Reviewed on Saturday July 27
The big, sultry sounds of Miss Clairy Browne and her Bangin’ Rackettes creates an electric brouhaha in the jam-packed Basement. This venue is perfectly suited to Clairy’s intimate show; we are all tightly squeezed into every crevice, with less than an arm’s length to jive and bop around to the music. No one is complaining though. Everyone is drawn in, wants to be near her, like moths to the flame.
We are all transfixed by Browne’s deliciously seductive harmonies, the Rackettes’ raunchy moves and the magnificent, well-oiled busty sounds from the nine-piece band. One would be hard pressed not to be transfixed by the dazzling rhinestones, figure-hugging bodices and tassels that whirl and glitter in flurries before our eyes. There is so much warmth to this performance: Browne calls to her audience, lures you in, like she is having an intimate conversation with us over a dry martini at Rick’s Café Americain. “Hello, y’all fabulous…stop talking amongst yourselves, it’s really fucking rude…I know it’s a bit squashy in here…but can you motherfuckers dance?!’
Clairy is backed by the three bombshell Rackettes, Camilla McKewen, Loretta Miller and Ruby Jones; whose flirtatious glances and diva-esque moves are nothing short of go-go fabulous. I was at risk of being seduced by all four women – I could have sworn they were all eyeing and beckoning me to join them on stage with their suggestive moves. I doubt my bopping dark shadow in the crowd was anything but memorable, but I’m certain the desired effect was to seduce us all sensually; eyes, ears, heart and body.
The five suave, suited gents with slicked hair are Browne’s world-class band, Darcy McNulty (saxophone), Peter Bee (guitar), Jules Pascoe (bass), Gabriel Strangio (keyboards) and Nick Martyn (drums). They too keep the temperature running hot throughout the performance, belting out sexy melodies and rhythms with nothing but swagger and wide smiles on their faces. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.
Their soulful harmonising is an impressive fusion of old and new, marrying blues, jazz, ska, and gospel with ballsy, street-style lyrics that are still relevant today. We can all relate in some way to the stories about sexual desire, mourning over lost love, or to a girl’s ‘walk of shame’ and writing your number on a guys’ mirror in lipstick before you creep out the next morning. We took a trip down memory lane with ‘Whatta Man’, a tribute to Salt-n-Pepa revamped in grease lightning speed.
Browne’s potent nu-soul jazz is just what the Australian music scene ordered. Their show has plenty of attitude, sizzle and drama. Browne accurately described it to us as “a beautiful exchange” between performer and audience, and gracefully thanked us all.
BY KYLIE FINLAY