CABARET: Tex Perkins & the Dark Horses – Space Theatre – 4K

After a five year hiatus, a slightly altered line-up of Tex Perkins & the Dark Horses reformed last year, much to the joy of fans around the country. Greeted by a rather lacklustre reception on the part of the audience gathered in the Space Theatre, Tex and the boys never-the-less kicked off the gig with much energy and irreverence and were soon receiving enthusiastic rounds of applause.

Joining original members Charlie Owen and Joel Silbersher were new band-mates Steve Hadley and Gus Agars, plus Cruel Sea alumni James Cruickshank. While Agars stayed on drums for the whole set the other five criss-crossed the stage throughout, interchanging instruments and showing off their wide ranging musical talents. At times this led to mad dashes from guitar to keyboards or vice-versa, as individuals seemed confused about what song was coming up and where they were meant to be for it. This all added to the humorous and laidback feeling of the show.

The set list consisted of a range of songs from the back catalogue plus several from their self-titled 2011 release. Some enthusiastic audience members could be heard singing along but for the most part people were happy to revel in the powerful charisma and soul-gripping voice of Perkins and the cheeky interactions between the six performers.

As a band, the group offered everything you could want from a set: great songs, played well and with pizzazz. However, the place of this show in the Cabaret Festival is somewhat confusing. There was no overarching theme to the song choices and no between song anecdotes; just a few references to the show not fitting into the genre, and this became the recurring joke. Perkins announced that he would do everything in an overly dramatic style, criticized the “writer” of the show and made the most of the unexpected dramas of a broken guitar string and the presence of water on stage.

This was not a cabaret show, this was a music gig. Having said that, where else in Adelaide would there be the possibility of a couple of hundred music fans being able to relax in a cabaret setting, nursing a drink and snacking on a cheese platter, while a band of the style and calibre of Tex Perkins & the Dark Horses played a blistering set? The lack of such a space elsewhere therefore leads to the question: if such a show is not appropriate for the Cabaret Festival, then should we miss out on it entirely? That would be a shame. So for now, let’s ignore the lack of “cabaret” in this “show” and appreciate the opportunity to see it.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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