Following on from performances around Cardiff, at the Ale Festival and Koko Gorillaz, Hopscotch Sundays are going just downstairs from previous gig venue Ten Feet Tall for a show at Undertone. There is a healthy attendance at the venue, with its intimate nature and dark lighting.
But the headline act at tonight’s Kenyan Orphan Project is anything but dark. The smart/casual-dressed ska sextet, led by the charismatic yet informal and jokey Laurence Beveridge, have the crowd reacting very positively from the start. Upbeat and characterful originals such as ‘Knights and Fights’ and ‘3.05’ fit in well next to covers of songs such as Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ and Chase & Status’ ‘End Credits’, the latter of which sees Beveridge giving his own take on the vocal line. Throughout, the varied setlist (with everything from this year’s Pharell Williams hit ‘Happy’ to 1958 Chuck Berry classic ‘Johnny B. Goode’) and its delivery gives the sense that Hopscotch Sundays are more than your average covers band when they approach other artists’ songs, mixing together a selection of songs seamlessly and consistently incorporating the saxophones of Ash Snape and trumpet of Ed Parks into songs that normally don’t have wind or brass anywhere near them, all to a very enthusiastic reaction to the crowd. Band members (also featuring Matt Poad on keyboard, Rosie Amery on bass guitar and Iori Haugen on drums) joke with each other onstage and give the sense they are enjoying themselves as much as the people watching.
With plenty of planned shows and hoping to record in future, this band looks set for many more enjoyable gigs around the Cardiff area. “We love making people dance!” claims the ‘about’ section of the band’s Facebook page. Tonight, mission accomplished.