The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

The Alhambra

THERE'S nothing quite like listening to a ukulele band strumming happily to Nirvana's Smells Like Team Spirit.

With the exception of Dave at the end, who broke into a bit of impromptu head-banging, the 'Ukes' plucked politely away in their trademark laid back, cheery way.

It's that relaxed style, laced with humour, that makes their performance look effortless - a skill which only world-class musicians can pull off.

Watching this delightful eight-piece in action - playing everything from Kraftwerk's The Model to the Dambusters theme - was a joy. It was both epic and intimate, and by the end of the evening it felt like they'd made friends with every member of the packed Alhambra crowd.

Playing in exquisite precision, they leapt from disco to punk, pop to folk, with a little jazz and grunge thrown in, all with the group's own quirky twist.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more leftfield, they broke into a rather sweet rendition of Wheatus hit Teenage Dirtbag, which sounded like it was written for the ukulele.

Now only are these guys maestros of a variety of ukes, which were introduced as if they had their own personalities - soprano, concert, baritone, bass, tenor and a tiny one that was likened to a 'pencil sharpener' - they sing beautifully too, with each of them taking a solo slot. What began as a one-man vocal performance of Bowie's Life on Mars was gradually merged with an array of easy listening classics sung by the others including My Way and Born Free.

The show was peppered with witty banter, even in mid-performance they enjoyed a lark. In a blink-and-you'd-miss-it moment, they suddenly swapped instruments, only to continue playing as if nothing had happened.

I particularly enjoyed their faithful delivery of the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, complete with Spaghetti Western vocals, and

their perky cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, featuring some impressive farmyard animal noises. You had to be there.

Everyone should go and see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Their delightfully quirky, off-the-wall repertoire offers something for all tastes - and it's a real treat to see such hugely impressive musicians in action.

Hip, hilarious and hugely endearing.