But ‘twas an entirely different Deni that took the stage, for the first of two sets (the second by Christine Anu), at the swish, new Club Swans, which has almost instantly distinguished itself as one of Sydney’s classiest venues.
This Deni is self-assured, to the point of extroverted hyperactivity; a fountain of babble, with a punchy, powerful vocal delivery that craves and thrives on soul and funk. Happily, so do I. So, apart from her own compositions, which are, arguably, unjustly, too little known, Ms Hines enthused & enthralled the small, but ardent throng, with, for example, her gutsy Son Of A Preacher Man, but one of a clutch of songs which betray the influence of her mum. The pneumatic 37-year-old, with the radiant, toothpaste ad smile, went among & intermingled with her audience, winning hearts, as she strode around the tables.
She made play of her Jamaican granny, skilfully interpolating reggae into tunes where one mightn’t, otherwise, find it. She put the boot squarely into record companies, with just a hint of justifiable bitterness. All in all her performance was, and, clearly, is, every bit as scintillating as that blinding smile. This is a still-young woman who’s come of age; hit her stride.
Christine is a singer with whom I’ve long found a deep, emotional connection. When she sings about it, I feel it. If Deni’s gift is sassy, sexy, sophisticated rhythm, Christine’s is authenticity, which is, of course, so very hard to fake. No jokes, though. Christine, unlike, I suspect, so very many lesser singers, fakes nothing, which is what makes her music so, if you will, soul-orgasmic. One gets the feeling she’s plumbing the very depths of her soul. And ours. She can still sing her most over-exposed songs and make them sound as fresh as 4am bakery bread tastes. And I still maintain her version of Neil Murray & Warumpi’s My Island Home should at least vie for national anthem. What a contrast to the impossible-to-relate-to, out of its time, out of joint contrivance we suffer currently!
While Deni’s been off playing James Morrison’s ‘other woman’, delving into jazz, Christine pulled out a dizzying rendition of Georgia.
They rounded off, of course, with a few duets, including their noble, live-take recording of The Doobie Bros. full-on Takin’ It To The Streets. On release, please, buy a copy, or three, as all proceeds go to Sydney’s thirty-thousand homeless.
They might be divergent in personality, style and disposition, but, in generosity, they really could be tiddas.
This was a somewhat unexpectedly sensational evening of thoroughly affecting music, in no small measure contributed to by the hottest, tightest, bravest band I’ve seen in yonks. No wonder it earned yelps, encores and ovations.
If you’re still, if nothing more, breathing, Hines & Anu can’t and couldn’t fail to light your fire.
Reviewed Sunday 25th May at Club Swans | 28 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross
CHRISTINE ANU & DENI HINES
Thu 8th Sonar @ Luna Park, Nth Sydney, NSW
Fri 9th Sths Juniors, Maroubra, NSW
Thu 15th Capital Bar, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Fri 16th Auditorium, Canberra, ACT
Thu 22nd Lizottes, Central Coast, NSW
Fri 23rd Penrith RSL, Penrith, NSW
Sat 24th Dee Why RSL, Dee Why, NSW
Sun 25th Club Swans, Kings Cross, NSW
Thu 29th Laurieton United, Laurieton, NSW
Fri 30th Nambucca Heads RSL, Nambucca, NSW
Sat 31st Ballina RSL, Ballina, NSW
Sun 1st Coffs Hotel, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thu 5th Wellers, Kangaroo Ground, Vic
Fri 6th Peninsula Lodge, Moorooduc, Vic
Sat 7th New Capers, Hawthorn, Vic
Thu 12th Hervey Bay Boat Club, Hervey Bay, QLD
Fri 13th The J, Noosa, Qld
Sat 14th Southport RSL, Gold Coast, QLD
Sun 15th Victoria Point Sharks, Brisbane, Qld
Fri 20th Brothers Leagues, Cairns, QLD
Sat 21st Bombay Rock, Townsville, QLD
Sun 22nd Magpies Sports, Mackay, QLD
Thu 26th The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Fri 27th Hornsby RSL, Hornsby, NSW
Sat 28th Shellharbour Workers, Shellharbour, NSW
Further info: www.myspace.com/deniandchristine