It’s easy to forget, amid the carnival sawdust of the Gluttony festival site, that The Peacock tent boasts such a high production calibre. But walking in through the dry ice and seeing the spotlit choir on stage – massive lightbulb-lettered ‘JACKSON’ sign above them – you know the Gospo Collective have brought the professionalism a space like this deserves.
And make no mistake, this is a polished outfit. Some 70-plus singers flank an accomplished live band, led by the elegant Charmaine Jones-Devasagayam, with coordinated outfits and single white gloves all over the shop. Jackson Vs Jackson is – in case the name didn’t give it away – a modern gospel take on the work of the famous Jackson siblings, Michael and Janet, using mashups and medleys to unite their respective catalogues. And it’s a marvel to watch.
But they could do with helping this crowd out a little more. Maybe it’s the mid-afternoon slump, maybe the many shiny, soulful versions of the Jacksons’ R ‘n’ B and pop classics are a touch too slow (or simply unfamiliar), but this audience are a static bunch. Restless kids fidget during the ballads and parents check phones – a crying shame when the slick dance moves and awe-inspiring vocal talents on stage are a rare festival treat.
The first point at which the crowd finally sings along is the Billie Jean segment in the penultimate showstopper medley – a telling sign that this what was wanted all along.