Paul CapsisHaving grizzled about the lack of seating and acoustics in this venue previously (Tim Finn July 2012) I was happy to see a cafe-style configuration of tables and chairs in the art gallery foyer. The sound was also better, hardly excellent, but much improved.

It was an extraordinarily mixed audience, from the young and hip to audience members pushing 60 and well 70. However, as was pointed out to me, the older audience members would have been familiar with all the material Capsis rendered.

Clad in a golden suit "made from cigarette wrappers" and sporting one eye made up Isis Egyptian style, he slunk onstage and launched into a high-voltage version of "Everybody Wants To Touch Me".

The crowd was with him every step of the way.

The Bassey-esque vogue segued into a German Kabaret vibe with a set of songs that displayed Capsis' trademark excellent diction to full advantage. I was still not happy with the acoustics but the boy did everything he could to sell us the stories in the songs.

The rapport between him and his musical director, arranger and pianist was obvious. Andrew Patterson is an exceptional performer in his own right and an amazingly sensitive accompanist.

Sweeping though a varied menu of styles and songs Capsis transported the audience to Motown, Blues Central and beyond. Though he no longer seems to "channel" artists, the influences are there. There were strong intimations of Nina Simone, Bowie, Annie Lennox, Joe Cocker, Patti Smith and the Beatles.

I would have liked to credit the musicians with more than their first names; Michael (guitar), Pete (bass guitar) and Ben (percussion). Apparently they were locally sourced from WAAPA and given their "5 minutes of rehearsal"; an aside from Capsis, they performed admirably working from the charts.

There was a little banter with the audience, much of it muffled by the untidy sound, but Capsis let his songs do the talking.

Nowhere was his flexibility and talent better displayed than in the final section of the show where he brilliantly contrasted three songs. A beautifully constructed, absolutely straight arrangement of "Just A Perfect Day", with Janis Joplin's "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart" and the Stones classic "Honky Tonk Woman".

The word that springs to mind is "fabulous".

Paul Capsis

Venue: The Perth Art Gallery
Date: Thursday 11 October 2012
Tickets: $49.50
Bookings: Ticketek

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