The Jade, Sat Jun 28
Even though the Cabaret Festival is over for another year Cabaret, in all its forms, is clearly imbedded into the Adelaide psyche. This is more than evident in tonight’s performance from Michelle and The Gentlemen’s Club; a moving memoir of Michelle Pearson’s years of growing up and coming of age in and around our city. It’s a very personal and intimate performance; her patter leads us into a song and, in turn, to the next part of the story and the one that follows. Pearson’s tales range from her first serious boyfriend, early sexual encounters, experiences with her family and, given that her mother and father were in the audience, the telling was even more close and personal!
Two particularly memorable stories are her relationship with the tractor-driving Kapunda farmer – driving home on break-up night playing a Cold Chisel song over and over for the 2 hour trip home – while the one about watching her dad’s life after marriage was one of those gems showing success despite sadness, which Pearson followed up with the somewhat rewritten (for her dad) Smooth Operator. What a cracker!
The Gentlemen’s Club was originally a 4-piece, but this gig saw the introduction of a new member on Saxophone, something that clearly touched a chord with Pearson. The rest of the band (keys, bass, drums and guitar) were tight, the instruments and sound were clear and sweet all night with Pearson’s voice cutting clearly through the mix.
The song selection ranged from jazz to pop and rock; and featured a considerable number of Australian songs in the mix, allowing Pearson ample opportunity to let loose with power and poise, clarity and heart; the last couple of songs really had her playing the part to a tee, emotionally involved to the extent of involving the whole crowd in the songs. Especially poignant in the encore song with a Sax solo taking us out; Pearson almost tearing up in the joy of the sound.
While Michelle and The Gentlemen’s Club may have now played their last performance in this particular format for some time, we are promised much more music is to come from all members of the band for the rest of 2014. I’m sure this will continue to be delivered with Pearson’s engaging stories and repartee.
by Clayton Werner