It’s a difficult task paying tribute to someone as revered as Jeff Buckley, but Donnarumma absolutely nailed it at the Grace Emily last night. It was a full house to see the four-piece band perform Grace – The Songs of Jeff Buckley for the last time.
Kicking the first set off with a medley of “You & I” and “So Real”, it was clear lead singer and band namesake Louis Donnarumma has expertly mastered Buckley’s voice. From the mournful wailing to the vibrato in his longer notes, he sang so well he could be mistaken for the real thing.
The rest of the band consisted of Dusty Lee on lead guitar (filling in for Django Rowe), Anthony Constanzo on bass and Max Tulysewski on drums. The band played cohesively and you could tell they had a great comradery. Lee’s solos were remarkable.
Most of Buckley’s Grace album was covered, but it was a treat to hear a number of songs from Buckley’s posthumous release Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk including stirring renditions of “The Sky Is a Landfill” and “Everybody Here Wants You”.
Welcoming everyone back to start the second set, Donnarumma strummed and crooned the best live version of “Hallelujah” I’ve ever heard. This guy has some serious talent.
The crowd were serenaded for a further 45 minutes, closing with “Last Goodbye” before coming back for an encore, much to everyone’s delight.
As a Buckley fan myself, I had reservations about whether they could pull it off, but thankfully I was proved wrong. They were so impressive.
I look forward to hearing more of Donnarumma’s original music as they launch their first EP in the wake of their Adelaide Fringe success. They certainly got a heap of fans last night. What a way to farewell the Adelaide Fringe season!