Camille O’Sullivan: Where Are We Now?

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Underbelly’s Circus Hub
Aug 10-13, 15-20, 22-26 (19:45)


I had been looking forward to this show all weekend, when the big advertisements went up around Edinburgh, Camille stood out, not just for her gothic beauty, but because her advertising campaign was massive, and heavily featured David Bowie. Indeed the title of the show is taken from his 2013 release “The Next Day.” But I knew that this was going to be much more than just a tribute. I avoid Bowie tributes because they never live up to the benchmark of the ascended master, having seen him live nine times, the live repertoire that I have experienced ended in 2004. Any release after that time was never performed live. Interestingly I have never seen a male interpret Bowie convincingly.

black_white_copy.295x0.jpgThe Underbelly Circus Hub is brilliantly situated in the rolling green of The Meadows, a welcome tonic from the busy city streets at this time of year. The queue for the performance that I was about to witness, wrapped itself around a Spiegel Tent in which Camille and her band were sound checking. The piano intro to Life On Mars made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The anticipation was building. We took our seats in the round as the voice of Bowie in conversation greeted the capacity audience, setting the tone for what was about to follow. This was a dedication to the Artists that had shaped Camille’s life, Interpreting the work of her musical heroes. Three ascended masters, Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Jacque Brell. With choice selections from masters that are still in the mortal coil. Nick Cave. PJ Harvey and Radiohead.

With a tight band of supporting musicians, Camille delivered a rock ‘n’ roll spectacular with a powerful voice and for the first time, I was thrilled by live renditions of Blackstar and Where Are We Now & Leonard Cohen’s final offering, You Want It Darker, a song that has featured in my DJ sets at festivals throughout the year, also thrilled. The antenna was further upped by a blistering rendition of Rock n Roll Suicide, a powerful nod to Ziggy Stardust that was introduced by a recording of the late masters farewell speech at Hammersmith Odeon in 1972. This was great stuff. The songs of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave I am not so familiar with, but with a performance as spectacular as this it inspired further investigation. especially the closing number Nick Caves “The Ship” was sung in harmony by the audience.

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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