Fringe Music: California Crooners – Gluttony Masonic Lodge – Great Hall 3 1/2 K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

Adelaide’s own Hugh Sheridan returns once more to this year’s fringe festival in his previously sold out show California Crooners Club. He debuted the show here during the 2016 Adelaide Fringe and since then, audiences just can’t get enough of him.

Thrust into the TV spotlight in 2008 in his role as Ben Rafter in ‘Packed to the Rafters’ it would be Sheridan’s Jazz heritage which would always remain his calling. Fortunately he ignored the powers that be at Sony who once told him; “you are a young boy, nobody wants to hear you sing jazz, you’ve got to do pop.”

Sheridan’s idea to combine rap and jazz was the seed from which the California Crooners sprouted from. Based on the original ensemble of the Buena Vista Social Club, Sheridan invites others to be a part of his club, never asking for a lifetime commitment, so artists come and go. With his natural charm however and easy going nature, Sheridan is never short of attracting a variety of professional singers who all wish to work alongside him.

This Fringe, Sheridan is joined by LA based Emile Welman and Gabe Roland. He premiered this show with them both 5 years ago and so the evening had that feel of old friends once again united. Together, these three young men gave the best of themselves from start to finish. Starting off by weaving through the audience singing ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ the guys were lucky to make it to the stage such was their appeal to many middle-aged women there who were paying them a return visit.

Sheridan, Welman and Roland’s voices all blended beautifully together. Their harmonies were rich and full and really came to par when they performed two of their original songs, both having a real 50’s feel. Their compositions and renditions of latest hits were also very well received. These Crooners are true entertainers whose passion for their art shone through. They were backed by a wonderful six piece band made up of all Adelaide musicians who have been with Sheridan for each performance from the start; the brass section in particular being a stand out.

Unfortunately the band and crooners weren’t mixed very well on opening night. Base was too loud which tended to drown out the singers in the big numbers and even during the ballads the sound quality wasn’t the best which was a shame as the diction throughout was perfect.

Sheridan is a born performer and all round nice guy and his patter between songs was very natural and heartfelt. Throughout the performance the energy of the three crooners never waned and reached a crescendo at the end when the scene changed into a full on dance party. With most of the audience on it’s feet, it’s fair to say that the California Crooners achieved what they set out to do which was to simply get out on stage, entertain and create a fun night for all.

Kryztoff Rating 3 1/2 K

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