Reviewed on Saturday November 30
“Someone’s always saying that the music is too loud.” No, Kylie, not a single person inside the blank walls of the Factory Theatre, nor in the atmospheric outdoor setting, nor down the road, nor anywhere it was possible to hear even a muffled beat of the drum or a muted blast of the saxophone; no-one anywhere would have dared asked The Bamboos to turn down the music that night. Everyone was too busy dancing.
Kicking off with a bit of blues-tinged indie-swamp-rock, Oxblvd started the night with a solid performance. Waking up the crowd from their hour-long wait after the doors opened, the band did a great job of getting people off the floor and into the groove of things. While their overall performance was enjoyable, it did feel like they were playing somewhat generic music, lacking any distinguishing traits that would make people recognise exactly who they were straight off the bat. A real shame with a band as talented as them, but not something that can’t be fixed with time and effort.
Of course, their lack of personality was probably accentuated by the fact they were playing next to one of the most charismatic and unique bands in Australia. Because when the eight-piece soul train that is The Bamboos took stage, there was no other band in existence.
Launching straight into ‘Rats’, vocalist Kylie Auldist belted the audience with such a powerful voice that everyone was immediately swept up in the music. Tag-teaming the vocal duties much in the same way they did the album, Auldist and Ella Thompson swapped the mic every few songs, one running offstage as the other picked up without missing a beat. The result was a wonderful mix between Thompson’s colourful and bouncy style and Auldist’s powerful and distinctive vocals.
Jumping between songs from their latest album, Fever In The Road, as well as their incredible back catalogue, The Bamboos also did a few fantastic covers, including a soulful rendition of Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost’. The effect their energy and character had on the crowd was obvious; even the most statue-esque, arms-folded, serious-faced, Frankie-Don’t-Dance type standing stoic amongst the crowd found themselves swaying and bobbing along halfway through a song before finally letting go and joining the rest of the crowd in their dance interpretation of ‘On The Sly’.
And if even those party poopers are dancing around, you know you’re witnessing something special.
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BY DANIEL PRIOR