeat and Pot Luck, reggae band Progression and acoustic guitarist Smiley.
Landlord Clive Wallis said: “What we have done this year is change everything. The new headline act is great, along with three great rock bands. It’s so exciting that the crowd can ask them for any song and they will play it.”
Several real ales will be on sale during the festival, including 6X and Wadworth’s new summer ale, Red White and Brew.
“We are not a big pub but we have a lovely garden and a very warm, friendly atmosphere,” said Clive.
The Broad Street Tavern Music Festival runs from 2pm to 11.30pm. A barbecue and hog roast are available all day. Tickets are £25 on the door or £20 by advance booking. For details, call the pub on (0118) 977 3706 or log on to www.broadstreettavern.co.uk .
For more information on Party Pianos visit www.partypianos.com or follow them on twitter on @partypianos.