Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Gig Review - Clairy Browne And The Bangin' Rackettes (26/05/12)

Live at the Powerhouse, Brisbane.
Review by Jo Michelmore

They say that soul is back. I don’t really know when it went away or where it went, but apparently its back. If soul did indeed take a little holiday somewhere, then it certainly announced its return on Saturday night when I had the pleasure of seeing the delicious Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes.

For those who don’t know (Wake up! Where have you been? What are you listening to? Turn it off for a second and check this out!), Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes are a nine piece from Melbourne and they play soul, they play rhythm and blues, they play doo-wop and they play gospel. They play like it’s the '60s with a 2012 attitude and they play it good. Really good. Don’t be mistaken though, this is not a tragic cover band; playing a combination of originals, tributes, reprises and covers, these are some smooth cats you should listen to, then, if given a chance, you need to see them live to really appreciate them. 

Clairy and her band begin the show without the Rackettes, Clairy appearing onstage looking fabulously '60s diva like, in a figure hugging full length silver dress. Before she even hits a note there’s a feeling this is going to be a fun show, but when she starts to sing, there’s no doubt about that. Without her trio of backing vocalists, she really shows off her incredibly powerful voice, but when the three splendid Rackettes take the stage the show heats up and suddenly it’s like it’s 1965 in 2012 and it’s fantastic. With their powerfully strong harmonies, gorgeous '60s mini dresses and cute dance moves (and hand clapping! I LOVE clapping!), they really pull the show together. The band are incredibly tight. Darcy McNulty on saxophone keeps the retro feel alive, Ricky Martin (true!) on drums solidly keeps the band together and Jules Pascoe, the bass player, is one of the most enthusiastic I’ve seen in a long time. It seems it’s impossible for him to play without manically nodding his head, but this I understand. It’s awesome and it’s impossible to listen without moving as well. They play through a bunch of songs from their album and a couple of covers; ‘Love Letter,’ ‘Bang Bang,’ ‘Whattaman’ and especially ‘Aeroplane’ are highlights. These guys are just so smooth it’s unbelievable and so, so much fun to see. Clairy Browne is one of those people born to be on the stage. She plays the lead diva so well, demanding the audience dance when she requires and at one point requesting nine whisky’s on stage. She’s seems like she’s having so much fun and that translates perfectly to the audience. 

(Just one thing, if your name is Stephanie and you see a Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackette’s gig, maybe just don’t admit your name at the door. You stole Clairy’s man and she ain’t happy about it and she’s going to let you know in the most staggeringly, angry, heart wrenchingly soulful way and everyone will love it, but just don’t admit who you are.)

Soul, wherever you went, please don’t go back. You need to stay and you need to stay for good. You’re so damn fun and so damn heart breaking and so damn great to dance to I demand you stay forever.

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