Live Review: Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes

11 July 2013 | 10:18 am | Tess Ingram

Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes are a group to watch (and listen to) as they climb the ranks of the Australian music scene to become a sure-fire homegrown hit.

THE crowd may have initially been there more for the social pages than the show, but after only a couple of songs, Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes whipped a sophisticated Art Gallery of Western Australia audience into a toe-tappin' frenzy.

Adored members of the Melbourne soul scene, fierce leading lady Browne, her harmonising girl group, the Bangin' Rackettes, and their talented band of suited gentlemen, were visiting Perth on the first stop of a national tour. Performing in the concourse of the art gallery, the high ceilings and stone pillars could easily have dwarfed Browne and co., but the big voice that was unleashed from the steely frontwoman quickly softened both the crowd and the venue.

The nine-piece act took the audience through soul, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, ska and gospel, interspersed with go-go dancing and cheeky ditties. At times, the show spectacular the group attempted wasn't as polished as the marble that surrounded them, but it was easily forgiven by how much fun they were. At a time when most “cool Australian music” involves an acoustic guitar or a gig where a gaggle of hipster kids plant their feet and nod their heads, Browne and the Rackettes inject a refreshing amount of vigour and sass into their music.

Browne has been blessed with the gut-wrenching Frankenstein vocals made of parts Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Gladys Knight and Amy Winehouse. It's a big call to make, especially since it's all bundled up in such a good-looking package, but she is someone truly spectacular to hear live.

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Showcasing their 2011 debut album, Baby Caught The Bus, the band were equally as talented, with drummer Ricky Martyn and saxophonist Darcy McNulty stealing the limelight showcasing their exceptional musical prowess. The Rackettes were also a talented trio, with matching outfits, big hair and spot-on harmonies.

While the men in the group marginally out-number the women, this was definitely a girl-power show. The four ladies were positioned front and centre, crooning about love lost and found, sex, betrayal and even murder, all the while remaining ever so sassy.

Browne even managed to squeeze a cover of Salt-n-Pepa's Whatta Man into the set, turning the '90s rap tune into a rockabilly treat that received a raging round of applause. A short encore followed an over hour-long show, following which the group were visibly both thrilled and exhausted. Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes are a group to watch (and listen to) as they climb the ranks of the Australian music scene to become a sure-fire homegrown hit.