Wayne, our promoter at Whitwell Forward, gives us an insight to their night with Hot Fingers in Concert, on Friday 26th April 2013, perfectly painting a picture and demonstrating just how well a themed evening can work…
The audience, the majority in authentic 1920/30’s costume, began arriving shortly after the doors opened at 7pm but got no further than the foyer! They were greeted and informed that the building was ‘dry’ due to the new prohibition laws, unlicensed for music and that gambling was illegal within said four walls.
Asked to pay their respects to Fat Sam now that they had made the journey, the audience were directed down the back alley (Machine Gun Alley) to Turner and Wilson’s Chapel of Rest and given a password. Greeted by our pianist, guests filed past Fat Sam’s coffin, paid their respects whilst shedding a tear and uttered the password to the doorman, who after a grilling would allow them use of the exit door.
On exiting the Chapel of Rest guests would find themselves in a corridor which led to Fat Sam’s Gin Joint complete with crates of moonshine and illegal alcohol. Here, after ordering drinks, they were sold poker chips for the fun casino roulette and blackjack. The guest that won the most chips collected a prize at the end of the evening.
In the concert room ‘Fat Sam’s Jazz Joint’ Hot Fingers, on a stage lit by standard lamps, wowed the excited guys ‘n’ dolls who were seated at tables complete with red cloths and tea lights in jars, all making for a cosy atmosphere.
Our friendly hack wandered the place taking shots of everyone having a good time and kept an eye open for the Feds.
Hot Fingers struck up an instant rapport with the audience with Tom ‘Spats’ Langham proving a charismatic showman as the band breezed through jazz classics of the time, all of which had a background story to add interest. The audience responded warmly to the band’s charm and enthusiastically to their songs and excellent musicianship.
The band’s playlist, including The Harry Lime Theme from the Third Man and Mr Sandman, brought an audible approval. Dancing broke out at the back of the room as the first bars of the Charleston were delivered and the audience participation during By a Waterfall was a joy.
One guest had come to see Hot Fingers on the strength of having seen a member of the band perform some 25 years ago. He was not left disappointed and neither was anyone else.
As for the fun casino, the main prize was won at the blackjack table…. on the turnover of the last card of the last hand of the night!! Quite a way to round off a fantastic evening.
The band also had a great evening, telling us “we loved the fact that everybody joined in, dressed up and danced. This was much more than a performance, and a fantastic evening for everybody – especially us!”