LIVE REVIEW: The Bamboos @ Manning Bar, Sydney (20/05/11)

written by Chris Familton

Melbourne’s The Bamboos have been laying down the funk for a decade now and to celebrate they had a hometown birthday blow-out before bringing the party to Sydney. Bands don’t mark these milestones as often as they should so it was was great chance for newcomers to check out why The Bamboos are so highly rated and for the fans to celebrate a band still at the peak of their powers.

Paper Plane Project opened with an impressive set that slinkily bounced its way through hip hop, latin, electro and soul styles. They sounded futuristic and funky in a relaxed way even when they were digging back into sounds that were popularised years earlier. At times they threatened to settle too comfortably into cafe beats but managed to keep the sound tight enough and the grooves supple enough to deal out a very cool set.

The Psyde Projects were another kettle of fish. They ditched the understated cool angle and rocked a solid set of party tunes that kept bringing to mind those magic years in the 80s where hip hop sounded fresh and uncomplicated. Mr Moonshine was solid on all manner of instruments while MCs ILResponce and D’Fro spat rapid fire rhymes that ranged from the disposable comic lines to some world class lyrical dexterity.

The Bamboos then took the evening to another level that combined supreme musicianship, eminently danceable rhythms and a semi-detached cool that could have come across as aloof and cocky but instead was humbly affable. For two hours the band segued seamlessly between songs as if they were DJ’ing their own songs. The instrumental tracks they opened with set them up as young Melbournian take on James Brown’s Famous Flames before singer Kylie Auldist joined them and showed why she is so highly regarded with her infectious stage presence and a voice ranging from sweet serenade to bluesy holler. Being their birthday they dug into all parts of their six album discography including covers of Kings of Leon’s King of the Rodeo and the funk classic Tighten Up.  It isn’t often you see a band play with such precision and skill for a sustained period and though their set felt twenty minutes too long they still had the dancefloor moving right to the end. The Bamboos showed they don’t intend easing up on the funk anytime soon.

this review first appeared in The Drum Media (Sydney)

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