When I recommend the Royal Albert Hall to our customers, they always have the same reaction. Even though they are staying at the best Kensington hotel in London, they believe that an event – any event – at the Albert is a special occasion. Over the years, the Royal Albert Hall has developed a reputation of being largely attended by the opera-glass carrying fox-fur wearing older class of Britain, but in 2013, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Royal Albert Hall is a place where lovers of music and the arts can come together at any time of day, and there’s no proof of this greater than the Ignite lunch time concerts. Ignite is a free series that compliments the relaxed atmosphere of the Albert’s Cafe Consort perfectly, and tends to play an intoxicating, delicious mix of gypsy jazz, flamenco and contemporary classic. The musical menu can change every session, with musicians from all genres of music encouraged to come and join: I was once lucky enough to catch some startlingly beautiful Celtic folks music. That’s what I love about Ignite – I can stroll in for a casual lunch and be absolutely blown away by the level of talent on show. The concerts take place between 12 noon and 1.30pm, giving me plenty of time to soak up the gorgeous atmosphere. I like to treat myself to a classic chicken Caesar salad with a glass of Pinot – only one, mind, I still have to work!
The last performance that really blew me away at Ignite was a performance from TG Collective. I had heard of TG Collective several times being played on Jazz FM – I’m a regular listener – but their live performance at the end of April was what really stole my heart away. Although only four of the eight-person band was playing, it was enough to dominate the room. It made me want to run straight out and buy their latest album, the puzzlingly titled Release the Penguins. Let me tell you, it’s well worth a buy: it’s been filling the lunch room in the Regency, our Kensington hotel in London, ever since!