THE TIGER & ME – Saturday 14th December


Described by Inpress Magazine as “Cabaret/Circus/Euro Indie Folk-Pop Wunderkinds”, Melbourne quintet The Tiger & Me weave a rare mixture of styles and sounds as three lead vocalists exchange and merge tunes from whispered ballad to fevered maelstrom. Driven by piano, bass and drums, the band also draws on guitars, ukulele, accordion, violin and five voices to create an identifiable sound. “If your throat catches at the thought of nights spent huddled in smoke-filled speakeasies and velvet-lined cabaret bars you stumbled upon during distant travels, reclaim the memories with an evening at Music For Lovers, Villains And Fools – the evocatively named tour by The Tiger & Me and Bearded Gypsy Band that is currently touring nationally…

Fresh-faced, Adelaide-based quartet Bearded Gypsy Band prove a solid opening act with their cool set of gypsy-, jazz- and folk-blended music that massages the senses. Lead vocalist and violinist Tom Boehm engages the audience with an easy-going stream of banter in between numbers. “This is a weird mix of Nick Cave, French club style,” he says before launching into Josephine, one of the few tracks that actually features lyrics. They may play younger siblings to their lead counterparts, but Bearded Gypsy Band’s energy-driven, toe-tapping rhythms can enliven any dancehall.

Schoolboy shirts and ties are exchanged for sophisticated glamour and artful poise when The Tiger & Me take their turn on the tiny stage. “We always joke that we have more instruments than we have musicians,” doe-eyed Jane Hendry, one of the three lead vocalists, purrs as the multi-skilled musicians switch between grand piano, guitar, piano accordion, ukulele and violin. Hendry’s sweetly wholesome lilt is a good foil to the backing vocals of pianist Ade Vincent and the growling baritone of Tobias Selkirk, and together the trio are a powerhouse in the rousing I Left The Wolves Behind That Night. The band’s songs are an eclectic mélange sampling cabaret, gypsy, jazz, touches of Chris Isaak and Ella Fitzgerald, and the familiar chords of The House Of The Rising Sun. Trumpet flourishes by Audrey Boyle give a real boost to the circus and Spanish-themed numbers. Lyrics are whispered softly, howled, chanted or clapped along to by the entire band.

At night’s end, the two bands join forces and perform a song each from their catalogues. The result is both endearing and electric. This cosy venue is a perfect choice for the homegrown bands and their intimate, genre-defying styles that lure audiences into far-flung journeys.

Written by Ching Pei Khoo

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