The Blackcat Lounge Opening Night Extravaganza showcased a selection of five of the performances in this season. Brendan Maclean opened with two gorgeous songs, including one about his boyfriend who apparently has an exceptionally large forehead, before sadly having to rush off "to another gig" or perhaps aforementioned boyfriend.
Other highlights included Lady Sings it Best, a 6 women group along with pianist, drummer and bass player. They ploughed their way through a number of crowd-pleasing,wildly swinging mash-ups and cute choreography all with a raunchy tongue in cheek. They opened the Blackcat season the next night to a much smaller crowd (hopefully numbers will build) and have a bunch of dates to follow.
Beauty and the Bastard aka Maxine Kauter and James Edgar Francis, have a lovely on stage chemistry. Their longer show promises much sharp wit and left field takes on Disney tunes. The gig was rounded out by soul/jazz singer Ali Hughes and singer/songwriter Brett Every. Like Beauty and the Bastard, all needed longer to find a clear musical footing with the audience. Hughes has performed in New York while Every gave the delightful appearance of making his own time on stage and was conflicted by the short amount allotted to him.
Producer Mave Marsden, also the vocal backbone of Lady Sings it Best, has done a fine job putting together an interesting musical assortment though at times the evening felt pushed as each performer only had 10 minutes. This could easily have been extended to15 or 20 with a robust MC doing a bit of fill where needed. Instead it was a cramped hour with slightly taken aback audience ejected barley after entering the just warmed up theatre.
The intimate shed at Sidetrack is a perfect venue for a music lounge show especially one with a queer focus. The stripped back insides of the shed certainly focussed the mind and ears on the performers, which is after all what the show is about, but the atmosphere, despite a very warm and enthusiastic crowd, could have been much enhanced by a less conventional seating approach and a bit of attention to dressing the space. It all sounded great, but looked a bit boring.
BLACKCAT LOUNGE OPENING NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA
Venue: Sidetrack | 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville, NSW
Date: Tue 14 Feb, 2012