Review: Heather Small, Royal Concert Hall

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Review by Patrick Astill from This Is Nottingham:

'It was hard to guess the act due on stage from the look of the audience last night.

Perhaps they were all thirty-somethings or in their 40s 20 years ago when Heather Small was big, if you know what I mean.

The feeling we were at a 60s revival wasn't helped much by the leader of the Snake Davis Band, in his leather trousers, egging everyone to "Have a good time, Nottingham – it's not a theatre, it's a dance floor…"

And yet, just maybe he'd judged the audience right, and the crowd had judged the gig spot on, for as early as the fourth number they were out of their seats for a boogie.

Heather started with a couple of bluesy numbers, and a laid-back Heartbreak Hotel.

The band backed Heather to the hilt for a hot 90 minutes on a balmy night. When she changed tilt into a vigorous M People number, they followed impeccably.

A shot at Abba's Fernando and the drawl of Elkie Brooks' Pearl's a Singer showed not just Heather, but old Snake at his best too, reaching for one of a myriad of saxophones, his speciality from the M People days of the 90s.

She must never have thought all those years ago that she'd have been singing to a third-full concert hall of grey-haired folk back in the clubbing heyday of her old band.

And it's not just on the back of her TV dancing contest that she's on the road. New albums are a regular item on the agenda.

Hits such as Proud, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero were used up early on and there was a little concern there might be nothing left in the tank for an encore.

But we'd forgotten about Moving on Up, and she left us with the satisfied feeling that the years have only matured her sound.'