The Bamboos, Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay – 28/06/2012

Extreme weather conditions in Byron Bay yesterday kept a vast amount of people out of town. The Bamboos on the other hand, had different plans. Their flight in to the nearby town of Ballina last night washed out and was re-routed all the way to Brisbane. It may have postponed the gig start time, but it certainly did not dampen their performance. In fact, they thrived at the Great Northern Hotel last night.

The Melbourne nine-piece funk-soul band came alive for their fifth studio album Medicine Man. They opened with a bang, playing Cut Me Down and warming the hearts of the audience. The people needed no encouragement to get their groove on the dance floor. On the microphone, Kylie Auldist apologised for their delay, which left people crowded in the foyers for up to two hours. But the room was already well past that and full of smiles.

Dress code on stage was strictly suit and tie, with cocktail arrays. No special guests that appear on their new album were present for the show; nevertheless, this suave unit certainly knows how to bring the jazz. People of young and old were out on this school night to celebrate music. Classic Bamboo singles were brought out one by one, such as You Ain’t No Good, On the Sly and Keep Me In Mind. Beautiful Day, a brand new song that is so fresh it’s not even on their new album, had the already buzzing crowd erupt in ovation.

Window, the last song on their new album, Medicine Man, was introduced by founding band member Lance Ferguson. He described it as a tribute song written for the late Amy Winehouse. It’s soft, sombre tone made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, bridging in to an ambient xylophone chorus. The Bamboos came back out of the blocks with their super cover of Nashville rockers, Kings of Leon song Kings of the Rodeo. An entourage of brass and woodwind roared through the room, which peaked with an epic jazz flute solo.

Newest band member Ella Thompson helped out throughout the night on vocals, none better than her cover of the experimental dubstep song by James Blake, the Wilhelm Scream. I don’t think a single person in the venue would disagree that she tore that song a new six string. Ella showed her vocal range earlier in the night, opening the show with her solo band, Axolotl.

A cold reality set in at midnight, when the audio curfew came into effect and the crowd dispersed back into the wet and windy abyss.

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