Review By Lisa Lanzi
You have approximately three weeks to catch the magic on stage that oozes from 27 Club’s outrageously talented musicians as they channel the myth, majesty, and sound of a collection of rock legends that departed our world when they hit their 27th year. Think Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison (The Doors), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, and Brian Jones (Rolling Stones). According to thisdig.com there are fifty four ‘official’ dead music legends who left this earth at only twenty seven but this gig showcased the cream of the crop.
As winner of Adelaide Fringe’s Best Music Award in 2021 and boasting plenty of five-and four-and-a-half-star reviews, 27 Club are on fire again in 2023. The line-up includes Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans, Jebediah) and Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus), Adelaide’s renowned Carla Lippis, and Musical Director Dusty Lee Stephensen alongside Cam Blokland (newly appointed member of The Superjesus) and multi-SAM Award winning Wanderers band members.
It was an energetic hour of phenomenal musicianship and vocal prowess as the singers took turns performing the immediately recognizable tunes. As one band member pointed out, these legends penned ridiculous numbers of hits and there was only an hour for the set; I think even three hours wouldn’t allow 27 Club to cover every possible song in the prestigious artist list. Toward the end a memorable mashup layered Winehouse’s Back to Black, Jim Morrison’s People Are Strange, Brian Jones’/The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black and Jim Morrison’s Light My Fire.
Sarah McLeod (sporting a moonboot to protect a busted ankle) took on a number of Joplin songs with perfect pitch, passion and gravelly growl; her voice soared with Another Little Piece of My Heart and Cry Baby, and a relaxed, truncated Mercedes Benz with the audience gleefully joining in. Some Jimi Hendrix standouts included Voodoo Child and Burning Desire among others. The Amy Winehouse tributes were beautifully delivered and well received by the audience - Carla Lippis belting Rehab and others was simply spine tingling. Kevin Mitchell provided fabulous amplified acoustic guitar accompaniment and vocals on You Know I’m No Good with Dusty Lee Stephensen adding layers of harmony and electric guitar. Both Lippis and McLeod took turns with Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee and as always, the musicians contributed the musical support flawlessly.
During the gig various facts about the legendary singers lives were dropped and tribute paid to their lasting legacies with great visuals projected on the upstage screen. Hearing these songs live is a sombre reminder that life is short and how sad it was that the world lost some bright stars of rock too soon. I’m just grateful that fine musicians like 27 Club bring these songs to life again, yet are able to individualize the music too.
As Neil Young was heard to say: “It’s better to burn out than fade away”. I doubt 27 Club will fade away any time soon and neither will these amazing musicians.