Local band, Somnium, played the third of a season of sold out shows at the Chateau Apollo on Thursday night, and delivered a scorching homage to the first rock ‘super group’, Cream.
It was a fiery performance of the songs that elevated albums such as Fresh Cream, Wheels Of Fire, Disraeli Gears and Goodbye to classic status, all played with a high level of respect and youthful enthusiasm that fulfilled the expectations of the eagerly expectant after-work crowd who filled the venue to capacity.
If you squinted hard enough, the space could have easily passed for the Marquee Club circa 1967 – if you allowed yourself to ignore the fact that crocheted waistcoats and denim jeans had largely been replaced by tailored slacks and short sleeved business shirts – and you could almost believe that your arrival at the gig had been preceded by a night of spray painting ‘Clapton Is God’ over the walls of London’s Wardour Street and other iconic spots around Soho.
Guitarist James Dawes really plays with impressive fire and passion, and consistently captured the sound and the energy of the originals. His vocals were a little forced on occasion, however, but this was totally forgivable when this was put into the wider context of such a committed and joyous celebration of this timeless music from rock’s golden age.
The rhythm section, Jess Foenander on bass and Tony Coota on drums were also a mighty force.
Coota is certainly not from the school of dull metronomic drummers – he hits the kit with a primal force, so much so that, at times, you could see him taking a ‘wind-up’ in readiness for extracting the maximum volume from his connection with the drumskins.
Foenander’s ability to sing harmony and lead vocal whilst also commanding his instrument to do full justice to the pulsing rhythmic bass-lines of Jack Bruce was a treat to experience.
For these shows, Olivia Bozzon also helped out the band and she added some tasty keyboard flourishes to flesh out the power trio’s sound where needed.
Whilst crowd pleasers such as Strange Brew, Badge, I Feel Free, Spoonful, Crossroads, SWLABR, , N.S.U., Sunshine of Your Love and White Room all had to be played or else the Cream fans in the room would have been disappointed, the band also played some of the lesser known Cream songs such as: Sweet Wine, Outside Woman Blues, World Of Pain, We’re Going Wrong and Sleepy Time Time, which would have appeased even the most hardcore Clapton, Bruce & Baker fans. (But still No Pressed Rat & Warthog, What A Bringdown or Wrapping Paper though!)
This was a performance of raw and adulterated blues rock, that was not always pretty, but never played in anything less than the true spirit of the original recordings.
Re-emerging outside into the still bright daylight of the early evening, I was disappointed not to be able to go and see Antonioni’s Blow Up playing at the Savoy across town; or a pile of sodden drunks crashing out onto the pavement outside the Crown & Anchor after the ‘six o’clock swill’ was over; or even some Twiggy or Jean Shrimpton lookalikes modelling fab Mary Quant hot pants from Alice’s In Gear as they strolled towards Rymill Park.
No, I had to confront the brutal fact that those wonderful days had long gone – but thanks to the music of Somnium, for one glorious hour, it had been possible for me to believe time travel was real, and that the power of Cream’s music was all it took to achieve it!
A great show.
Rating: 4 stars
Somnium Presents A Night Of Cream was performed at the Chateau Apollo on Thursday 8 March at 6:30pm
Fringe tickets are available here: Adelaide Fringe tickets