Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bowie Unzipped–Jeff Duff at Caravan Music Club

jeff duff 6
Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club 11/12/15
Ever since I attended the Robert Forster concert I’ve had the David Bowie song Golden Years playing in my head, occasionally alternating with Starman and Ashes to Ashes, all of which were played on the night in question by the Thin White Ukes, the ukulele David Bowie tribute band. You could say they were the catchiest tunes of the evening.

On Friday night I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Duff, founding member of iconic Aussie band Kush, perform his riveting tribute show to the same artist, at Caravan Music Club.

A consummate showman and  entertainer, Jeff Duff channelled the spirit of Bowie through two sets and twenty four songs.

The show started with the recorded soundtrack of the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey (Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss) and the band – Jak Housden (guitar), Glenn Rhodes (keyboard) and Jess Cianti (drums) – climbed onstage dressed in white space suits and took up/sat behind their instruments.

In his first (of six) costume of the night, Jeff Duff entered dressed in a sparkling gold suit, fitted with angel wings and launched into a medley of Starman and Ziggy Stardust with a snippet of Ashes To Ashes thrown in.

Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 1
China Girl was the next song to be performed, then Changes, Space Oddity (with audience participation in the chorus) and Life On Mars.

Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 2
Whilst Jeff was executing a quick costume change Jak Housden entertained the audience with a rendition of Oh, You Pretty Things.
Jak Housden in space suit singing Oh You Pretty Things
Jeff returned to the stage resplendent in a gorgeous red suit topped off with a top hat, to take over the vocals again with Modern Love.
Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 3
Two more songs were sung before the end of Set 1, Under Pressure and Young Americans.

After the break there followed ten more songs that included Heroes, Golden Years, 1984, Rebel, Rebel and a great cover of Lou Reed’s classic Walk On The Wild Side, which song always reminds me of my long departed dog Arabel, who used to howl along with the coloured girls going doo, doo, doo...

The audience were encouraged to sing the doo, doo, doo bit, which they did with enthusiasm.

Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 4
The second set ended with Suffragette City, but Jeff Duff and band returned for a three song encore that included the Kush hit Livin’ on Easy Street and MacArthur Park, which was also covered by Kush back in the day.

Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 5
It was wonderful evening of high class entertainment. The room was packed for the sell out show and the band was hot. Though only a three piece outfit, they packed a big sound. The charismatic Jeff Duff was the star act and is a great live artist and he performed the quirky songs of David Bowie with wit and style.

I dare say I’ll have the whole back catalogue of David Bowie songs on my brain for another month.

Jeff Duff live at Caravan Music Club – costume 6
That was the last of the concerts I will see in 2015, and a fine way to segue into 2016.

I really regret that I missed going to see the David Bowie exhibition at Melbourne ACMI when it was on. It’s decades since I’ve listened to his music. Latterly his songs can be heard with a fresh ear, eons after hearing the originals, and although familiar come with a new awareness of the uniqueness of his artistic output.

Set List

Set 1
  1. Starman
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. China Girl
  4. Changes
  5. Space Oddity
  6. Life On Mars
  7. Oh, You Pretty Things
  8. Modern Love
  9. Under Pressure
  10. Young Americans
Set 2
  1. Wild Is The Wind
  2. Heroes
  3. 1984
  4. Sorrow
  5. Walk On The Wild Side
  6. ? (sung by Jak Housden)
  7. Rebel, Rebel
  8. Golden Years
  9. Jean Genie
  10. Let’s Dance
  11. Suffragette City
  1. All The Young Dudes
  2. Livin' On Easy Street
  3. MacArthur Park

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