Guilty Pleasures (Crescent, VAULT Festival)

Guilty Pleasures (Crescent, VAULT Festival, February 18th-22nd)


Extra scoops of ice cream, cream cake, bingeing on TV boxsets, pulling a sickie and having a duvet day and stealing toiletries from hotels all feature on the list of Britain’s top guilty pleasures.

There are probably far too many to admit to but audiences should happily put the accomplished and stunning singing group The Buzztones at the top of their list after an awesome show of musical brilliance at the VAULT Festival.

The a cappella fellas  have specialised in performing covers of pop hits and unlikely ‘mash-ups’  since 2011, but their latest show – Guilty Pleasures – is a specially sumptuous collection of naughty but nice favourites that you know you probably shouldn’t enjoy as much as you do.

From the scintillating opening of Dolly Parton’s Jolene through the clever twinning of Lose Yourself/My Heart Will Go On by Eminem/Celine Dion to the rousing Hey Jude/One Day Like This by The Beatles/Elbow the guys don’t put a foot wrong.

Close harmony singing is no easy ride so 10 basses, baritones, and tenors performing such a range of material unaccompanied is a real feat of musical skill and breathtaking ability.

The extraordinary eclectic mix of songs performed is highlighted when the group produces a “guilty pleasures wheel of fortune” which an audience member spins to choose the next item in the programme. On this particular night the pointer rested on a Spice Girls Medley, but it’s a fair bet those present would have been equally happy with the Gay Disco Medley, the Boyband Medley or the UK Garage Medley.

When a show can comfortably transition from a cheesy Disney Medley to Chesney Hawkes, Cleopatra, Aqua, Europe and the theme from Home and Away, barely missing a beat you can rest assured you are in the capable hands of professionals out to give and have a good time.

Throughout the good looking line-up performs with a velvety, smooth confidence and a liberal smattering of humour and banter, occasionally challenging the audience to do something that can win them a Buzztones mug. Congratulations to the chap willing to try a Freddie Mercury riff during the Queen Medley and to many of the audience who were able to spot a Spanish omelette recipe hidden in one song.

Guilty Pleasures will have pleased Buzztones regulars and will certainly have won them new fans eager to sample their genius. The repertoire is retro and impressive, the songs both beautifully arranged and sometimes sprinkled with irreverence and the atmosphere relaxed.

An hour at the VAULT Festival was 60 minutes of terrific entertainment – but once you’ve tried their special brand of guilty pleasures you will just want more and more.

David Guest