We went to the Lowry in Salford on Sunday to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain in concert. We first came across them when they appeared on Jools Holland’s “Hootenanny” on New Year’s Eve in 2004 when they played “Smells like Teen Spirit”. They’re an eccentric group of individuals, in formal evening dress, who play versions of pop and rock hits, jazz standards and classical tunes on ukuleles of various sizes. They’ve been going for 25 years now and have developed quite a following., selling out their shows. They even made an appearance at the Proms last year.
The idea of playing tunes on ukuleles might seem like a one note trick, but they introduce enough variation into their work to keep up interest and its put across well with nice comic touches.
Their set on Sunday included “Silver Machine” (Hawkwind’s hit from the 70’s, “Life on Mars”, “Wuthering Heights” (sung club singer style), Saint Saens “Dance Macabre” “Monster” and the song they performed when we first saw them on TV – Nirvanah’s “Smells like Teen Spirit”.