It’s always disconcerting when somewhere goes through a bit of a rebrand so when the iconic Sage changed to the Glasshouse International Centre for Music, I was worried this may be an Opal Fruits/Starburst situation. Thankfully though, other than a different name (which I actually think is better than The Sage) it’s business as usual, certainly no skulduggery like merging lemon and lime into one flavour. We were at the new/not new Glasshouse last Saturday night seeing Tunde off of the Lighthouse Family – treating Dave to a bit of variation from the usual 80s hair mental and 90s Eurodance he has a penchant for.
The Lighthouse Family were a band that I dipped in an out of throughout their career, no one could escape ‘Lifted’ when it was first released in 1995 (a song which will also remind me of someone I worked with who was convinced it was called ‘Listening’ and that’s what she sang along to the radio – something quoted regularly in our house) and there was a remix to the song ‘Loving Every Minute’ which I loved (and cannot find for love nor money on the internet). But I was also a big fan of their third album Whatever Gets You Through The Day; the title track of which was never released as a single but is probably my favourite song of theirs.
Northumbria University alum Tunde left the band on 2022 to go solo but for purposes of this gig he was very much billed as ‘the voice of the Lighthouse Family’; assuming he’s unable to perform under the band name for legal reasons, or just wants to reassure ticket buyers there will still be some Lighthouse Family in the repertoire.
Tunde was performing in Sage 2 which is the smaller of the two halls but for the style of gig it was, that actually made it more atmospheric, as every seat was a good one and it allowed for brilliant crowd interaction. The set list was well thought out and executed well with the perfect balance of Lighthouse Family tunes and solo tracks (which I was less familiar with but he has teamed up with Mike Peden, former Lighthouse family producer on his recent solo work so whilst a slight departure, we’re still in the same terminal).
Stand out tracks for me were Loving Every Minute (of course) surprise solo song Awake, which was smooth and lyrically brilliant, and the encore of an amazing rendition of Bill Withers’ Lean on Me and Lighthouse Family track High, which took on a new meaning for me during COVID and the 47 lockdowns we found ourselves in.
Vocally he was absolutely pitch perfect, not a note out of place so I think having an artist like that in a venue like The Glasshouse is a partnership made in heaven. Between songs there was good banter with the crowd and background to some of the newer songs which made it feel totally inclusive and a reminded me a bit like VH1 storytellers (which I loved!)
One thing to note, as we fell fowl of this is that you’re not allowed to bring drinks from the bar to the upper levels of Sage 2, even in plastic cups as there’s underfloor electrical light and power cables up there. So us not realising this meant me setting a Guinness world record for time taken to down a glass of wine. It was disappointing not to be able to take drink in because the whole gig had a real New Orleans jazz club kind of vibe so would have been cool to be been able to sip on a drink whilst enjoying the show!
That aside though we still a really lovely Saturday night out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say to again, regardless of musical style, I will always be a fan of good songs sang well and I think Tunde probably epitomises that concept.