A Roaring Accordion brings Strangely Doesburg's promise of a “rollicking, sing-along, one-man cabaret-riot” to the top deck of the bus in the Free Sisters.
Despite some limitations, he has charm and charisma and manages to galvanise the audience.
Doesburg has an impressive voice, a sort of anti-folk/punk boom that is rich and oddly majestic. His accordion lurches from Gallic to Gaelic, folk to punk, with flair and flourish. Appearance-wise he is dapper in a suit and adorned with some extremely loud facial hair, and he can stand on his head. His voice, his evident varied skill at the accordion, and his appearance anticipates a spectacular yet coherent form of madness.
Yet the song content fails to live up to expectations. At his best he finds a quirky humour in recounting how crazy he is; he likes to live on a boat and eat sweets for breakfast; a self-aggrandising song is quite infectious but fairly limited in where it goes. At his worst, there's a bitter lament based on a poor review, and two separate songs about why he hasn't made it and how he has got to just keep on trying. In a way these come across more X-Factor sob story than accordion folk-punk hero of the Western world. In one song he takes lyrics from a Ray Bradbury novel and this does bring some depth along with an enjoyable creepy atmosphere. Despite some limitations, he has charm and charisma and manages to galvanise the audience to interact and stomp along with him in the bus.
Doesburg says that each show has a different line-up, so that each night we are getting something unique and original. Perhaps the better songs were on the other nights, but it all seemed a bit insubstantial.