Barry Adamson, The Dames

Barry Adamson, The Dames
Corner Hotel | 11 September 2012

As the few early arrivals bag seats and tables or skulk around the edges of the ample boogie space available at the Corner this Tuesday night, The Dames start up a happy instrumental groove. The Dames are drummer Clare Moore from The Moodists fame, and Kaye Louise Patterson, perhaps best known as pianist/vocalist in ’90s country-rock band Acuff’s Rose. Tonight they have additional support from Moore’s husband Dave Graney on guitar, bass player Stuart Thomas (member of The Lurid Yellow Mist with Moore and Graney) and a synthesiser/tambourine player on some tracks. The band feel a little under-rehearsed, but overall the material is pleasant and melodious. There are a few interesting moods on offer: I’ve Got A Lot To Drink About is a chuckle-inducing number, while the darkly spooky dirge Alphonsus Will Get You changes the mood entirely.

Despite some lighting and sound hiccups early in the piece, the suaveness package that is Barry Adamson takes it all in his very sexy stride. Playing bass and singing front-and-centre, Adamson is in total command. He rips into Jimi Hendrix tribute Star Spangled Banner then amps up the funk with Get Your Mind Right from new album I Will Set You Free. The set is peppered with both new album numbers and older fan favourites such as the slinky dark noir of Deja Voodoo from his 1998 album, As Above So Below.

The decidedly older crowd nod their heads in cool acknowledgment while a couple of over-excited, ever-so-slightly younger punters dance with crazy abandon. Adamson is a big presence, clearly enjoying himself as he slices through the backing provided by the three talented musicians who accompany him on guitar, drums and keyboard. His crimson open-neck shirt and black vest combo plus wraparound sunnies add to his allure as he steers us through his mysterious, funky grooves. He is funny and relaxed, and adds much to his ‘honorary Melburnian’ status as he inserts city-specific lyrics into his songs: “I cruised the streets of Brunswick”, being just one example. He owns the rhythmic pulse of the band in new songs Turnaround and Destination, which sees the guitarist not needing to play rhythm so much as lay down distorted licks and atmospherics.

The encore is fun, as Adamson brings out his ‘friends’, Howard and Dave: two creepy, skull-faced maracas that he proceeds to shake to the pulse of sensuous number Jazz Devil. The whole night is an enjoyable romp through the murky, inviting world of Adamson’s mind.

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