Walking across the set of new music programme 'Evo Music Rooms', it’s striking how ‘un-TV’ it is. The set has been put together in what feels like an old warehouse. Aside from the two stages, with their smooth plastic backdrop and colorful lighting, it all feels very makeshift.

Camera tracks run in front of each stage with huge lights hanging down from a cobweb of wires. Crew busily check equipment and a runner can be seen fetching water and speaking into her headset. Despite the urgency of an approaching 9 p.m. start the atmosphere is controlled. For the crew, this is an ordinary day at the office.

One corner of the warehouse glows with low lighting and has been made up with a white sofa on a slick white stage. A man in a bobble hat sweeps it with a dust-buster mop. Slowly more people start to congregate and it becomes clear Edith Bowman, who is presenting the show, has arrived and will soon be taking her place on the couch.

Alongside this area is the VIP section. It’s separated with the same metal railings found at festivals and has a refreshment table that looks like it’s been stolen off the set of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

The VIP’s sit on equipment boxes topped with red cushions sipping complimentary wine and beer. Bowman appears looking groomed and lively in skinny jeans and a sparkly t-shirt. Filming is almost ready to begin as the studio audience is allowed on to the main set.

Music fans jostle for a place at the front of the stage, or in front of the cameras, it’s hard to tell. A man walks out with a microphone and it’s time for the ‘crowd shots’.

Recorded music starts up as the crowd is encouraged to dance, scream, clap and ‘go wild’, cameras whizzing over their heads catching every moment. It’s a surreal picture watching a couple of hundred people prematurely enjoying a gig before the band is even on stage, but the excitement is whipped up by the cameras and it’s easy to forget the show is yet to start.

The Specials are the first band to take to the stage. With the crowd already primed, they are far from a warm up act, and command all the attention in the room with a just few bars of their song ‘Gangsters’. The crowd does its best ‘go wild’ performance and The Specials have an infectious energy on stage. Bowman can be seen dancing alongside the interview set, cue cards in hand.

As the song bounces to a halt, more crowd shots ensue and the floor manager announces the second song of the night. It’s ‘Gangsters’ by the Specials. Luckily though, with the camera lights on, the crowd manages to look as enthralled as they did the first time around and the Specials belt out their tune for a second time like true professionals.

Next the crowd is told 40 ‘sexy’ individuals will be selected to sit alongside the shiny white sofa and watch Bowman interview Doves. Selections are made, cameras are at the ready and Doves take their place. A no-nonsense crew member urges everyone to keep the noise down and the interview commences.

It seems to go smoothly, but with the sound hooked up to record rather than hooked up to speakers the selected crowd can’t hear a word. Still, everyone manages to beam their best smiles and after a couple of re-takes of questions that looked interesting enough, judging by hand movements and facial expressions alone, Doves were ushered back off stage.

Next up are the Drums. The band performs its new single, ‘Best Friend’, with all the energy of a live show. One of the bands guitarist's dons a tambourine and is a highlight of the evening as he launches around the stage with an enthusiasm for tambourine never seen before. The lead singer brings out some quirky dance moves and they go down a storm. Then they play it again. In exactly the same way. The crowd under the repetitive spell of TV’s magic.

The concept of 'Evo Music Rooms' is that one lucky unsigned act has been selected to perform alongside the other established bands. Tonight that act is Kathy JJ. She looks a little like Duffy and belts out a tune muffled by the sound set up, being for TV rather than the watching crowd. All in all she is a bit forgettable, but only for a second, because once again, its déjà-vu as the backing band starts up again.

Bowman takes to the centre of the crowd in a 'Top of the Pops' style crowd link. She accidently introduces the waiting Doves as the Drums and has to re-do the link but wins over the crowd with a sense of humour and her enthusiasm for the music.

After being promised a mini set from the headliners expectations are high. Doves are bliss to watch and break into a spontaneous jam between takes. Even though the sound is not designed for the crowd their performance is all for the watching fans.

They play four songs, new single 'Andalusia'. Twice. Then classic, 'Black and White Town'. Twice. It’s the shortest mini-set ever seen but is still worth the wait.

As quick as a flash the house lights are on and the cameras off. With the filming all wrapped up the excited atmosphere evaporates and the cold night whips in through the open doors.

The TV series starts April 8 and although viewers won’t be treated to an encore after every tune, they are sure to have crystal clear sound quality and a front row seat.







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