DURING the last two weeks in May I
attended two gigs at The Lights.

At both I found myself apologising to
the performers for the pathetic turnout.
On 17 May Ben Waters and his band
played to a half-full auditorium in the
main theatre.

That’s about 100 seats sold for an international
artist – he plays in New York
next month and later this month he has
almost sold out at Ronnie Scott’s famous
London club.

OK, Ben’s music may not be to everybody’s
taste but in boogie-woogie style of
piano playing he cannot be bettered. The
band performed some great rock’n’roll
numbers with skill and
humour. Fortunately the set was well
received by those that made the effort,
and the ‘feel-good’ factor generated by
Ben and his band was superb.

This feel-good factor was also evident
last Thursday when Polly and the Billets
Doux took to the stage in the arena area
of The Lights.

The talented trio on bass, guitar and
drums (and occasional harmonica and
accordion) not only provided a great
musical backdrop to Polly’s haunting
voice but also provided superb harmonies
and their talents were showcased
with individual numbers. Although performing
mostly self-penned easy rock
numbers they were equally at home
singing a capella, did superb arrangements
of Bo Diddley R&B standards and
finished the set with a sensational and
unique interpretation of the blues standard
House of the Rising Sun.

How many turned out for this gig?
About 40!

Many times in these pages
‘Andoverians’ have bemoaned the lack of
amenities, especially where
shops/stores are concerned. On this evidence,
who is going to invest in Andover
when the local facilities that are available
are ignored. Perhaps you might
argue at the cost – I don’t think so – £15
to see Ben Waters, £9 for Polly. The price
of a takeaway or a few drinks.

Come on Andover – ditch the apathy,
get off your collective backsides and support
the local venues and artists.
Alternately, sit and read the letters page,
nodding in agreement with those
bemoaning the lack of opportunities.

Les Mitchell, Lambourne Close,