I had barely made it into the venue (the Daniel O’Connell dining room is charming and you should totally go there) before the band kicked into their set and took me back to a time when I was in pigtails. For those of you playing at home, that’s the 1990s.
Like a pre-teens playlist, The Independent Project delivered a healthy dose of grunge rock, brit-pop, boy and girl bands, and the best break down of 90’s cartoon themes outside of Nickelodeon.
While I admit I’m normally the first person to beat a band with their own guitars for attempting Wonderwall by Oasis at an open mic night, I didn’t hate this rendition; possibly because there wasn’t a single attempt at a Manchester accent to been heard. This being said, I did cringe a few times when the lead singer, Max Garcia-Underwood, dove into an ambitious cover of She’ So High by Tal Bachman, and rolled my eyes at the predictable cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana – although I’ll admit it was nice to actually hear the lyrics for a change.
I got a little worried when it seemed like the entire evening would be a stream of foreseeable, although pleasant, cover classics, (Creep by Radiohead and Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers to name a few), but this fear was blown away by a fabulous Ice, Ice Baby / Fresh Prince of Belair mash up, and a rock n roll version of Britney Spear’s, Hit Me Baby One More Time that was totally not as cheesy as it sounds.
What was cheesy and absolutely fabulous in equal amounts was The Independent Project’s cover of Bye, Bye Bye by N*Sync, while their rendition of As Long As You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys made me wish I had brought a spare pair of underwear to throw on stage… I’m just kidding, (but not really).
I don’t want to spoil anything by naming all of the cartoon themes which they completely nailed, but I will say it made me want to run home to Netflix and start the download, and it also became fairly clear where my love of heavy metal came from, (*cough*Power Rangers*cough*).
Clearly a very talented four piece (bassist Laurance May was geeky and charming, drummer Chris Neale really needed a solo or something because he is a lot better than the covers gave him credit for, and Jackie Lonsdale could shred like a pro on the electric guitar – shame there wasn’t more of that really…), The 90s Project does have something for everyone and it is perfectly acceptable to dance and sing along.
Reviewed by Jenna Woods
Venue: The Daniel O’Connell Pub & Dining
Season: 20 – 28 February 2014
Tickets: $18.00 – $23.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255