RAW: Cabaret Fringe – New Coat of Paint – La Boheme – 4.5K

There was barely room to move in La Boheme for New Coat of Paint, a retrospective of the music of Tom Waits. With a three piece band and vocalist on stage, in addition to the piano and full drum kit either side, part of this was due to the act itself, however there was also a capacity crowd, ready for an evening of great tunes. Waits is a musician of many and varied styles, who is renowned for his distinctive, storytelling style and gravelly voice, so the promise of a female singer was intriguing.

Opening with the track after which the show was named, it was clear that we were in for an hour of top quality music. Alison Coppe’s voice is sublime. It is full and throaty, filled with rich tones and bubbling with emotion. Her range is wide, hitting the high notes with seemingly little effort and revelling in the sultry tones of the lower register. There is purity to her voice which could be thought of as the antithesis of Waits’ own sound but none-the-less it worked and brought out the beautiful melodies in his songs.

Providing the instrumental component of the evening were David Mazzarelli laying the foundations on drums, Michael Ciaramella, switching between electric and double bass, Luke Ferguson showing off his multi-instrumentality on electric guitar and trombone, Giovanni Clemente adding musical highlights on saxophone and, musical director Aaron Nash on piano. It was a slight pity that Nash was somewhat obscured from view, being on ground level, as his finger-work was a delight to watch.

All six performers were impressive on their respective instruments and had good onstage group chemistry. The set list was filled with songs in a range of musical styles and they met the requirements of each admirably. This was a sassy, energetic and powerful night of music. Hopefully this group of performers will be back with more of the same in the future.

Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K

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