Review: TWO-RING CIRCUS – The Songs of Crowded House

Wonderfully more than a tribute show

By Adam Tonking

The idea of sitting through the greatest hits of Crowded House as not performed by Crowded House may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea – indeed, I’m not sure it sounds like mine.

Thank God then, for Matt Bradshaw and Dominic Italiano of Two-Ring Circus, and for their masterful performance of these oh-so-familiar songs. Bradshaw and Italiano are consummate performers, and they are charming and delightful – plus you can’t deny the appeal of those songs.

Bradshaw and Italiano were inclusive and welcoming from the start – it was like hanging out with your super-awesome friends, who are wickedly talented, while they play their favourite songs with such love and joy. If these aren’t your favourite songs, they may well be by the time Two-Ring Circus are through with you. In between musical numbers they discuss the different aspects of this music that fills them with such passion and admiration, and you can’t help but be swept up by their enthusiasm.

This was clearly a well-honed act that flowed beautifully between heartfelt tribute and just damn entertaining. Bradshaw and Italiano play easily off each other, and off the audience, without any pretension or self-consciousness. Their skills as musicians are impeccable, their voices heart-melting, their guitar-playing breath-taking.

I was particularly impressed by the small details – their use of a loop machine to create a beat was a rather elegant way to get around having no drummer, and their ability to work a microphone (sadly, a rare trait in a lot of performers) left me in no doubt as to the capabilities of these performers.

Bradshaw and Italiano breathe new energy into these oft-played standards, just through their obvious love and respect for the material. Frankly, I can’t imagine enjoying Crowded House more than I did Two-Ring Circus. Run quickly to see tribute done correctly.

Two-Ring Circus – The Songs of Crowded House is on at The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne, from Tuesday 13th March till Sunday 18th March at 8pm Tuesday & Wednesday, 9pm Thursday till Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday.

Book at www.thebutterflyclub.com and do it quick.

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