Much Moore Than The Competition

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As I sat at the table on Saturday afternoon, waiting for my cup of tea, I became aware that I was in a situation many ladies of a certain age would envy. The reason for this was that the man doing the honours in the kitchen was former Brother Beyond and Worlds Apart frontman, Nathan Moore. I met the singer ahead of his performance at a 48 Hour Party Weekend at Camber Sands, East Sussex, to discuss his memories of my favourite decade, for my next book ‘More Eighties’.

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Nathan and me after the interview

Looking remarkably youthful for his 51 years,  Nathan recalled his time fronting one of the most popular boy bands of the late Eighties, and talked about being invited to dinner by Madonna, the band’s rivalry with Bros, and the impact Stock, Aitken and Waterman had on Brother Beyond. You’ll be able to read about this and more, when the book is released early next year, as well as Nathan’s thoughts on being part of the increasingly popular 80’s circuit.

I asked Nathan what material he will be performing later that evening.

“I like to give them what they want,” he answers, before surprising me by continuing “I’ll give them ‘Living on A Prayer’ and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. It’s about having a rocking night. That’s what they’re here for. That’s why I don’t do obscure album tracks from Brother Beyond, because the evening would just go a bit flat.”

I am intrigued by the idea of one of pop’s pin-ups channelling his inner rockstar, and can’t wait to see his performance.

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Nathan about to go on stage

Later that evening, as I make my way through the venue to meet Nathan backstage, I have no doubt that he has read the crowd well. There appears to be an Ancient History theme to the fancy dress being worn, with Centurions and Egyptian Hieroglyphs mingling with crowds of toga-wearing partygoers, all ready for a fun Saturday night. Unfortunately, the act Nathan has to follow is an Elton John tribute, with a penchant for performing tracks such as ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Candle In The Wind’. The subdued set was better suited to a mellow Sunday afternoon. It was going to be no mean feat whipping up this audience into a frenzy. However, whip it Mr. Moore did – and then some!

Opening with ‘Be My Twin’, and performing an eclectic mix of songs which, as well as the rock tracks, included ‘Footloose’, fellow Hit Factory performer Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up and a cheeky rendition of Bros’s ‘I Owe You Nothing’, alongside Brother Beyond hits ‘The Harder I Try’ and ‘He Ain’t No Competition’, the singer delivered a set that not only proved his versatility, but had the crowd going wild.

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Driving ’em wild!

An on-stage remark that people in Camber Sands didn’t appear to be as raucous as those he had encountered the week before in Southport, soon saw Nathan in receipt of a bra, thrown at him with gusto. This was followed by lots of grabbing by the women in the front two rows, whenever he ventured towards the stage barriers, which was often. Like I said before, he knows his audience and just how to please them.

Talking of which, I mustn’t neglect to mention what was, for me, the highlight of his set, a cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’, the perfect showcase for Nathan’s vocal talents, and conclusive proof that he is so much more than a pretty face in a boy band. Oh, and he makes a lovely cuppa too!

Bring On The BRITs

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Wednesday brings us the annual BRIT Awards, an event I have watched in eager anticipation since 1985, when it was first broadcast by the BBC. Known then as the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Awards, and held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the ceremony that year was hosted by Noel Edmonds. Like many of those presenting and receiving awards, he wore black tie for the occasion. Even champions of double denim, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, wPrince Brits 1985ere suited and booted.

Set against a backdrop of silver and white sparkles, the message to the viewers was this is where the glamour was to be found. Any doubts we may have had were dispelled as soon as Prince took to the stage, to receive his award for Best International Solo Artist. What he lacked in words, he more than made up for in fur and frills. No wonder I fell in love with the ceremony, and have watched it every year since, albeit with a diverse variety of memories.

Despite surviving on approximately two hours sleep a night, due to my daughter being only 9 weeks old, I remember the 1994 ceremony as being mainly about Take That. Although this could be because they still had hero-like status in my eyes, having topped the charts with “Babe” on the day she was born, saving my little girl from being born when Mr. Blobby was at Number 1. This was no mean feat, as the pink prankster had occupied the top slot both the week before she was born and the week after.

My son arrived at the beginning of 1996, and as my world increasingly centred around the likes of the Telebubbies and Tots TV, The Brits became almost symbolic for me, a reminder of my first love – music. However, with acts like the Spice Girls and All Saints featuring heavily, the latter half of the Nineties saw me mostly interested in the Outstanding Contribution award, the winners of which included David Bowie, Eurythmics and The Bee Gees.

I continued to tune in each year, even when I was pretty clueless as to who half the nominees were. By the mid-Noughties, the kids were helping me differentiate between Busted and McFly (I was obviously ahead of the bands with the McBusted idea!). When the 2008 awards came around, I found myself enjoying parts of the event almost as much as I had back in the day. Okay, so Earls Court was never going to measure up as a venue. Ditto to the sweary Osbornes as hosts. However, the look on Paul Young’s face as the Arctic Monkeys, dressed in country squire attire, walked past him to collect their award for Mastercard Best Album was priceless. Then there was Mark Ronson’s performances with Adele, Daniel Merriweather and Amy Winehouse. The Brits was getting its act back together.

Whilst I may never view The Brits with the same enthusiasm I did in the Eighties, this year I will be rooting for James Bay, whose ‘Chaos And The Calm’ album is a current favourite of mine. I shall also be enjoying the combination of nominees, the strangeness of which remains reassuringly unchanged over the years. Perhaps the best example this year is those nominated in the British Group category: Blur, Coldplay, Foals, One Direction, and Years & Years. I can’t wait to discover who emerges victorious from that curious ensemble.