AWESOME TWOSOME: Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty did a stellar job of emulating The Blues Brothers legend.
AWESOME TWOSOME: Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty did a stellar job of emulating The Blues Brothers legend.

Blues Brothers are in the Valley

SURE it's cold now, and dark by 5pm, so dragging your behind off the couch on a Friday night and replacing the ugg boots with leather ones and a fleecy robe with a jacket and jeans required some effort. Particularly on the back of another traditionally energy zapping week of work.

Presumably that's what a lot of other people were feeling last Friday night given the slightly disappointing numbers that attended the internationally endorsed Blues Brothers Revue.

It was the 'internationally endorsed' bit that was the key in setting this act apart from the hire van act rolling up with two impostors, a mic and a sequencer in tow, although the original Jake and Elwood would probably feel right at home with that set-up.

No, these Blues Brothers were as close as you could get to the real deal beyond, bringing John Belushi back from the dead and Dan Ackroyd a first class ticket to Grafton.

But this Jake and Elwood were still on an important mission, from Ackroyd and Judy Belushi (widow of John) and the producers of the show ad who handpicked Wayne 'Jake' Catania and Kieron 'Elwood' Lafferty to fill those big legendary Blues Brothers shoes.

And not only did they do that, the uncanny resemblances and finely-crafted mannerisms ensured you felt you were right there in Chicago in the late '70s.

Ably assisted by some of Australasia's finest musicians and session players, the accompanying six-piece band featured the best exponents in trumpet, saxophone, lead and bass guitars, drums and keys, teamed with some impressive harp playing from Elwood and snappy Canadian deliveries by the Blue duo.

Keiron's gum-chewing, hands-clasped at front stance, reached a point of perfection that you really started to think it was Ackroyd himself up there, while Wayne's Jake was no slouch either, or in this case appropriately slouchy in his living, breathing homage to Belushi.

Then there was the music. It was standalone spectacular without the visual comedy. From the quirky start where the film sprang to life when the brothers made their entrance courtesy of the Peter Gunn Theme, through the classic soundtrack that wore thin on the cassette decks of many a car during the 1980s.

Everybody Needs Somebody, Minnie the Moocher, Sweet Home Chicago and the ubiquitous Theme from Rawhide, the contributions gleaned from the legendary blues pack that saturated that period from the 60s to 80s including Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and John Lee Hooker (and whose images flickered on the digital screen behind the live act) had the purists and curious in the crowd feeling upbeat as energy seemed to rise up out of the theatre's floorboards.

Audience interaction was appropriately gospel-like in its delivery, the pastors in blue inciting charismatic behaviour from the congregation, while laughs abounded with the odd local reference (the Grafton Tabernacle Choir was thrown out there by Elwood during one early sing-a-long) ensuring everyone's faces remained curled in the right direction.

The Blues Brother Revue was the first time I've seen people up in the aisles of the Saraton, shaking a tailfeather like it was nobody's business. And while there were probably close to about 160 of us enjoying the international spectacle, nobody left there disappointed - except maybe the bean counters.

It may have been a wintry mission to get there but it had the soul warmed in no time.



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