words and photos by jeff crespi …
When I saw the name Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes I just had to see what they were about. so off I went. Described as a doo-wop jazz act out of Melbourne Australia they performed on Tuesday March 26th at the Mercury Lounge downtown in NYC.
They formed in 2009 over a love for nineties dance videos, early rhythm and blues records and big hair. Clairy Browne and her harmonising group meet up with some cool musicians and started rehearsing in an ex-coffin factory in the suburbs of Melbourne.
Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes released their debut album, Baby Caught the Bus in fall 2011 and was recorded with and produced by the gifted Steve Schram (Little Red, Little Birdy, Cat Empire, Eagle and the Worm). The record is an incredibly accomplished first release which recently won Album of the year on ABC Radio National and was #6 in the Age newspaper’s album of the year list. In my opinion, there is no doubt that there is more exciting things to come, for and from Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes.
The band consists of Clairy Browne – leading lady, Ruby Jones/Camilla McKewen/Loretta Miller as “The Bangin’ Rackettes,” Gabriel Strangio – keys, Jules Pascoe – bass, Peter Bee – guitar, Darcy Mcnulty – sax and Nick Martyn – drums.
I always arrive at shows early especially at places I have never been. I like to check out the scene talk to some people and get a good feel for the atmosphere. Being the social butterfly I am I spoke to a few fans before the show and immediately was excited to see this live performance. The crowd was a mixed bag of young and people my age (old), some dressed very sharp and some dressed to relax. Of course, I was right up front, I love being able to photograph the expressions on their faces. The band opened up with the song “Yellow Bird” and I was like, “Wow, this is awesome!”
Clairy Browne’s voice was very sexy and soulful — she was also very funny and enjoyed interacting with the crowd. Each song to follow hooked me in even more, I had asked the person behind me which song or songs were the hits and they said “Love Letter” and “She Plays Up.” Of course the crowd went wild when those two songs were performed. The show and I do mean show was a lot of fun to watch. My eyes were always fixated on someone doing something cool on stage. After the show they hung around to greet and sign stuff, they were very cool people to chat with. I was very pleased and impressed with the show and would definitely see them again if I get the chance.
The full set list in order was: Yellow Bird, Frankie, Far Too Late, Hearts Desire, Aeroplane, Vicious Cycle, Jenny, Surfy, Good Problems, Love Letter, She Plays Up, Whatta Man and BCTB. www.clairybrowne.com