Presented by Somnium and Olivia Bozzon Music
Reviewed 22nd February 2018
Local band Somnium have taken a big risk in presenting an hour of Cream. Die-hard fans can be highly critical, and this is not easy music to tackle.
Opening with Strange Brew, guitar/lead vocals, James Dawes implanted his quiet but assertive stage presence. Throughout the set, his guitar work continued to impress, along with his unique brand of vocals.
The set moved through the standards like Badge, Outside Woman Blues, Politician and Sunshine of Your Love, as well as some lesser-known numbers such as World of Pain. Each number was approached with gravitas, but also playfulness, giving an electric energy to the room.
Jess Foenander gave some beautiful bass, working a la Bruce, with a fretless. He also displayed his vocal abilities on a rousing version of Crossroads. Drummer Tony Coota was a particular surprise, really finding his mojo on I Feel Free and continuing to give us Baker’s galloping style, with his own brand of verve. Joining the trio on a few numbers, including the blues standard Spoonful, was Olivia Bozzon who added some depth with keys and harmonica. The set finished with a rousing rendition of anthem-like White Room.
Overall, the playing was fantastic. Some wobbly moments which should settle down over the next two shows. And they certainly need to work on tightening song endings. But what matters most was the passion and the total respect for the music. As Dawes himself said “We feel that playing Cream has made us better musicians.”
They’ll get no argument from me on that point!
They are on over the next two weeks, so plenty of opportunity to catch this great show. Obviously if you’re a Cream fan you MUST check it out, but ditto if you love blues, rock or just any damn good music. But be warned: tonight’s show sold out, so don’t dilly-dally!
This tin of Cream definitely did what it said on the can.
Venue: Chateau Apollo
Season: March 1st and March 8th
Duration: 60 minutes