I found Night Owl and their live music-documentary combo performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year. Signing up for 007 Voices of Bond was a no-brainer.
That easy decision was made even happier when the location was confirmed as theSpace’s amphitheatre. That’s comfortable, air-conditioned and with superb sight lines.
The format is effective; there’s a song, a James Bond theme tune that’s sung live by Maia Elsey, and supported by a four-piece band, and then with the aid of a giant TV, a little snippet of information about the music, and then another song, and then another snippet.
We get classics like Goldfinger, Skyfall, Diamonds Are Forever and Live and Let Die. We learn that Paul McCartney demanded that his band, Wings, was involved and which artists demanded complete creative control. Amy Winehouse was due to sing one but failed to turn up for the recording.
What to expect
Firstly, despite the TV, there are no clips from music videos or Bond films. Imagine the royalties they’d have to pay. Instead, an actor on the screen is a secondary and supporting narrator.
Most of the background information is shared by our leading lady, who, between songs, takes us through the changing composers, musical trends at the time and how they affected the Bond music choices. You’re never more than a few minutes from a song, so even the roamiest of roamy attention spans should be okay.
Expect a sold-out room and a well-behaved crowd. Expect the show to finish on time.
Vibe and performance
Come for the performance. The singing is impressive, given that there are big shoes to step into here. Each tune brings you back to the movie, minus the sharks and lasers.
Our lead singer, Maia Elsey, is charismatic, engaged, and a proper fan. A game to play is to spot their favourite Bond cover. Each rendition is so lovingly given it could be that.
The energy of Maia is in slight contrast to the band. The band are great, but it’s head down, concentration faces on, eye contact to be avoided and high scores on Guitar Hero in their sights. That’s to say; there’s barely a recognition of the audience, the topic or anything other than the music.
I’ve mixed feelings about that.
If you’ve been to any Night Owl shows before and liked them – race to 007 Voices of Bond. If you’re a fan of the books, more so the movie franchise, also see the show.
These shows sell out because who’s dead set against music and action movies?
The question isn’t whether you’ll enjoy 007 Voices of Bond, I suspect, but whether you’ll enjoy it more than a competing show and whether you’ll get tickets.
What would it take for a 5-star, given that we’re trying to keep those top tiers rare? More life from the band, and I know it’s a big ask, but I’d love a visual cue for the opening title graphics for the big screen.
A Review of 007 Voices of Bond
Powerfully sung and entertaining live music inter-spliced with a short, exciting history of James Bond—absolutely one for the fans and likely a hit for everyone else.