These Blues Brothers take a cliché and put their own mark on it. This could easily have descended into a monotonous repetition but instead puts a new spark back into some classic tunes. Although perhaps not completely note perfect, the raw energy of the group carries them through and, in the depths of C venues, plunges you back into a suitably grungy club in 70s’ Brooklyn.
Although the guys certainly pack a punch, they could give even more (turn up the bass!)
Jake and Elwood enter to the sound of sirens and the unmistakable groove of the theme from Peter Gunn. Well chosen quotes and a bit of tongue-in-cheek infiltrate the set at every level but, naturally, it’s still all about the music and the group certainly let the songs do the work. Steve Cropper would be proud of the guitarist’s finger work, never overpowering but always present; and Elwood’s harmonica playing is something else.
Although the guys certainly pack a punch, they could give even more (turn up the bass!). The choice of prison attire is interesting, considering that it only features in the final scene of the original film. At times, the backing musicians feel slightly absent from the party going down at the front whereas in the original line-up their individual personalities offered that final touch. Exceptions to this are the backing singers, absent from the original film version, but who here offer an extra touch of harmonic colour and some distracting dance moves, and ‘Murph Murphy’ who emulates the original’s awkward dad dancing and also morphs into a Paul Schaefer character at times, who would feature in the film sequel.
The highlight of the performance was no doubt Ray Charles seamlessly morphing into James Brown (with the aid of a preachers gown) and then Cab Calloway for a faultless rendition of Minnie the Moocher. His vocal range and footwork is equally impressive and breaks up what could easily have become a monotonous regurgitation of the band’s back catalogue. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love leads into a rousing encore where the band finally get into their stride and the audience finally get to their feet on Elwood’s orders. “Please extricate yourselves from your seat and move your body in time to the following music” - oh ok then.