The Bamboos, Wanderers @ The Gov, Adelaide 18/8/2018

I had last seen The Bamboos at Womadelaide a few years ago and was really looking to seeing them again.

First up tonight was local act Wanderers. I had seen them a few years ago as a three-piece and thought they were good but tonight they were excellent. The wonderful sound that you get at the Gov really adds to the enjoyment of a performance. They have played Womadelaide this year and just last week played at the Adelaide Guitar Festival and their inclusion for these high profile events are well deserved. Tonight they were tight and professional. They have a distinctly US sound like Steely Dan or the Doobie Brothers and I find Dusty Lee’s singing sounds a little like Stevie Wonder. We got the full experience tonight as they had a drummer, two guitarists and two keyboard players.

The first song was called Molly and was great and set the tone for the rest of their set which was filled with excellent extended jams and superb riffs. Set highlights for me were In your Fire and Loco from their Something for a Distraction EP. We were treated to a sensational cover of the Doobie Brothers What a Fool Believes with a crowd singalong and some more great riffs. The band seemed to be getting off from the excitement of the crowd and looked like they were very happy to be performing for us. They finished with a cool song called Off My Back which is their new single. They said they jokingly travelled all the way from Mile End to play for us and I am happy that they did. I look forward to following their career.

Next was The Bamboos who have visited Adelaide several times and who were here to promote their new album called Night Time People It is a great album and I was happy that they played the majority of the album tonight. They started off with the title track of the new album and from early on I could tell we were in for a treat. The band was tight and Kylie Auldist’s voice was sounding wonderful.

The Bamboos were formed in 2000 by Lance Ferguson. Yuri Pavlinov on bass joined two years later and with Lance on guitar and Yuri on bass they have made eight albums together with various other band members coming and going over the years. Tonight is the last night of the current tour and Lance’s dad was in Adelaide seeing the concert. He must be proud of his son Lance the bandleader whose excellent jangly guitar was a joy to hear all night.

Early highlights were Yuri’s bass playing on Stranded and Ross Irwin’s trumpet solo on Community Service Announcement. Ross who also moonlights in the Cat Empire later in the night sang a ripping cover version of the Easybeats I’ll Make You Happy.

In the lead up to the concert tonight I had been listening to the new Bamboo’s album but after Aretha Franklin died I also started listening to an old excellent compilation called Atlantic Rhythm and Blues which in my youth was my introduction to a lot of Aretha songs and some other awesome funk and blues songs. I noticed how a lot of my favourite songs from the compilation sounded like The Bamboos and I was not surprised when they paid tribute to Aretha tonight with a superb version of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. This was a wonderful singalong moment with the crowd and Kylie was fabulous.

On Bring it Home from the Rawville album Kylie got to have a rest and went backstage while the rest of the band did an extended jam where everyone got to do a solo and showcase their fine musical prowess. Graeme Pogson on drums was the best and was keeping a great beat and he had an incredible energy all night.

Special mention must be made of Kylie who joined The Bamboos in 2006 and tonight she was always smiling and just really connected with her fellow band mates and the crowd. She exudes warmth, passion and energy and makes everyone feel good. The last 2 songs from the new album were Salvage Rites and Lit Up which are my two favourite songs from the album and they sounded fantastic and really showcased Kylie’s magnificent voice. Towards the end of the show she stated “If I never do another gig in my life I will be happy. Not that I want the plane to crash or anything!”

The last two songs prior to the encore were Like Tears in the Rain and Keep me in Mind from the Bamboos 4 album were joyous and I felt The Gov was lifted to another level.

Only Lance and Kylie returned after rapturous applause for a groovy stripped down version of I Don’t Wanna Stop from the Rawville album. The rest of the band came out for the final song of the night from the Fever in the Road album called The Truth which was my highlight of the night which had incredible piano playing from Daniel Mougerman with Kylie and the rest of the band in excellent form.

A great end to the night and hopefully they will be back for Womadelaide next year so we can hear these excellent songs again.

Live Review by Richard De Pizzol

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