Grace Emily Hotel, Sun 28 Feb
What a great idea – get a group of songwriters together, delve into the archives of Adelaide’s past and see what songs might come out of it. Based on the twelve songs presented in this show, it has borne some rich bounty. The nature of this project had folk music stamped all over it in my head. I love folk music, but this show delivers much more. There are a couple of songs that might fit comfortably into the folk category, but there’s a great variety of material here – rock, blues, tango, bar room sing-alongs and something akin to musical theatre.
Each song features a different combination of players and instruments – from among acoustic and electric guitars, accordion, harmonica and bouzouki. The vocals are good throughout, and sometimes magnificent. Paula Standing’s bluesy tribute to Stormy Summers was a case in point.
Matt Swayne provides some great moments of humour singing about the birth of the butcher (as in the SA beer glass), and explaining why we have so many churches and so much wine. He has a great sense of comic timing. Ivone Kirkpatrick’s Politics Of Love has some humorous moments too in amongst the more serious tributes to a much loved former premier.
I learned things about Adelaide that I never knew. For instance, there was apparently a disturbing influx of sexy, salacious dancers into town from South America in the 1920s. This episode is appropriately told in a tango duet between guitar and accordion.
The show rounds off with a Keith Preston tune proclaiming that ‘Light got it right’. A local and of course partisan audience all joined in this finale for a back slapping sing-along.
Every song on the bill offered something – intriguing lyrics, catchy melody, humour, or interesting arrangement. It’s a really entertaining program. I loved it.
How many stars? For Adelaide residents 4.5. For out-of-towners 4. I guess that makes 4.25 stars then!
Adelaide The Songs continues at the Grace Emily Hotel from 5pm until Sun 6 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.