K-tunes Lounge, Sat 20 Feb
Lӓther are back and Adelaide’s Frank Zappa cognoscenti is out in force, hoping for another evening of total immersion in an astonishing, peerless soundscape. As per the title of the show, much of the music in this performance is from Zappa’s 1974 Helsinki concerts, released as You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 2, released in 1988.
Tim Hogan has painstakingly transcribed Zappa’s work and his talented eight-piece ensemble faithfully recreates the sound of the master. You can see and hear that these guys are dedicated to performing the songs expertly and seriously. This is no jam; it’s complex, interesting, and executed with precision. Hogan has also added a few sound bites of Zappa himself, using them as occasional introductions; a clever and endearing touch.
The music could be a little louder. Perplexingly, it’s not really a ‘listening audience’, so the songs are slightly struggling to be heard over the din. The vocals and guitar are too low in the mix, which also doesn’t help.
The arrangements and the performance however are both top-notch. It sounds like Frank.
Unfortunately, the venue’s organisation lets things down. Punters wait outside for 45 minutes. K-tunes doesn’t open its doors until right on showtime. Letting everyone in at once leads to chaos at the grossly understaffed and understocked bar. The band starts 15 minutes late. Not normally an issue, but this is early on a Fringe Saturday and people might have other plans for the evening – it’s supposed to be a one-hour show. After playing for 40 minutes, and with five minutes remaining until the scheduled end of the performance, the band announces that they will be back in 10 minutes…
Lӓther are a great band. I’ve seen them before and I hope to see them again. But probably not at K-tunes.