Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes

with Chris Russell's Chicken Walk

The Zoo’s Twilight Sessions give you opportunities you might not normally have at regular gigs. For instance, I could not normally, at, say, The Tote, feed small and adorable birds, or visit beautiful hulking lions in the gig break. When I went to visit the lions, a small child exclaimed, after it gave a small roar: “it sounds like a puppy dog!”. The lions laid together like a pile of kitties with their big, soft paws stretched out and you were only reminded that these were, indeed, beasts when they roared for the entirety of the audience to hear. The perfect combination- music and animals!

As Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk opened the evening with what I would call their good old-fashioned dirty blues-rock- I was put in mind of a rustier, older-town Clutch- the air was palpable. Walking riffs, beating claps and hollering tales of women and whiskey made the Melbourne Zoo feel like New Orleans. Although they were a more fitting soundtrack to a frenetic night in a beery-carpet pub, the ‘Walk got everyone’s rock and roll juices flowing as they sprawled in the grass and watched the sky change colours.

Opening with a brand new track, Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes are resplendent in all the ways you could be. The band play largely from 2011’s Baby Caught The Bus and their effortlessly Motown style are a head above other of their ilk.

Although words like sassy and fierce have, thanks to outfits like Tumblr, become cliched ways of referring to awesome women, Clairy and her Rackettes are indeed those. The Rackettes themselves might be referred to as “backup” but bring their own character and pizzazz to the stage, as much as Clairy herself. 'She Plays Up To You' and their 'Whatta Man' cover show off their collective energy and dedication to the Motown and r’n’b ideals of a “show”, rather than a “gig”.

Their newer material had a more contemporary feel to it; the few more recent tracks they played had a calmer, less ballistic feel to them, compared to, say, the hugely successful sax-belter 'Love Letter', or the dips and dives of 'Baby Caught the Bus'. There are glorious extended dance and instrumental breaks to push the dancing spirit onto the Zoo crowd. Clairy’s solo encore of 'You Don’t Owe Me Nothing' brought a tear to many an eye, but the gang was back for a massive run of the thrusting 'Aeroplane'.

All in all, it was a ROARing good time! I’m sorry, that wasn’t even a pun. It didn’t even make sense. I wanted to end of a cute pun note. Hmm. Make it your MANE event? I’d be LION if I said it wasn’t fun? It’ll give you PAWS for thought? I’m sorry.
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