The Bamboos @ The Corner
To celebrate the release of their fifth long player Medicine Man, Melbourne soulsters The Bamboos played a sold-out Saturday night launch party at The Corner Hotel in Richmond. So much buzz was created around this show that they had to add a second Melbourne date the following night to accommodate the many Melbournians eager to see the band kick off their Australia-wide Medicine Man tour.
In support were local electro-pop darlings AXOLOTL whose blend of urban basslines, glitchy beats, experimental keys and angelic vocals courtesy of Ella Thompson provided an interesting contrast to the organic and classic soul sounds that were to follow courtesy of The Bamboos. Ella herself is a pleasure to watch as well as hear; her extravagant stage apparel and quiet confidence giving her an understated star quality.
AXOLOTL fans certainly got plenty of bang for their buck, as no sooner had she finished playing with her main band than she was back on stage singing for The Bamboos. She’s one of the many guest artists who lent their vocal talents for the recording of Medicine Man, including the title track itself. She’s backed up by the ‘main’ vocalist Kylie Auldi, who has one of those perfect soul voices: Rich, powerful and oh-so-sensual.
The Bamboos is the brainchild of guitarist Lance Ferguson, who, as well as expertly crafting a heap of irresistibly danceable songs, has surrounded himself with some stellar musicians. That’s not even including the guests he’s brought along tonight. The nine-piece band is unbelievably tight, and the sound engineers did an excellent job of mixing all the elements perfectly. The brass is bright, the drums heavy, the guitars are chunky and the vocals soar. They sound stunning.
The celebratory, party atmosphere is heightened as throughout the set the guest vocalists make an appearance. Bobby Flynn did some expert crooning in his distinctive falsetto over the lusciously poppy Midnight, then the effortlessly sexy Megan Washington graced the stage to sing King Of The Rodeo and Eliza. Unfortunately Tim Rogers couldn’t be there to sing I Got Burned but Kylie sang it anyway – it’s too good a song not to play live.
The biggest cheer came when superstar Daniel Merriweather came out to sing lead single I Never, which actually was a bit of an anticlimax. Being one of the more morose songs it seemed to kill the vibe created by the rousing soul and dirty funk displayed previously.
A sublime version of Keep Me in Mind closed the set perfectly, leaving the audience grinning in the knowledge they just witnessed something special.
BY ADAM ROBERTSHAW
LOVED: That The Bamboos brought the funk.
HATED: The lack of room get ones funk on.
DRANK: Carlton Draught.