Choir and Norwegian brass band in concert for charities Sing along to popular songs from the shows
THIS week we talk to Mark Nilsson, from the band Massaoke, a sing-along night of songs from the Musicals, which will be at Wrexham’s William Aston Hall on May 25.
Tell us about your family
My great-grandfather was a famous theatre impresario: Basil Dean. He gave Laurence Olivier his first break, and was friends with Noel Coward. Everyone else since then has been an accountant or a lawyer... except me.
Tell us something about yourself
I studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University. I was always into music, and got into a band at uni which went through various incarnations, but ended up as 50Hz. The pinnacle of our achievement was having songs on the soundtrack to the Ewan McGregor motorcycle documentary ‘Long Way Round.’ We never made it to the big time. But The Massaoke Band has taken me around the world, so I’m finally, and unexpectedly, living out my rock’n’roll dreams.
Q How would you describe your music? A Massaoke is a sing-along night out. We play all the hits, with lyric videos on a big screen, and the whole crowd sings along together. At our ‘Massaoke Night at the Musicals’ show we play nothing but songs from the musicals... from The Greatest Showman to Disney to Lloyd Webber.
Q Do you have any gigs/ tours coming up?
A Manchester Academy from 7.30pm on Friday, May 24. William Aston Hall in Wrexham from 7.30pm on Saturday, May 25. And hopefully a full UK tour in the autumn.
Q What are you best known for? A Rocking the gold spandex.
Q What can people expect from your gigs?
A The best night out they’ve ever had. Seriously – the atmosphere is euphoric, and it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time. If you’re a fan of musicals, then this is your chance to sing along to all your favourite show tunes with your friends.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing – you’ll be drowned out by hundreds of other people, and it will sound amazing.
There’s something magical about large groups of people singing together.
That bit at the end of a well known band’s gig, where the singer holds the mic out to the crowd and lets them take over – it’s always the best bit of the night.
And that’s essentially what the whole show feels like when The Massaoke Band is playing. Communal singing brings people together like nothing else. In these difficult times of political and social division we need it more than ever.
Q Tell us five things which make your set great?
A 1. The audience singing along. 2. The performance: we like to mess around onstage, and create an atmosphere that encourages everyone to let go and have fun. 3. The visuals: our VJ Ethan has created spectacular lyric videos that amplify the moods of the songs. It’s not just a regular karaoke
screen. 4. The playing: all the musicians are brilliant – it’s the best band I’ve ever played with. 5. The amount of fun had by everyone, us included!
Q Tell us what’s good about the venue
A It’ll be our first time playing there, so we look forward to finding out!
Q What are your up-and-coming plans with your career?
A We’re playing a lot of festivals this summer, including Glastonbury and Latitude.
We always go up and put on a late night party at Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the whole of August.
Then we’re planning a UK tour of ‘A Massaoke Night at the Musicals’ in the autumn. And beyond that, we’d love to break America in 2020. We’re off to New York for the second time later this year.
A concert with Côr y Penrhyn (pictured) and Stavanger Brass Band from Norway will take place on Saturday, June 1, at Bangor Cathedral, 7pm, to raise funds for St David’s Hospice and MNDA. Tickets at £10 can be bought online at: https://neuaddogwen.com.
Massaoke will bring a night of singing along to songs from the Musicals at William Aston Hall