Nexus Arts, Sat 30 Sep.
Another big night of music at Nexus Arts with two outstanding bands dishing up a frenzy of delicious funk music as part of OzAsia Festival 2017.
Adelaide’s musical monks The Shaolin Afronauts shuffle out onto the stage in their usual resplendent gowns, and launch into an intoxicating set of rhythmic instrumental music. Tonight a 10-piece band – four horns, three percussion/drums, bass, and two guitars – a big sound you cannot fail to groove along to. The largely seated crowd are soon encouraged to get up and dance, and the band’s sense of fun and tight musicianship sets the tone for the rest of the evening.
The funk style of The Bombay Royale from Melbourne is not a million miles away from the Afronauts, but there is a glitzier approach to entertaining the crowd. Dressed in costumes that might suggest the Bombay Village People, this 11-piece band – four horns (including MC/singer “The Skipper” Andy Williamson…), drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, sitar/tabla and two singers, Parvyn (“The Mysterious Lady”) and Shourov (“The Tiger”) keep the eyes and ears engaged. There is constant movement on stage, with each member having a stage persona (tennis coach??) and the audience are engaged in learning some Bollywood dance movements and regularly encouraged to join in with the onstage spectacle. Behind the band some brilliant graphics keep the whole thing looking splendid.
This would, of course, all come to nothing if the music was rubbish, but the songs are a memorable blend of traditional Bengali mixed with something altogether more modern but slightly retro, the singing a delicious interplay between the male and female singers, and the calibre of the musicianship impressive.
Thanks to OzAsia Festival and Nexus Arts for another night of enticing music!
The Bombay Royale image courtesy of Nik Harrison
The Shaolin Afronauts image courtesy of Andre Castellucci