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  • Melina Charles


The California Crooners

Fresh from their sold out season at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and second-time winner of Adelaide Critics Award, the California Crooners Club have brought their own brand of jazz/pop to Brisbane. Actor and singer Hugh Sheridan (Packed to the Rafters), said he was inspired to create something different by blending jazz and rap, which led to the genesis of the club in 2015.

Hugh’s impressive and changing line-up for the 2018 Brisbane Festival includes fellow actor (Invictus), musician and founding member Emile Welman, Johnny Manuel (America’s Got Talent, Eurovision) and the first female member Maiya Sykes (The Voice US, back up to Macy Gray).

Opening night began with the group’s unique rendition of Camila Cabello’s hit Havana and continued with Cole Porter’s Night and Day and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Manuel’s impromptu performance of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing was a highlight, along with Adele’s When We Were Young, a wonderful James Arthur mash up, Beyonce’s Halo, and Aretha Franklin’s Respect featuring Sykes. Performances swung from the old to the new, fabulous solos, and sumptuous harmonies blending jazz, pop, and rap effortlessly.

Sheridan’s casual comedic banter was thoroughly entertaining and the singers used the intimate space in the Spiegeltent to their advantage, bouncing off the audience and cavorting with punters in the aisles. By the last song, everyone was on their feet dancing to Bruno Mars!

The California Crooners Club is pure joy for the senses and a must-see at this year’s Brisbane Festival. Check it out at the Courier Mail Spiegeltent, QPAC forecourt until September 16.


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