[MUSIC ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ SA]
The Jade, Tue 10 Mar.
SWT_HM_ADL is a collection of Adelaide songs written by people who clearly love the place – the local Fergus Maximus, and Doctor D, an emigrant from the UK.
As we all know Americans have sung about their states, towns and cities for decades. A cultural cringe factor has long prevented Australians from doing the same but we are slowly warming to the task. There are two shows exhibiting original material about Adelaide in this Fringe and this is the more electric version. A six-piece band verily belts out some songs in hard rock, blues and boogie formats, while also offering quieter songs in a more pop or folk vein.
As an Adelaide local it’s a treat to sit back and listen to songs with titles like Back in ADL, Somerton Nights, The Gulf Of St Vincent, etc. The songs are loosely joined by a narrative that includes going way back in time to a tale about Adelaide’s first police officer circa 1915, and are all played out in front of a large screen with images that nicely complement the songs.
There are some really strong melodic moments, some good old-fashioned archetypical lead guitar breaks, and enough variety in the arrangements to keep even a non-partisan audience engaged.
It did feel a little parochial at times. Somerton Nights is a catchy tune but really it could be a song about nights anywhere. Just as Summer And Girls could be about girls in summer anywhere. Nothing wrong with writing such songs either – the songs in fact are pretty good, but may not resonate to the same extent with outsiders. Most of these songs are personal dedications – not so much songs about Adelaide as songs about how much the writers enjoy Adelaide.
I enjoy Adelaide, really enjoyed the show, and loved hearing songs set in my hometown! It’s quite possible that several of these songs may have a life of their own beyond this Fringe. Let’s hope so.