Four Stars

Boundless Summer, Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath, Saturday, July 7

“IT’S lovely to see you all here,” said UB40 mainman Robin Campbell. “It’s even better to HEAR you all here!”

The guitarist was urging the crowd to make more noise.

They would have, too – if cheering England’s 2-0 win over Sweden earlier hadn’t made everyone hoarse.

In fact the Three Lions had done most of the hard work for the Brummie reggae legends, putting everyone in a party mood long before support act Aswad hit the stage for a 40-minute show of skanking classics.

Kicking off with 1980’s Food For Thought, UB40’s set was heavy with hits, covers and, as Robin put it, obscure tracks “for the hardcore”.

There were old favourites – Cherry Oh Baby, Here I Am (Come And Take Me), Johnny Too Bad, Come Back Darling – and good new stuff (the Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider and Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain).

I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight was a heartfelt tribute to the late Robert Palmer, who duetted on the original.

The 90-minute show climaxed with everyone singing along to, of course, Red Red Wine. Encores of Kingston Town and the old Elvis number Can’t Help Falling In Love ended a fun night.

A shame, then, the show wasn’t sold out. Blame that on confusion over what constitutes UB40 these days.

Disgruntled lead singer Ali Campbell walked out a few years ago and has since set up a rival group.

His brother Robin has carried on with original members Norman Hassan (percussion/vocals), Brian Travers (sax), Earl Falconer (bass) and Jimmy Brown (drums) as the official band.

Yet another brother, Duncan, has been drafted in as lead singer – although he lacks Ali’s distinctive voice and the edge he brought to the band.

UB40 are celebrating four decades together but judging by Saturday, NUB40 have a lot more years in them too.

At one point Robin told the crowd: “We’re here to play.

“You’re here to dance and sing.”

Job done.

Simon Copeland

Riptide Wrestling

Three Stars

Brighthelm Centre, Brighton, Friday, July 6

THE first thing you notice when you walk into the Brighthelm Centre is how swelteringly hot it is but with a night of wrestling ahead this brave crowd are ploughing on regardless.

The first contest is Damon Moser and Chris Ridgeway vs Toni Storm and Bea Priestley. It is a hard-fought match in which the men come out on top, much to the disappointment of the crowd as it means Storm and Priestley won’t be taking part in next month’s championship tournament.

Next up it’s a battle of the Morgans and it does not disappoint as Charlie Morgan and Flash Morgan Webster put on a clinic.

There’s a scary moment before the break, during a triple threat tag team match. Referee Shay Purser takes to the top rope – a bizarre spot considering refs aren’t meant to get involved in the action.

Unfortunately, after being hit by Mark Davis, he falls off the rope, hitting his head on the wooden floor. God only know how he got up.

Into the second half, Millie McKenzie and Cara Noir both qualify for the Brighton tournament before outside interference puts an end to the fantastic contest between Eddie Dennis and Chuck Mambo.

Match of the night (possibly the best Riptide match ever) goes to the contest between the man mountain Walter and Mike Bailey. It is absolutely breathtaking, hard-hitting, fast and showcasing both men’s incredible in-ring ability, it’s a masterpiece.

Regular breaks for air and frequent trips to the bar are needed to alleviate the sweat pouring from faces across the room. It’s unfortunate because it does slightly detract from the in-ring action. It may be the heat, or the wrestling clinic that came before, but the final two matches seem to fall short of the crowd.

That’s not to say they aren’t impressive. Jordan Devlin sneaks into the Brighton tournament after foul play akin to WWE’s infamous Montreal Screwjob as Jack Sexsmith misses out.

Chris Brookes and the debuting Naoki Tanizaki end the show and by this point the crowd seems out on its feet, unfortunately it means the finale is a little lacklustre but that is not the fault of anyone.

With their huge, champion-crowning tournament to come next month, Riptide have proved that Brighton has a thirst for wrestling and they continue to deliver... let’s just hope it’s a little cooler next month.

Jamie Walker

Andrei Ionita & Naoko Sonoda

Five Stars

Glynde Place, Glynde, Saturday, July 7

The cello and piano duo of BBC New Generation Artist Andrei Ioni?? (cello) and Naoko Sonoda (piano) on Saturday 7th at Glynde Place, near Lewes, brought the Concert Series to an end with a remarkable performance, notable for its extraordinary virtuosity and musicality.

Both of these young artists are already respected international performers and their playing at Glynde clearly indicated why.

Beginning with Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in C Major, Op.102, the slow opening of the Andante had a peaceful, majestic quality that immediately captured the audience’s attention.

The Allegro Vivace which followed was full of contrasts, with dramatic changes of rhythm, tone and texture, the melody taken by the piano to bring the movement to an end.

The second movement again began slowly, the cello using syncopation leading to the piano playing the theme.

The Allegro Vivace that finished the work was played with vigour, the dramatic pauses used to good effect to merge into the lyrical Andante melody and the sonata’s final flourish.

Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces Opus 73, which brought the first half to an end, was played superbly by both artists with the mixture of emotions demanded by the work, each of the three pieces sensitively shaped and controlled to suit their character.

The first piece was given a very tender and gentle treatment, the second lively and light hearted lifting the spirits and the third played with virtuosic speed to a fiery conclusion.

The second half consisted of just one work, Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata Opus 19, perhaps one of his best known works.

A substantial piece, it is also recognised as being extremely demanding for both instrumentalists and the young artists met the challenges with an assurance and a relaxed virtuosity that held the audience spellbound.

Every melody line was shaped to perfection, especially the opening theme of the third movement Andante.

The tension increased during the final Allegro Mosso until they brought the work to an end in a joyful and brilliant conclusion. Sustained applause resulted in a short Schumann encore.

This was a truly outstanding and very memorable performance.

Robert Maloney