REVIEW: The Geordie Rat Pack: Unplurgged, The Stand, Newcastle

The Geordie Rat Pack. From left, Jason Cook, Glen Roughead, Neil Grainger and Steffen Peddie.
The Geordie Rat Pack. From left, Jason Cook, Glen Roughead, Neil Grainger and Steffen Peddie.

Who'd have thought that 250 people would be singing Christmas songs and wearing Santa hats on the first day of November?

But you just never know what to expect when you go to a Geordie Rat Pack gig.

The show turned into an early Christmas celebration when the group - made up of Jason Cook, Steffen Peddie, Neil Grainger and Glen Roughead, dished out Santa hats to each member of the audience.

As the lads crooned their way through the likes of White Christmas, Something Stupid and It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, you could be forgiven for forgetting the date and being swept up in the Yuletide spirit.

The Geordie Rat Pack really is like nothing else out there. Glen's silky tones paired with the quick wit and comedy stylings of Jason, Steffen and Neil is a match made in heaven.

Glen may be the vocal powerhouse of the foursome, but the others can work their way through swing classics just as smoothly.

The Geordie Rat Pack. From left, Jason Cook, Glen Roughead, Neil Grainger and Steffen Peddie.

The Geordie Rat Pack. From left, Jason Cook, Glen Roughead, Neil Grainger and Steffen Peddie.

Last night's show was scaled back in comparison to their debut at The Sage Gateshead, with just four members of the Paul James Band instead of the whole ensemble, but it worked just as well.

Kicking off with swing classics like Luck Be A Lady and Come Fly With Me, the boys were on top form - and looking dashing too in tuxedos and bow ties.

The lads put their own twist on the hits but also take modern pop songs, like Wonderwall, Get Lucky and I'm Sexy And I Know It (or I'm Sexy And I Knaa It as it became known), and give them the swing and Geordie treatment to make them their own.

The audience were gifted more than the Santa hats, with every person finding a glow stick taped to the bottom of their chair, perfect for waving in the air in time to Me And Mrs Jones and Me And My Shadow.

Gazette reporter Vicki Newman with friend Stephen Sullivan donning Santa hats at the gig.

Gazette reporter Vicki Newman with friend Stephen Sullivan donning Santa hats at the gig.

The audience was very much a part of the show, from bantering with the comics to being danced on, lay across, and served drinks. It was a uniquely brilliant and hilarious evening.

Taking suggestions from the crowd, the boys gave some fantastic impromptu swing cover versions of things as unusual as Nirvana's Come As You Are, Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

Each performer took their time to shine in the spotlight. Glen soothed a hysterical crowd into silence with his emotive original song Falling Apart. You could have heard a pin drop as the singer bared his soul to the eager crowd.

Steffen's rendition of Deeply Dippy prompted a mass sing-along, while Jason's performance of In Summer, a song from Frozen snowman Olaf, had everyone in stitches, and Neil caused mass hysteria with his Cliff Richard-inspired Christmas medley.

The boys ended with Fairytale of New York and Wor Way - better known as My Way in its un-Geordified state - before the crowd raised to their feet in explosive applause.

I laughed, sang, and screamed so much that my face is still aching and my voice is a little hoarse, but it was entirely worth it.

There's nothing else out there like The Geordie Rat Pack. These boys have found the perfect formula for an unforgettable night out.

I can't believe I have to wait until January to see them again.

Click here for more information and gig listings for The Geordie Rat Pack.