The Bamboos @ The Corner – 16/6/2012
After trudging through the rain with a few friends we finally sought shelter, basking in the glow of The Bamboos at The Corner Hotel in Richmond. Getting there just in time to see the last song of the support band, AXOLOTL – yep, all in capitals – I was really impressed by the vocals and now regretted not seeing more of these guys. Little did I know that the leading lady is the latest addition to the headliners. AXOLOTL are not exactly a soul band, definitely more commercial but I guess that suits The Corner and The Bamboos newfound direction.
Hastily typing out my expectations of what the performance was going to be like just before The Bamboos came on stage, I was strangely prescient: “Noob friendly, mostly Medicine Man, special guests, strong instrumentation.”
The whistles and hoots started even before they opened the curtains and given the smell that emanated someone momentarily lost control of their bowels with excitement as soon as the ten piece got into the track “Cut Me Down” (there were plenty of elderly people in the crowd, I guess standing up for so long affects their continence.) The first thing I noticed – besides guitarist/ founding member Lance Ferguson’s maroon velvet smoking jacket – was the power of Kylie Auldist’s voice and stage presence, clearly having a great time on stage and that enthusiasm definitely permeated through the crowd. When I listened to the album Medicine Man I thought the guest vocalists were the stars of the show, but boy was I way off. There was an alteration in the white man shuffle when the third song in the set was an oldie, becoming slower and uncertain but it still had momentum. Ella Thompson, second vocalist and AXOLOTL front woman got up on the front mic for track five, “Medicine Man” which was mesmerising, her mellow voice works really well with the rest of the sounds coming from the live setting. Bobby Flynn came on board for ‘Midnight’ and for some reason the sound quality of the backup mics was poor, which was a little bit disappointing for the rest of the night. Or maybe everything paled in comparison to Auldist, it is a bit hard to figure out in retrospect. Not only was the set a blast as a punter but we got to learn a few fun little facts as well. The track “Eliza” was written in twenty minutes; “Window” was written about Amy Winehouse; “The Wilhelm Scream” was written by James Blake’s dad!
The lowlight of the evening was most definitely Daniel Merriweather, who appeared for the first of three encore songs, “Never”. When all the other guys were dressed in suits he looks like they picked him up from the streets of Coburg when he was on his way to the shops, his lower range vocals sounding like he was on helium or something stronger and the incessant yelling “Give it up for the Bamboos!” and “You’re the best crowd in the world!” while he was meant to be singing made me want to strangle him with the mic chord. Luckily the next few songs brought the performance back on track to bring home, reiterating that The Bamboos live are a force to be reckoned with.
by Mason Smith