"With vocals shared around by all band members, it begins to feel as close to a New Orleans gig as possible."
As we walk into the room The Offtopics frontman announces, "This next song is about Dan's crazy ex-girlfriend," and we're not sure what to think. Even though the room is sparsely populated, the band owns the stage while making sure everyone pays attention. It's a hugely diverse crowd with people of all ages dancing along to the tracks. Frontman Polash Larsen gives it everything he can while trying to dance with every second person on the dancefloor. Larsen makes sure that even if some crowd members aren't moving, they're sure as hell gonna remember this show. The Offtopics are the best choice to open for The California Honeydrops.
The California Honeydrops kick the show off with Wilson Pickett's Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You, which brings the entire crowd directly to the front of stage and also captures the attention of people outside the band room who may wish to take a gamble and grab a ticket. Punters are not at all disappointed with an incredible introduction to sax player Johnny Bones.
Then we get to see the incredible talents of everyone else in the band. Lech Wierzynski is an amazing vocalist who's also an accomplished trumpet player and blues guitarist. With vocals shared around by all band members, it begins to feel as close to a New Orleans gig as possible. And, as this show goes on, we all start to believe we've been transported there. A classic Honeydrops tune, Pumpkin Pie featuring drummer Ben Malament on washboard, is the first time the crowd goes silent in awe of the talent onstage.
Two hours in and The California Honeydrops announce it's time for a drink break. We're relieved since none of us are ready for this show to end. Once back on stage they burst straight into another classic tune by request: When It Was Wrong. And this song goes down a treat; couples dancing around the whole room, singing along and hanging off the band's every word and beat.
And now we come to the most impressive and entertaining bit of the night when the entire band jump into the crowd and play acoustically. This is surely how it's done in New Orleans with the band now surrounded by the entire crowd. The California Honeydrops perform for almost four hours, clearly enjoying their first time in Australia. And we're well impressed.