IT was eight years ago now, but does anyone remember those heady days of 2011 when we would all gather round our television sets on a Saturday night to watch Little Mix compete in X Factor?

Here at the Echo, dazzled by the blinding white smile of Simon Cowell, we claimed Perrie Edwards, who attended Radipole Primary School in Weymouth for a bit, as a 'former Weymouth schoolgirl' during the band's X Factor ascendency in 2011.

This was before we heard the very, very South Shields-sounding Perrie speak for the first time. The blonde was praised week in week out by judges on the TV talent show for her polished performances alongside fellow bandmates Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwell and Leigh-Anne Pinnock. They went on the win the show, in case you forgot.

But good old Perrie never forgot Weymouth after her brief sojourn in our humble seaside resort. We were used to visits from the singer and her then-boyfriend and then-One Directioner Zayn Malik providing regular custom for Weymouth's tattoo parlours and opting to shun the likes of exclusive London clubs for Weymouth's New Year fancy dress celebrations.

But then it all went a bit quiet.

So it's a pleasure to welcome a top notch tribute show based upon Little Mix to Weymouth Pavilion. Kids, tweens, teens and adults alike will make a beeline for the Pavvy to see Black Magic - The Little Mix Show on Tuesday, April 16.

With this in mind, it was a delight to have a chat with Black Magic band member Natalie Gray about this celebration of the world's reigning girl band.

Natalie, who hails from London, said her love of Little Mix evolved from growing up listening to the Spice Girls. At the time of auditioning for the Black Magic show, she was in a Spice Girls tribute band, had been in musicals and performed with her own band.

She said: "My mum always said I could sing before I could walk! As a kid I was a massive Spice Girls fan, I used to love their songs and their girl power attitude and Little Mix seem to have taken that on and are all about the girl power."

Expect to hear all the hits, including Black Magic, Power, Woman Like Me, Wings, Shoutout To My Ex and even a few covers from Little Mix's time on the X Factor.

And although youngsters make up a large part of the audience, the Black Magic show isn't just for kids, Natalie said.

"Some people think Little Mix is for kids but their album is very mature and the adults love the show," she said.

"We do a mixture of all the albums, we even throw in a couple of the songs they've performed in the BBC Radio 1 live lounge. We also do Whitney Houston's I Want to Dance with Somebody and all the hits, songs like Secret Love Song and DNA.

"The standard of our show is very high. We have a really large set with moving stairs. It's a completely different level to the tribute world. It's a fun show and I love it. We have the audience there wearing the flashing bunny ears and dancing along and it's great. We have a meet and greet after the show."

It's so enjoyable being a member of Black Magic because the girls all get on so well, Natalie said.

"We have a great laugh on the stage every night, we do the Little Mix choreography and we get to eat lots of pizza because we burn lots of calories.

"It's so much fun, we all get along really well as a group of girls and we all bonded together straight away. We spend hours together on the tour and in rehearsal and it's a really good laugh."

Natalie has even met some of the girls from Little Mix.

"They're lovely girls and they're so down to earth," she tells me. And as Little Mix have just seen their fifth album released, have an armful of awards - including a BRIT - to their name and are geared up for a UK arena tour later this year, their future - and that of the Black Magic show is looking brighter than ever.


*Black Magic - The Little Mix Show, Weymouth Pavilion, Tuesday, April 16, 7pm. Call the box office for tickets.


Rat Race (Electric Palace, Bridport)

Soul Kinda Wonderful (Weymouth Pavilion)

Ironed Maiden (Finns, Weymouth)

Revolution (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Jim Hammond (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Stevie P (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Innocent Bystander (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Rock Apes (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth)

Billy Solo (Wellington, Weymouth)

Milk & Two (Boat That Rocks, Portland Marina)

Junkyard Angels (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Mercy Lounge (Star, Weymouth)

Du Kane (Royal Oak, Weymouth)

Karen (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Tequila Mockingbird (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)

Leanne Jackson (Black Dog, Weymouth)


The Searchers Farewell (Weymouth Pavilion)

Queens of Rock (Weymouth Pavilion)

Rock Apes (Finns, Weymouth)

Mama Feelgood (Sailors Return, Weymouth)

Vanilla Radio (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Usual Suspects (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Steve Nicholas (Weymouth Conservative Club)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Crystal Ship (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Johnny King as Elvis (Gloucester, Weymouth)

V8 Hearts (Hardy’s Tavern, Dorchester)

Two Man Travelling Medicine Show (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Aaron and Karina (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

The Riffs (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)

Sheryl Lee (Black Dog, Weymouth)


Replay (Wyke Smugglers, Weymouth) 2-5pm.

Jim Reynolds (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth) 4.30pm and 8.30pm.

Dave Griff’s Acoustic Afternoon (Gloucester, Weymouth)

Ricky Solo (Sailor’s Return, Weymouth) From 3pm.

Slack Bird (Ropemakers, Bridport) 4pm

Sheryl Lee (Black Dog, Weymouth 4pm -7pm)

Diana’s Open Mic (Duke of Albany, Weymouth)

Stevie P (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)


Acoustic session (Belvedere, Weymouth)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Slow Americana Banjo Jam (Drax Arms, Bere Regis)


Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Martin Freed’s Open Mic Night (Duke of Cornwall, Weymouth)


Wessex Folk Night (Sailors Return, Weymouth) Acoustic folk, here every Wednesday.

Open Mic Night (Rock, Weymouth)

Tim Andrews (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Open Mic Night (Ship, Wool)

Open Mic Night (Ropemakers, Bridport)


Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Traditional Tune Session (Cove House Inn, ChiswelI, Portland)

Ukulele Sessions (Sailors Return, Weymouth) Strum on down from 8pm.

Roger’s Singalong (Gloucester, Weymouth)


Balance of Power (Finns, Weymouth)

Lucky Ol’ Sam (Royal Portland Arms, Portland)

4 Go Mad (Golden Lion, Weymouth)

Shauna and Nicky (Wyke Regis Working Mens Club, Weymouth)

Mike Walker (Weymouth Working Mens Club)

Ricky Solo (Edinburgh House of Sounds, Weymouth)

Sons in the Wild (Greyhound, Winterborne Kingston)

Muddy Summers and the DFWs (Ropemakers, Bridport)

Shelby’s Elbows (No 10, Bridport)