The Bamboos are back! Yes, our very own home grown first-class deep funk/soul royals have a new album out aptly named ‘4’. With four studio albums under their belt, The Bamboos have officially declared in an interview on Melbourne’s highly rated 2RRR community radio that this album is far different from the previous albums. This record should sound like a Bamboos record, rather than a deep funk record as such. I just wanted to capture a sound of the band that wasn’t a signature sound…For me it’s the best album we’ve done in terms of the song writing and production we’ve done…” asserts Lance Ferguson on 2RRR, the band’s main producer and guitarist. Niche Production presented The Bamboo’s album launch last Friday at The Manning Bar proving once again why they are Australia’s leading esteemed soul/funk connoisseurs.

Showcasing their distinguished musicianship, loyal fans came armed with their infectious solid dance floor moves, singing lyrics that resonated throughout much of the room and throughout night. The evening started off with Sydney’s sophisticated soul funk trio Ray Mann Three delivering once again quality original and minimal soul funk grooves, establishing the perfect mood for what was yet to come. Sporting a shaved head, Ray Mann with his D’angelo-esque vocals warmed the dancefloor playing tracks off their debut LP of the same name. Watch out for these guys as they soon could possibly be joining the list of Australian royal soul funk aficionados, and that’s definitely not a bad thing for Australia!

As the lights dimmed, each member of the group made their way on stage to a crowded room full of cheers and whistles expressed by dedicated fans. The men walked with ease sporting black and white suits,  with lead singer Kylie Auldist appropriately the last member to join the stage. They opened with ‘Kings Cross’ – a track from the new album which revealed the band’s new influences, introducing the audience to a fierce new Mod Funk sound with hint of rock&roll 60’s Beat persuasion. A perfect opener to exhibit the non-traditional production style of the new album which Lance Ferguson speaks about on 2RRR. Tracks heard on the night were ‘Made of Stone’ from The Bamboo’s presents: Kylie Auldist, their classic track from their 2007 Rawville album ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’, then to the fast paced raw funk/soul groove ‘Got to Get it Over’ found on their fourth album, ‘The Ghost’, ‘Step it Up’, ‘On the Sly’, ‘You ain’t no good’, ‘I Will’, and ‘Typhoon’ just to name a few tracks from their hour long set. It may have been longer, it possibly could’ve been shorter, but who keeps up with time when the only measure of time was to the beat of the music? Although there was very little crowd interaction, one can be forgiven when smiles all round was a testament to a great show experienced.

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Kylie Auldist sung tracks that had featured other artists vocally, but if you weren’t a huge fan to begin with, you wouldn’t know any better. She owned each song she sang leaving a permanent imprint. Stand out tracks were ‘You ain’t no good’ found on their latest album which one could easily be mistaken as being produced by British music producer and singer/songwriter Steve Brooker (who co-produced Duffy’s album). It was catchy live as it is in the studio album version particularly the distinctive drum sound. Another stand out track on the night was ‘Turn it Up’, which got the crowd jumping in an almost frenetic state, as did their classics ‘King of the Rodeo’ and ‘Set it Up!’, and did they ever! Just ask the man beside me screaming lyrics in my ear wearing a huge smile of satisfaction plastered on his face. The kind you get when your jam is on, so you dance like no-one’s watching. His jam was on. I was watching him. He didn’t care. We had a moment.

Let the good times roll! The night was evidently coming to an end as Kylie Auldist thanked the Sydney crowd playing ‘King of the Rodeo’. As the lights dimmed once again signaling the end of their show, the crowd applauded and cheered to a dark empty stage. A couple of minutes pass by when the lights slowly appeared revealing a lone gentleman sitting cross-legged on stage holding a sitar. His name is Kumar Shome hailing from Melbourne, and this particular moment deserves a special mention. He sat on stage to a crowd bewildered, intrigued and appreciative of this unsuspecting moment as silence engulfed the room. Kumar Shome than began to play ‘Up On The Hill’ on his sitar – the first track of a three track encore, captivating the crowd’s curiosity instantly. This was a special moment. Their last two tracks played were from their latest album called ‘Typhoon’ which saw drummer Daniel Farrugia brilliantly show off his tight ability to play drum breaks that got the crowd gyrating, followed by ‘Keep me in mind’. In my opinion, they saved the best for last.

There seems to be something uniquely special about the soul/funk crowd and the synergy exchanged under no false pretenses. Watching people’s faces, their enthusiasm over intrumental solo’s, their knowing smile, their ability to get lost in a moment made me realize that the success of a show not only depends on the band’s sharp ability to lose you in their world, but it also depends on the crowd’s ability to appreciate by giving back. The Bamboo’s have always been quite revered in Sydney, so their album launch was highly anticipated. No matter where I see them perform, they consistently command the attention of audiences effortlessly and we can proudly say they’re Australian!

‘4’ Album is out now on Tru Thoughts!


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