Live Review: Donny Benet, Holiday Park, Emerson Snowe

23 April 2018 | 10:25 am | Nicholas Huntington

"It's already apparent the night is going to be lavish yet cheeky, just what we want from The Don."

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There's no better place to enjoy Donny Benet than Black Bear Lodge and with gold tinsel across everything in sight and a full house band the experience goes to another level.

After arriving to get some of the best cocktails in Brisbane, we were stoked to see Holiday Party opening the night. Their blend of Beach House sensitivity and hypnotic dance beats makes for a killer combo, making you feel like you are driving down the open highway at midnight.

After a quick drinks break, the Brisbane indie sweetheart known as Emerson Snowe takes his shirtless body to the stage. Armed only with a tape recorder and his huge personality, it doesn't take long for Snowe to command your attention. His voice soars like an eagle in the night, and his energy and expression have no filter. We're hypnotised. With Snowe setting off to Paris the following day, we are even treated to a sneaky run-through of his upcoming EP. What a treat and what a fella.

As the smoke settles and the drinks start to overflow, it's time for The Don. With the lights dimmed low and the gold tinsel sparkling away, Donny Benet and his band set the tone and tell the audience to indulge themselves. From the first track, it's already apparent the night is going to be lavish yet cheeky, just what we want from The Don. Benet is already lapping up the praise, with the solos from the sax player sending the audience into a frenzy.

Every track from latest album, The Don, peppers the set starting with crowd favourite Working Out. While it would be nice to say the audience became a unified aerobics class during this number, we regret to inform you this was not the case. Instead, the army of hardcore Benet lovers assembled at the side of stage to send their love to the big man. When the Benet fan cub weren't busy blowing smooches to Benet, they were busy losing their minds over the sax, much to the delight of Benet.

Not to stray from the agenda, Love Online offers another look into the new album and despite the track being a recent single the crowd have learned every word, shouting them back at Donny as he gallops all over the fretboard. The tastes of the new album don't stop until the mellow funk of Konichiwa gives us the first taste of Benet showing his signature love for Japan. This track turns into a lengthy and tasty jam with the sax and Benet's bass spreading love all over Black Bear Lodge.

Offering a break in the sea of tracks from The Don by revisiting certified classic Sophisticated Lover, Benet shows he hasn't lost connection with his roots. Unfortunately, this is the only morsel of Benet's earlier work as we launch back into a new track that didn't make the cut for the album, Melodie. A perfect singalong song, punters mouths are soon agape as they scream "Melodie" to the heavens.

Closing out the set with Night In Rome, it's sad to consider our time with The Don has come to a close. With smooches left, right and centre in the audience, it's obvious the sexual energy of Benet is too much to handle for some and thus he retreats backstage with a cheeky wink. It's not long before the crowd command Benet and company back for an encore. With a huge grin Benet returns and much to our delight, it's a cover. But, of course Benet fittingly maintains the sexual energy as the opening thunder of bass from I Was Made For Lovin' You fills our souls with sweaty Benet love. A ripping jam of the KISS classic brings to an end our night with The Don, we can only hope we left enough of an impression to bring him back soon.