Reviewer: Dale Anninos-Carter
Genre: Music – jazz/swing
Where: The Spiegeltent
Eight-piece jazz/swing band, The Hot Sardines, performed a truly outstanding sell-out show for their Adelaide audience – taking the crowd on a journey back in time to the pre-WWII era.
Formed in 2007, The Hot Sardines have performed around the globe for show-goers of up to 25,000, and more-so intimate crowds of approximately 300 as observed in the Belgian Spiegeltent in Adelaide’s Elder Park. The floorboarded tent was heavily vibrating with the ricochet from collective cases of intense rhythmic foot-tapping. The force of the contagious foot-tap proved too strong, and as quick as you can say “jazz”, a visual display of thorough enjoyment surfaced left, right and centre via the flick of an ankle. Rightfully so, the musical blend reigned an adventure.
The temporarily constructed, historical Spiegeltent hosted the talented group of suited musicians, and their second nature apparatuses. Making an appearance were; the delicate drums, a sexy saxophone, a curious clarinet, a tender trombone, a profound piano, a bi-lingual vocalist and a highly expressive tap dancer. As well as a trumpet and bass, blown and tickled by two Adelaide University graduates amongst six American, fellow artists. Think speakeasy vibes, prohibition vibes and Paris in the 30s vibes.
The hour and a half show beamed with mystery. The Hot Sardines executed tunes of up to one hundred years old in such a passionate approach, that it was difficult not to be swept into another world of previous-life fantasy. Instead of continuously jazzing-out, vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol, introduced each song as they came, stating whether they were a cover of an infamous track or an original Hot Sardines piece – both equally as impressive. These mini intervals permitted a chance to resume reality and subsequently delve into another trance dependent on the given description.
Elizabeth Bougerol upheld conversation with the audience throughout – personalising the show with Adelaide specific jokes, encouraging conversation at times, and storytelling. Bougerol briefly, but beautifully encapsulated what jazz can do to listeners despite language barriers, claiming that jazz has the ability to tap into “universal emotion”, and the songs that were written one hundred years ago are still as “compelling and resonant as they are now”, especially songs of love. I believe every person seated in the Spiegeltent that night concurred with this testimony, and felt just as heartily as perhaps a parent, grand or great-grandparent would have.
The pitch perfect performance flourished with energy, and not a dull moment prevailed. From solos, to a sneaky washboard debut, a French sung song, and a tap dancer on the brink of an energetic seizure – The Hot Sardines are absolutely unmissable. The departing standing ovation was entirely deserved.