World is musical oyster

Well, they probably wouldn’t attempt Bohemian Rhapsody. But only because so many other people have given it the a cappella treatment.

“Otherwise the world is our musical oyster,” laughs Michael Welton who brings The Magnets to Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill on Saturday, November  25.

There’s nothing they wouldn’t strip away the instruments from and deliver with the human voice alone. Quite apart from anything else, it’s so liberating.

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“You lose a lot because instruments were invented for a reason, but I think the combination of the sound of voices together is just great. From a performance aspect, it’s great having six guys on stage who are literally free from instruments and so can move in different ways. You have got effectively six lead vocalists who can stand at the front of the stage and give out to the audience.”

One of the things they do is a six-seven minute A-Z medley of bands; another is an A-Z medley of movies. And they act them out as the sing them, challenging the audience to identify them as they whiz through them: “We encourage participation!”

“We have been professional now for ten years, but we have been going for 16,” Michael says. “We just sang for fun coming out of a stage musical Guys And Dolls at University College London. We were students and they have got a fantastic theatre there which is a great place for putting on shows. We had a great time. One of the guys went to a high school in the States and sang in a harmony group there. He taught us the parts and we started singing at student balls and busking in Covent Garden.”

Eventually, they started developing their own work. Together, Nic Doodson, Michael Welton, Fraser, Andy Frost, Steve Trowell and Jim Fortune became their very own six-man sound machine.

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“There is a big a capella student scene in the States. Large American universities will have about six or seven a capella groups in slightly different forms, all-male, all-female or mixed. And in the American tradition, there will be competitions for them to measure themselves against each other.”

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