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Sheffield Mercury South Yorkshire Clubland Awards 2005 review at Dialhouse Club Sheffield

These days the recipients of awards in South Yorkshire clubland are chosen by the readers of The Mercury newspaper.

This focal point event in the South Yorkshire clubland calendar was around 25 minutes late getting started and the natives were getting restless, when the 109th Mayor of Sheffield councillor Roger N Davidson strode on stage to make the opening address to a packed Dialhouse containing more than 500 revellers.

Compere Jimmy Carol is a legendary figure in clubland and is known in Sheffield due both to his club work and his programme on BBC Radio Sheffield, which is now reported to have a cult following.

The winner in the best all-round entertainer category was Gary Phillips. Here we have a handsome, winsome and well turned out artist with a twinkle in his eye and a superb line in crowd approach. A flair for swing music was made all the more apparant as fellow clubland star Mark Lawrence joined Phillips on stage for a spirited version of Me and My Shadow.

The term ‘personality vocalist’ would best sum Phillips up but it also struck me just what a first class compere/front-man this talented and versatile entertainer would make.

The duo category always produces long overblown recorded introductions these days and 2 X-L, the best duo winners, were no exception. As the strains of Meatloaf’s Anything For Love struck up, as a rotund young man wearing a long wig and trailing the obligatory red hanky was joined by his leather and lingerie clad assistant.

Certainly on what we saw here, this is ostensibly a Meatloaf tribute show and, vocally speaking, the songs were very well delivered.

The male vocalist category saw Carl Taylor coming out on top. The first impression of this young man was that of a clash of styles. A rocker-type hair-do was countered with the approach of a traditional cabaret entertainer and an extraordinary yellow suit and bow-tie.

The set included This Is the Moment from Jekyll and Hyde and The Stereophonics arrangement of Chris Farlowe’s Handbags and Gladrags, before Taylor set his larynx to the strains of Nessum Dorma, which produced the desired effect from the audience.

In the clubland market Taylor will reign supreme for some time to come, although there are a few too many rough edges in the presentation department for him to step outside that market for the time being.

Glamorously turned out chanteuse Stephanie King was the winner of the female vocaliste category. This experienced-looking lady arrived armed with her exquisite long blonde locks, an impressive gown and a toothpaste-ad smile. She displayed a breadth of talent before fellow singer Debbie Michaels joined King on stage for a rendition of The Flower Duet by Delibes. King is a forceful and formidable personality on stage.

The best vocal group category came next and the winners were Soul Story. A great opening routine was performed to the introduction of Marvin Gaye’s classic Heard It Through The Grapevine and heralded the arrival of one of the market-leaders in this field.

Soul Story are four guys who really know about the art of vocal harmony. A new member has been added recently and the set has also been freshened up with some Stylistics and Delphonics falsetto type items now on the set list.

By now the joint was jumping as, after a brief pause in proceedings, the curtains opened on the winners in the live group category Mens Club. Here we have a dance/party band of repute. Two of the four-handed line-up started their clubland careers back in the eighties when they were members of the legendary clubland band The Gents. It was slightly strange to see two members of an edgy and utterly top class indie-Mod band opening up with Amarillo but this was party time and why not.

The room was ready to rock and Mens Club yet again proved that if you want a club crowd to let their hair down, then these are the guys to get the job done. Not a truly live band in any sense but live enough to distance them from the vocal group category.

Awards were also presented on the night to legendary clubland singing star John O’Hara, who was given the clubland star achievement award, while Rex Bacon and Bob Crawley of the recently retired Sheffielfd comedy mime act The Discoes were both presented with the Life Achievement award in an evening full of fun and variety.

Singer Adrian Paris was the winner of the Best Senior Entertainer award but sadly he was unable to appear due to another commitment.

All the bouquets should go to producer David Hayes and his hard-working team for making everything happen.

Production Information

Dialhouse Club, Sheffield, May 25

David Hayes
Running time

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