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Music Collective show a tribute to Keays


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The Adelaide Music Collective Session Four is set to become the hottest ticket in town, given the runaway success of the first three events.

The brainchild of internationally renowned drummer Enrico Morena, the sessions present a showcase of emerging and established Adelaide artists, together with the veterans who virtually pioneered the city’s music scene and are recognised on the night with Hall of Fame induction.

Friday’s event at the Goodwood Institute was a tribute to the late Jim Keays, who was to have performed and been inducted into the Hall of Fame with his original Masters Apprentices members.  Following his death last month, it instead turned into a celebration and an historic reunion of the first line-up.

After introductions from Morena and the evening’s host, comedy legend Dave Flanagan, the show began with singer-songwriter Loren Kate, who appeared at this year’s WOMADelaide. With her hypnotic voice, tasteful guitar, ukulele and mostly autobiographical folk/roots songs, Kate’s captivating performance had the audience enthralled.

Next up was Vincent’s Chair, vehicle for the intricate song-writing and soaring voice of Kathie Renner.  The Vincent’s Chair trio – Renner, violist Karen De Nardi and guitarist Sam Leske – is a regular fixture on the European touring circuits, and for this session the group was enhanced with double-bass player and drummer Holly Thomas.  The cruisy, bright, uplifting songs performed by consummate professional players – in the vein of Joni Mitchell, Sting and Paul Simon – were impressive.  Showcasing and recognising artists like these is one of the driving forces of the AMC philosophy.

Then it was time to induct the third group into the Hall of Fame, with David Day directing proceedings and trying to stop Johnny Mac from talking!  And what a star-studded cast of Adelaide legends they were, led off by ’50s and ’60s pop star Elaine Moore, truly a pioneer in an era when women had to fight even harder for recognition in a tough industry.

It would be hard to find a more worthy inductee than the legendary Johnny Mac, star of stage and television, and the first Australian artist to have a chart-topping hit in America with “Pink Champagne and a Room of Roses”.

John “Swannee” Swan was clearly a worthy recipient, as were the four original Masters: songwriter Mick Bower, Rick Morrison, Gavin Webb and Brian Vaughton.  All had funny, interesting and emotional stories to tell, with messages presented from Keays and Jimmy Barnes.  Keays’ posthumous award was received by his wife, Karen, and two daughters.

With the official business done, it was time to rock, and few do it better than John Swan and his band. He’s a true professional; the voice and stage presence are as great as ever, and the songs memorable, capped off with his biggest hit, the fabulous “Lady What’s Your Name”.  The place erupted into unbridled joy, as the Masters Apprentices original line-up hit the stage, with assistance from some of Swannee’s band members and guest vocalists, knocking out hit after hit.

This was a celebration and a great meeting of Adelaide’s finest younger and older musicians, each of whom clearly hold each other in the greatest respect. The capacity audience only added to the feel-good vibe of the evening.

Get in early for your tickets to AMC Session 4, on August 29, as it will definitely be a sell-out.




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