Is Pure Blondie Adelaide’s best party band? Judging by audience reaction, you would have to answer yes.
They are primarily of course, a band formed to emulate and bring the band Blondie’s music and performance to Australian audiences. They to do this magnificently, and obviously have a great time doing it, whilst treating their audience to a great time too. It is a win-win situation.
Pure Blondie don’t just play covers, they treat us by morphing into Blondie’s band members with the help of costume, backdrop, stance, style, movement, and mucho talent to back this all up. In fact, they did this so well that I found the video montage of the original group an unnecessary distraction.
The experience and talent of this group is extensive, and each of them brings their own skills to enhance the whole.
Lead singer Lisel Rosewood captures Deborah Harry’s iconic slightly distanced dance style and sexuality, manages to imitate those wonderful mouth movements, and combines it all with a vocal range that convincingly does justice to the songs. From the second she slunk on stage (a la Harry) her stage presence gave Pure Blondie a great visual focus, exactly as Deborah Harry did with Blondie.
Brenton Firth’s performance as Chris Stein is a pleasure to experience, musically authentic and with a sense of ownership of style which convinces us that this isn’t really a performance at all, or stagecraft, it’s just pure party-on talent.
Pure Blondie claim that anyone trying to fill Clem Burke’s shoes would have a difficult job, but it is apparent that drummer Mark Manning does not find this so. Manning keeps the drum beats pounding out giving that essential New Wave Blondie sound.
Rhythm guitarist Dave Lawrence added to the multi layered sound, effortlessly changing pace from the earlier punk sound, to the pop of Sunday Girl.
Andrew Mortimer’s bass guitar anchored everybody’s sounds and bought his classy look to the stage. We were also treated to Robyn Haddow’s sheer professionalism on keyboards, dressed in the Jimmy Destri uniform, giving us an essential part of the Blondie sound and look.
The last member of the group, and certainly not the least, is the wonderfully irrepressible Suezi Norton. Norton’s backing vocals are powerful in their own right but, due to the expert sound mixing, were not overpowering. She gaily tassel twirled (not in the burlesque sense) as she performed the second Deborah Harry (studio) voice and other vocals.
With this convincing tribute, Pure Blondie keeps the energy upbeat, culminating in Heart of Glass. The audience were left not only wanting more but having the slightly surreal experience of readjusting back to the present.
Reviewed by Christine Pyman, Visual Arts Critic and special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: Birdwood Exhibition Centre, Willunga Golf Course Restaurant, The Brighton Bar, Torrens Rowing Club
Season: various dates to 16th March, all 8pm start
Duration: 120 mins
Tickets: $ 22.50
Bookings: Fringetix outlets ($2.75 booking fee applies) on line here, or 1300 621 255