Fitz Session

Roanna Mottershead 2 February 2010

Fitz’ open-mic night packs plenty of atmosphere…

Want a new way to sweat off some of those Christmas calories? Well, Fitz Sessions is for you.

Saturday night saw the return of this open-mic night to the little bar on the hill, and its popularity was such that one Fitz student commented that he’d “never seen the bar so full”.

In the past the event has been, well, slightly odd. Acts had included a scratch DJ with a plastic flute so when the first performers of the evening took the stage, I feared this tradition might continue.

With enough enthusiasm to make up for a lack of musical ability, Simon Whitaker and Katie Foster sang a simple ditty about their RAG jail break attempt. The gist was ‘give us your money’ over, and over and over again, in an attempt to hammer the message home. I was one step away from paying them just to stop, but in all fairness it made a nice change to the usual methods of RAG campaigning.

The arrival of the Ellafunks, a group from King’s who are now well-established on the Cambridge music scene, lifted the mood. This 8-piece band comprises of a powerful brass line-up, rhythm section, keyboard and singer, and together they make a punchy sound. They’re fairly casual about the whole thing using no music, and with some pretty interesting dance moves from the brass players. Their set included favourites such as ‘Dreaming Of You’ by the Coral, which had a nice reggae-style section in the middle, 

‘I wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free’, and cheesy classics such as ‘Let’s Get It On’, which the keyboard player seemed to enjoy just a little too much! The solos were great – with special mention to Joe Hardy and Dominic Johnpillai – and could definitely have been incorporated into a few more songs. Ella Jones, the band’s singer, belted out the diverse repertoire with confidence, and certainly made an impact on the Fitz boys. After getting people up on their feet, the Ellafunks danced their way through a final song and an encore.

To close the night, Sophie Hytner from Jesus sang a couple of songs with piano. Whilst she was clearly a talented singer, her sedate ballads didn’t sit too well with the party atmosphere created by the band.

With such a short set, I think Sophie would have been better towards the beginning of the evening, when she may have been able to command more attention from the buzzing crowd.

There is a bit more work to be done on the part of the new social stewards to provide a more balanced, fuller line-up, perhaps with some home-grown talent, but it was an entertaining evening. Despite the long walk home, we were humming all the way down the hill.

Roanna Mottershead