Fringe World Review: “The Rhythm Spectacular”, Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys feat. Lucky Oceans (USA) ·
The Edith Spiegeltent at The Ice Cream Factory, 15 February ·
Review by Tiffany Ha ·
Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys are so talented that it’s kind of unfair.
They’re all fantastic at playing their instruments; they can all sing. Half of them are proficient in two or more instruments, switching seamlessly between them on stage.
Hall is the charming frontman, leading with his vocals and his trumpet, dressed in black skinny jeans and a textured damask blazer. You can tell he’s a seasoned performer – he knows his way around the stage and he knows how to rouse an audience. Inside the Edith Spiegeltent on Thursday we were tapping, clapping and grooving to his beat. He had us singing – at his command – during the quintessential call-and-response number ‘Minnie The Moocher’. He even got us out of our seats to form a conga line in the last number, a high-energy Latin medley which began with the Elvis classic “Viva Las Vegas”.
Hall paid tribute to the deep South, a place that he calls the birthplace of jazz. With the Velvet Playboys he served an eclectic set-list that included New Orleans jazz classics and Johnny Cash’s zany ‘Boy Named Sue’. Hall and Lucky Oceans (an American expat and Country/Western swing musician who now resides in Perth) were a dynamic leading duo, always giving space to one another, sharing the spotlight.
Lucky Oceans brought some real twang into the mix with his 1930s steel-bodied National and his pedal steel guitar. He played some of his original songs, which gave depth and authenticity to a show that included “When The Saints Go Marching In”, The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”.
I had a good time at “The Rhythm Spectacular”, and so, it seemed, did the rest of the (mostly middle-aged) audience. But its inclusion in the Fringe World program felt a little disingenuous. Did the show – besides the Spiegeltent – embody the spirit of Fringe? Did it challenge the status quo? Not really.
But perhaps not every Fringe artist needs to march to the deliberately unrepeatable beat of their own drum. If Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys (feat. Lucky Oceans) want to steer this cruise ship down the Mississippi Mainstream for a night, I’m happy to sit back, forget all my troubles, and enjoy the ride.
Pictured top: Richard Jackson (left) and Adam Hall (right) in “The Rhythm Spectacular. Photo: Maree Laffan.