Live Review: Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes, Chris Russell's Chicken Walk

4 June 2013 | 11:39 am | Ben Meyer

These guys are carving a career out of being the year 12 jazz band all grown up, finally free from an institution that doesn’t let them write songs about sex.

An absolutely drenching Friday night sees the multitudes brave the puddles and overflowing gutters to journey to the Corner to see Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes with special guests. The sold-out homecoming show is part of the band's current tour that has them running around the country promoting their new album, Baby Got the Bus.

Chris Russell of Chris Russell's Chicken Walk demonstrates his relentless machine-gun-quick fingerpicking that simultaneously produces twangy melodies and muddy bass. His sound is characterised by meandering solos that just seem to build and build and build. His dirty, almost sleazy style makes him an odd choice to support the glitzy Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes, but the crowd, decked out in pin-up girl chic and flowery hair (the babe in the white jumpsuit definitely won the fancy dress competition), lap it up.

Browne & the Rackettes hit the stage decked out in outfits that match the backdrop. With ice cold sass that just sucks you in, Browne demonstrates her incredible range and her ability to deliver fast rap-esque lyrics so clearly that you can follow each word. Her singing and dancing ability are second only to that of the The Rackettes, who complement Browne with perfectly executed go-go dancer moves and “ah-oohs” galore.

At times Browne doesn't seem that comfortable on stage, introducing numbers with banter more polished than the songs. Moreover, it has undoubtedly been heard before by fans that have been to more than one gig. Indeed, it seems that they have been so preoccupied with providing a spectacle that they have neglected their ability to connect with an audience.

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Browne & the Rackettes nevertheless execute all their hits perfectly, with Vicious Cycle and Love Letter being particularly well received. The Rackettes get the stage for themselves and wow the audience with a high energy – if somewhat cramped – dance solo. It's slightly surprising that Browne, who has exited, doesn't use the opportunity for a costume change. Whatta Man closes out the set with the crowd kindly obliging Browne's demand to “show me your hands”.

In the end, the show is smooth, shiny and doesn't drop a beat, sequin or step. These guys are carving a career out of being the year 12 jazz band all grown up, finally free from an institution that doesn't let them write songs about sex.