Image: Horne Section / Avalon

‘The Horne Section’ is coming to Warwick Arts Centre

Term three has arrived, ladies and gentlemen, and with this dreaded term has followed the usual phenomena of exam-induced anxiety, cheerfully helped along by the recent screw up of the exam timetables. “Woe is me”, you might cry, “is there nothing to take my mind off all this stress?”

Well, as luck would have it, I might have just the remedy for all your exam-related miseries. If you fancy a night of “silly and fun” then be sure to visit the Warwick Arts Centre on 9 May for a night of semi-improvisational and thoroughly ridiculous musical comedy. That’s right folks – as you might have deduced from the oh-so-secretive headline, The Horne Section, headed by the creator of Taskmaster and well-known British comedian Alex Horne, is coming to Warwick!

Despite the modesty of Horne himself – who insisted in a recent interview that he has “zero musical ability” – the band has achieved massive success. Indeed, their little stop at the Warwick Arts centre is just one out of thirty six performance dates they have scheduled for this year alone. Yikes! A lot of work, to be sure, but I doubt it will be much of a chore for Mr Horne, or any of his fellow bandmates.

The group consists of accomplished trumpet and banjo player Joe Auckland, followed by the saxophone master Mark Brown. Next, there is Ben Reynolds, described by Horne as a “brilliant jazz musician”. Another little jewel in this treasure trove of talent is the skilful bass player Will Collier and, of course, the unforgettable temporary pianist Ed Sheldrake.  The dynamic of the group was succinctly summarised by Horne in his interview with The Boar: “I trust them and they trust me”.

Their little stop at the Warwick Arts centre is just one out of thirty six performance dates they have scheduled for this year alone

This innate sense of trust stems from the band’s decade long career together. It’s even more impressive when you realise that this whole career started after the saxophonist, Mark, “booked to do a gig at the jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s. It was just really fun, combining comedy and jazz”. Two musicians and the subsequent booking of eight nights at the Edinburgh Fringe, and The Horne Section was up and running. What could possibly be the secret to their success, beyond simple trust?

Horne elaborated on the deep friendship that unites the musicians and comedians and enables the band members to improvise with one another: “I really like it when they interrupt the show. If someone plays something unexpected then the rest of us can pick it up”. This show is based heavily on the band’s improvisational abilities, blending humour and music in an eccentric but entertaining fusion.

A review of the Horne Section from 2012 by The Guardian’s Brian Logan, summarises the band’s style thusly: “There are times when band and special guests get lost in music, and Horne just gets lost, wandering the stage in search of somewhere to fit in”. Why should such a daft display be able to work at all? Well, Alex Horne says: “I think most comedians have a natural sense of rhythm, and jazz has a natural sense of improvisation so the two do go hand in hand”.

This innate sense of trust stems from the band’s decade long career together

Musical comedy: admittedly, one doesn’t hear much about that particular genre. Yet, ten years on from their formation, The Horne Section continues to outperform and outdo itself, drawing attention even from the legendary Tim Minchin, who performed with the band back in 2011 (even if he did tell Sheldrake “to get off the stage (in a somewhat more profane manner) and then proceeded to break [his] keyboard”). If this lot are good enough to draw the attention from someone like Minchin, then they must be doing something right.

So, if you’re looking for a fun-filled night of absurd comedy, improvisational jazz, audience interactions and displays of general, good natured foolishness, then what are you waiting for? If you’ve got the Horne for a bit of musical comedy, then this will be the perfect show for you!


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