Band Room at Grace Emily Hotel, Sun 4 Mar.
[MUSIC/WORLD MUSIC – SA/VIC]
A crowd partially composed of shamelessly proud ukulele devotees was on hand to welcome the Ukulele Death Squad at the Grace Emily, and although this show began rather quietly with a lovely support set, the Squad came on shortly afterwards and tore the place apart.
Joe Man Murphy and his guest Ashleigh Randall opened with four Irish-inflected tracks (including their In The End My Love and a stripped-back take on Elton John’s Rocket Man), but the audience had been warned that Benjamin Roberts’ UDS are “the world’s most dangerous ukulele group”, and they didn’t disappoint, rocking the Hell out right from the word go.
With ukulele-intensive readings of songs that range from Irish love ditties to boozy sing-alongs to jazz favourites to contemporary hits, this particular performance’s highlights included a roaring take on the classic folk tune The Rattlin’ Bog, a frantic version of Dick Dale’s Misirlou (immortalised in Pulp Fiction), a cool rendition of Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher (immortalised in The Blues Brothers, and complete with some seriously wicked sax from Reuben Legge) and a final mash-up of Peggy Lee, P!nk, Australian Crawl and more that would have made Weird Al Yankovic positively weep with joy.
Loud, raucous and infectiously fun, this Squad might have looked like respectable businessmen with their suits and sunglasses but they nevertheless brought the house down, with the wild-haired Julian Ferguson offering a mean baritone ukulele, the unfairly-mocked Eamonn Burke (“the beast with the bass”, and bass players are apparently always teased) in fine form and Roberts capable of some wonderfully dirty licks as lead ukuleleist.
One of the musical highlights of this year’s Fringe, the Squad might just about make the ukulele cool again… um, make it cool for the first time… um, well, just make it damn COOL!!!
Ukulele Death Squad continues at Band Room at Grace Emily Hotel, at various times, until Sun 18 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 and adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Please note: All sessions have SOLD OUT