Governor Hindmarsh, Sun 24 May
A video clip showing Jake and Elwood Blues getting organised for their evening’s performance is projected from the back of the stage, while the six-piece band plays familiar Blues Brothers intro pieces, the classic Peter Gunn Theme and Otis Redding’s I Can’t Turn You Loose. The audience comes to life and starts movin’ and a-groovin’. Well, some members do. It’s a curious configuration that The Gov has decided upon for the show. Most of the floor space is taken up with tables and chairs, but there’s enough of a gap in front of the stage for dancers to move into. This means that all those at the tables, the bulk of the audience, now have restricted views. No-one seems particularly bothered; not bothered enough to move in any case.
Wayne Catania (Jake) and Kieron Lafferty (Elwood) bounce onto the stage and, from the moment they go through the long-standing routine of unlocking the briefcase, acquit themselves very well in the roles originally made famous by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd respectively. Both emulate the distinctive and well-known vocal styles and movements with aplomb, and bear a pretty strong physical resemblance to the original pairing. It is clear that Lafferty is also an excellent harmonica player, something that augments the songs in every instance. The rest of the band, made up of international and Australian musicians, is also pretty hot.
Although the arrangements are standard, there are a few memorable moments, including a scorching guitar solo during Shot Gun Blues. Most of the expected numbers from the Briefcase Full Of Blues, Made In America and Music From The Soundtrack LPs are presented over the course of the two sets: Sweet Home Chicago, Minnie The Moocher, Shake A Tail Feather, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, She Caught The Katy, Theme From Rawhide et al. These are accompanied by a few lesser-known but still interesting efforts. Catania does a good job of getting the enthusiastic crowd participating; throughout the concert he urges people to sing, dance, clap, whatever – just be part of it.
There’s plenty of comedy moments; jokes, face-pulling, novelty songs and more. Overall it is a pretty good-natured evening that features classic music from various points of the 20th Century; music that The Blues Brothers have been bringing to new ears for more than 30 years. Respectful of their musical roots, images are displayed of the artists who made these songs famous the first time around.
There’s almost no license afforded in any of the songs, so punters get exactly what they have been used to hearing all these years, just at a much louder volume. And it’s done well. From Gimme Some Lovin’ through to Soul Man, the audience gets just what it wants.