The Feeling, Ed Harcourt and more come to London
Hywel Roberts

12:59 2nd April 2014

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Charity gigs can be a tricky affair. A wide range of acts with the unenviable task of playing to a large audience, half of whom would never listen to their records. Luckily, children's charity Coram have put together a bill that is capable of pleasing pretty much everyone tonight.

Maverick Sabre opens the night with an acoustic set fuelled by a mug of tea, no joke. It's not until Sophie Ellis-Bextor comes on stage that his lack of star quality becomes painfully apparent. Bextor is pure class. Musically, she is inspired by collaborator Ed Harcourt, himself an alternative hero of times gone by. She is a true star and even a strangely out of place ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, with Harcourt painfully playing along, fails to derail her wonderful set.

The Feeling come and go. A few get up from their seats, but the band look genuinely bemused that people aren't more pleased to see them. They do get a warm send-off though, so they'll be pleased with that.

The one and only Brian May appears with West-End star Kerry Ellis. I like the idea of Dr May playing gigs in the evenings when his day job of eminent physicist allows him. He indulges my fantasy tonight by introducing a pretty rendition of 'Dust in the Wind' by saying "I'd like to take you on a journey to the universe".

An over-earnest 'Born Free' is a bit much. But hey, you earned it guys. The Feeling are inexplicably invited back on stage for a dad rock version of 'Tie Your Mother Down'. It's actually not horrible; plus we get to see Brian's custom electric guitar, which is pretty cool.

Finishing the show is Lily Allen. Poor Lily, the self-loathing popstar who can't shut up about how much she hates her comeback. Well she's on form tonight. She claims she's a little rusty, having not played live for four years, but it doesn't show.

'Smile’ is almost inevitably the highlight, Allen bounding around the stage without a care in the world. Whatever you think of her, it's good to see her discover her love for the art form to which she owes so much.

To show your support for Coram, sign the pledge wall or make a donation here...

Below: Exclusive photos of Lily Allen + Brian May at City Rocks, London

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Photo: WENN/Gallery photos by Ray Hill