The Darling Buds of May
Upstairs, The Leederville Hotel
Review: Scott McArdle
Leaving behind the vibrant colours, intriguing sounds, and tantalising smells of the Perth Cultural Centre for the brick-and-mortar Leederville Hotel seemed a disappointing start to the night.
The heart of Fringe was supposed to be in the city, where the masses flocked, right? So why drop a jazz show on the precipice of suburbia?
The answer is, of course, because The Darling Buds of May can stand on their own, and brought a show worth trekking across town for.
Audience members flocked upstairs and backed-up corridors in anticipation for an evening of "cool" jazz.
As we waited there seemed to be a casual buzz in the air, yet anticipation crept ever in.
The transcendent Jessie Gordon then appeared and the masses parted. Her easy interaction with audience members on her way to the stage would mark her performance as an extremely enjoyable one, lacking the awkwardness of a lot of young entertainers.
Basin St Blues began their flawless set and encouraged toe tapping and wolf whistles. However, on Gordon's request, dancers flocked to the floor like I've never seen. Well-rehearsed jiving, acrobatic displays, and Charleston imitations were all the rage, egged on by the infectious rhythms from the band.
Show stealers, however, were the delightfully bashful trumpeter and his saxophone accomplice Mark Turner, who wooed the audience by swapping to guitar and jazz flute midway through the set.
Gordon herself was a brilliant bandleader, radiating confidence and modesty all the while. Her vocal range was impressive, to say the least, as she swung from operatic high notes to Van Morrison-esque gravel.
The Darling Buds of May are a well-oiled machine, minus the frigidity that comes with machines.
They play beautifully together and have the appearance of a band that truly enjoys their music and their bandmates. This Fringe will doubtfully be their last.
The Darling Buds of May were a one-off in Fringe 2013 but check their website for upcoming performances: thedarlingbudsofmay.com.au.