Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: 27 Club

A tribute to the infamous 27 Club that will rock your socks off!

A tribute to the infamous 27 Club that will rock your socks off!

Presented by: Amplified House

Reviewed: 17 February, 2024

Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse — not only do these phenomenal musicians and creative souls grace the history books for their incredible music and influence on the progress of rock music, but they are also famous for another, more sombre reason. Each died at the tender age of 27. This series of coincidences have become known as the 27 Club.

27 Club pays homage to the memory of these artists and the significant role they played in shaping blues, rock, and grunge music. With a cast of phenomenal rock voices and a talented band behind them, the show is 65 minutes of raw energy, a rock concert that will blow your socks off!

The show opens with US blues and soul singer Winston Howard, alone on stage with a guitar, performing a short set of Robert Johnson blues numbers. Howard’s voice echoed the tones of the early blues singers remarkably, and it’s a shame there was no opportunity to hear more of him in the show.

After this gentle introduction, the crowd is blasted into the rock era, with Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, sung by Kevin Mitchell, followed by hit after hit from the iconic artists of the infamous 27 Club. Sarah McLeod of The Superjesus brought forth her familiar earthy sound to numbers such as Cry Baby by Janis Joplin, and Carla Lippis displayed her powerhouse vocals on everything from Amy Winehouse’s Rehab to numbers by Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Dusty Lee Stephenson showed off his sexy rock growls through The Doors’ Break on Through (To The Other Side) and Roadhouse Blues. Stephenson also showed off his guitar skills throughout the show, most memorably with the classic Hendrix style of playing guitar behind the head.

One of the most stunning moments of the night was an arrangement of Janis Joplin’s acapella number, Mercedes Benz. Sarah McLeod opened the song solo, but was soon joined with beautiful 4-part harmonies, adding a new depth to the Joplin classic.

As impressive as the vocalists were, of course the show would be nothing without a tight, rocking band, featuring Jack Strempel on keys/synth, Cam Blokland on guitar, Danny Leo on drums, and Milush Piochaud on bass. These excellent musicians gave so much energy to the show and worked seamlessly with the vocalists through each of the songs.

From start to finish, 27 Club was a high energy production performed with skills to rival the gods and goddesses of rock to whom the show pays homage. For those who may have an audio sensitivity, yes, the show is loud, but not uncomfortably so — have you even been to a rock concert if you can’t feel the pulse of the bass drum in your veins? If the volume is a concern to potential patrons, they may wish to prepare their visit with earplugs to a plan to sit near the back. Because there is no way you are going to want to miss this show!

Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff

Photo credit: Justin White

Venue: The Fantail, Gluttony
Season: Fri 16 Feb – Sun 17 Mar
Duration: 65min
Tickets: $30 – $59

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