|Written by Anna Locke|
|Saturday, 03 March 2012 07:04|
Who would have thought that six grown men singing a cappella pop songs together with smooth boy band moves would bring a Perth International Arts Festival audience to its feet? UK band The Magnets did just that, bringing their blend of razor sharp harmonies, witty chatter and slick dance moves to the Festival Gardens in a night of awe inspiring music.
Since turning "professional" by signing with the EMI record company in 2000, The Magnets have been regulars on the European Festival circuit as well as performing at venues such as Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace.
The band creates their unique sound with their mouths, including the bass and percussion. Founder Nic Doodson was joined in Perth by singers Steve Trowell (also the musical arranger), Michael (Mikey) Welton, and Callum McIntosh. Fraser Collins provided rich velvety bass tones, both as a singer and as a double bass, whilst beat-boxer extraordinaire Andy Frost wowed the audience with his vocal percussion.
Opening with Sister Sledge's 'Lost in Music' followed by Blur's 'Girls and Boys' and Blondie's 'Call Me', it was soon evident we were in for a fabulously entertaining night packed full of interpreted well known songs. McIntosh (who seems to be the newcomer to the team) impressed with a soulful rendition of Elvis Presley's 'All Shook Up', before Doodson showed his vocal trumpet skills in the next song.
Andy Frost's drum and percussion solo had jaws dropping. If he hadn't been standing on stage in front of me, I would not believe that such an amazing array of sounds could be produced by the throat and mouth, let alone just one person. Not only musically brilliant, Frost is amusing as well, showcasing his talent by pretending to "tune" the cymbals and moving in and outside a club (this was done, quite ingeniously, by moving the microphone from his mouth to alongside his throat).
A short interval gave the sell out crowd enough time to calm down before The Magnets returned with a sharp rendition of Lady Gaga's 'Pokerface', perfectly contrasted with The Buzzcocks 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone That You Shouldn't've)'. At this point the truth came out; The Magnets used to be a boy band. Much laughter and hilarity from the audience ensued as the band performed a-ha's 'Hunting High and Low', complete with over the top cheesy boy band moves.
Bon Jovi's 'Living on a Prayer' was given the a cappella treatment before the band lead us through their newest technique; an A-Z whizz through 26 of their favourite movie themes. Complete with acting, we were treated to themes from The A team, Back to the Future, Fame, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Sex and the City to name but a few. I confess that I was laughing so hard after "S" that I missed most of T-Z.
With Fraser taking lead vocals for the first time in the evening, The Magnets managed to get the audience to sing in three part harmony to Hendrix's 'Cross Town Traffic', a solid rocking piece. The band closed with a stunning rendition of The Killer's 'Are We Human', before continuous thunderous applause brought them back on stage to sing the Jackson Five hit 'Blame it on the Boogie'. With dance moves, the entire audience were up on their feet joining in.
The Magnets are, without a doubt, a singing force to be reckoned with. They complement each other with sharp voices, harmonies and even sharper dance moves. They have incredible stage presence and graceful yet humorous patter in between songs. The east coast of Australia sees The Magnets regularly; let's hope Perth is now on the "visit again ASAP" list.
2012 Perth International Arts Festival
Venue: Festival Gardens
Date: March 1, 2012
Tickets: $42.50 – $39.50
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