Went this week to the Musical Extravaganza at SMRT, part of the 6th Form Rag Week.
A fine event - celebrating everything that is great about being 17 as well as raising several hundred pounds for worthwhile charities.
The evening kicked off with a tight 10-minute set from Johnny and his Birds, the eponymous Johnny being a very able guitarist and singer-songwriter performing his world debut with this particular configuration of musicians whose combined sound put me in mind of the Jam mixed with Nirvana. I was particularly pleased to see that the PA did not work properly for the first song - a regular feature of 6th-form musical events if my distant memory serves me correctly - and that there was one person (only one, inevitably) who knew how to fix it while the band played on.
Enter, with only the most tenuous link to SMRT, The Wild Gulloots who performed a slick and tight set paying tribute to their role models the Arctic Monkeys, while consuming quantities of Capri Sun.
This Way Up were a heavy metal sensation. Their front man - Frosty - was a thin Marc Bolan look-alike with a great stage presence that combined leopard skin drainpipes, a shock of long curly hair, teenage angst and a truncated mike stand. I am reliably informed that Mr Frost is in fact a very mild-mannered member of SMRT's thriving Christian Union. Marvelous.
An impressive folk duo - Rosie Garrard and some bloke - interspersed with sketches from the imaginatively named "Drama Group" sat either side of Filton College's finest, Moody Goose, who seemed to have the edge in terms of musical experience, though for me Johnny and the Birds displayed the strongest innate musical ability and depth. Which probably means they'll go on to become financial advisers or logistics managers in future life.
Money raised on the evening is being given to Bulgarian Partners who are supporting Sofia Baptist Church in their social work programme among the Roma community in their neighbourhood and to Ikoba School near Masindi in northern Uganda, with whom St Mary Redcliffe School has a long-term partnership.
In conclusion, a very fine evening.