Review: Kelis, Bongo's Bingo, Rainton Meadows Arena

Her milkshake certainly did bring all the boys (and the girls) to the yard as Kelis played to a packed house at Rainton Meadows Arena.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 25th May 2018, 10:06 am

It’s not often a US R’n’B and hip hop star tops the bill in Houghton - but then this wasn’t an ordinary night.

The US singer was in town to perform as part of Bongo’s Bingo, a phenomenon which has turned a game, once the preserve of people of a certain age, on its head.

This was my first night at a Bongo’s Bingo, which hosts regular sold out events at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. In short, it was bonkers.

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All the numbers are there and there are prizes and cash to be won, but that’s where the similarity with the traditional game ends. When the bingo caller was joined by his assistants, two bearded blokes in synthetic wigs and mini dresses, and started giving out Apple Sourz as a prize I realised this was not the average night down the local bingo hall.

The prizes got more bizarre, ranging from a Henry Hoover and cereal to a space hopper and life-size cut outs of Westlife (only three of them) and the dance offs between the number calling got more infectious. I didn’t want to be jumping up for Irish tracks like Galway Girl and Tell Me Ma when 33 was called or Chesney Hawkes’ One and Only when 1 was called but you just can’t help but join in the fun.

But it isn’t all Cocopops, cheesy pop and dance tracks, there was some cold hard cash to be won, ranging from £100 to a trip to Ibiza.

Then after two hours, bingo’s number was up and Kelis came on for a slick performance of her hits, such as Milkshake, Trick Me, Millionaire, Acapella and Bounce - not that the Bongo’s Bingo crowd need any excuse to bounce. It didn’t matter whether your number was called or not, this was a night that makes everyone feel like they’ve won the jackpot.

Certainly not your average night down the bingo.