Brass and class as band rocks hometown show

Boy on a Dolphin performing at Sheffield City Hall
Boy on a Dolphin performing at Sheffield City Hall
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The evening presented two choices – stay in and watch some Polaroid pop star wannabes battle for their 15 minutes of fame, or head into town to see a real band play real music live on stage.

I know which I’d choose any day, especially when that live band is Sheffield-based Boy on a Dolphin playing their hometown Christmas concert.

The evening was opened by the excellent Sheffield Unite Brass Band who were joined for a couple of numbers by Brendan Douglas and Sheffield swing sensation Paul Pashley, as well as their own great soloists like John Lee.

A mix of styles from more traditional brass sounds through to festive songs got the evening off on a high note.

Then, after a short interval, the main act, a bunch of Dolphins fronted by the ever- popular John Reilly who was on top form all evening.

In a packed City Hall, the audience forgot about the wet and windy night outside and were whisked away to the sunnier climes of Africa with Malaika, a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela on the day of his funeral which had the audience rise as one for a standing ovation at the end of this opening track.

Then the band weaved its way through the back catalogue of Boy on a Dolphin material from the last 20 years with great tracks like Words Inside, Round & Round and The Bridge, as well as some of John’s solo tracks like the stunning One Night in Berlin and Talula from his last album Zebulon.

John is one of the most under-rated singers in the country, with a great range, backed by a band of very accomplished musicians.

John was joined on stage by local singer Julia McInally for a brilliant cover of Fairytale of New York and the Who classic Squeeze Box.

All in all the gig was seamless entertainment and the whole venue joined in as one for Fire.

Topping it off was the track voted as their favourite by fans, Trapeze, from the Barkers Pool to Thunder Bay album. The evening also featuring the Women of Steel track written as part of the fundraising for the statue to Sheffield’s women who took over their men’s work during World War Two.

As someone said, it always feels like the start of Christmas at the Boy on a Dolphin gig, so I guess Christmas is officially here.

Those of you who missed this in favour of The X Factor? You deserve four ‘No’s’ for doing so.

Make sure you’re there for the next one.