Trafalgar are a band that came together back in 2015, as a group of friends who simply wanted to play some of the more obscure Bee Gees songs from the pre-disco stages of the Gibb Brothers’ career at a Record Store Day event held at Mr V’s Music in Semaphore.
Since that time the band have come back together intermittently to reprise that initial event, although, over the course of the three ‘reunions’ that have occurred since that first gig, they have steadily injected more of the hits, and other more recognisable Bee Gees songs, into the setlist. What has evolved over time then, is a set that offers plenty to the casual music fan whilst still providing the occasional rarely heard gem for the hard-core Bee Gees connoisseur.
Saturday night’s opening show, with the band playing to a small but hugely appreciative crowd, provided plenty of high points. The band has the luxury of four vocalists who all sing lead at times, and the mix of these vocal talents in various combinations allows them to make very close approximations to the original wonderful harmonies of the Brothers Gibb.
Musically, the band are very tight – and again always keen to make their renditions of these much-loved songs as close as possible to the original arrangements, right down to providing horns where necessary and always nailing the right vocal inflections.
Dave Thornhill, even though he was wrestling with an untimely frog in his throat, was often note perfect vocally (as he was on guitar), and was complimented by the pure voice of Luke Ashby and the counter harmonies of Gray Packham.
Vic Conrad sang lead on Spicks And Specks and added perfect keyboard flavours to the song choices throughout the set.
If you need to know the setlist, check out the track listing on the original 1969 ‘Best Of The Bee Gees’ album and you will get the picture – most of those classics make the cut: Massachusetts, First Of May, I Started A Joke, World, To Love Somebody, New York Mining Disaster 1941, World, Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You (complete with Gregorian chanting!), amongst these. And that’s not to mention that they also served up some killer versions of songs like Run To Me, Lonely Days and I.O.I.O.
For me, the highlights in a show that contained many of these, would have to be hearing some of the more rarely heard Bee Gees tracks that make this ‘tribute’ show stand out from others that stay doggedly in the biggest hits vein. Trafalgar’s versions of South Dakota Morning, Cucumber Castle and Portrait Of Louise were fascinating inclusions and highlighted, even more clearly, the indisputable high quality song-craft the Gibbs had so effortlessly on tap.
From the number of appreciative comments being made by audience members in between songs, it is safe to say that I was not the only one who totally enjoyed the show.
Trafalgar Plays Classic Bee Gees was a show worthy of a much bigger crowd. The songs are played with passion, sincerity and no small amount of skill. A great show!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Trafalgar Plays Classic Bee Gees will be performed at The Grace Emily Hotel, 232 Weymouth Street, Adelaide on Sunday 24 February at 5:00pm, and again at the same venue on Sunday 3 March, also at 5:00pm. Get tickets fro both performances HERE