To Sergio With Love REVIEW by Catherine Lawrence

Over the last 20 years, The View From Madeleine’s Couch has established a strong following among lovers of what has become known as OzBrazilian music—bringing their passion for Brazilian music and culture to enthusiastic Australian audiences. Anywhere Festival fans were treated to two private concerts this weekend, celebrating the best of Sergio Mendes, bossa nova, and Brazil 66. I say Anywhere Festival fans, because this was one of the first (if not the first) shows to sell out in this years’ program. A testament to the following established by Chris Osborne and Susan Bennett. If a show is selected for the festival by Chris and Susan, then get in quick. They are Anywhere Festival curators par excellence and always know how to put together an enjoyable evening. On 19th May, guests travelled in from Sydney and Melbourne to join the local crowd for what was introduced as a ‘bop along kind of night.’

Pictured: Brisbane Modern. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

In the hands of Sergio Mendes, Brazilian beats were mashed up with pop to create a sequence of major international hits. Which meant that To Sergio With Love included music by composers such as Burt Bacharach, Jorge Ben, and The Beatles. And as bossa nova is a lyrical fusion of jazz and samba , we also had the chance to enjoy solos by each of the performers, two great instrumental pieces, and a band that was tightly held together by Kym Ambrose (drums) and Anje West (voice and percussion).

During the 70-minute show, the audience were treated to a great range of 60s and 70s numbers, each given the Mendes styling. And the evening was peppered with nuggets of information about the real (and occasionally rude) meaning of the songs.

Pictured: To Sergio With Love at Brisbane Modern. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Highlights of the program included the evocative Chove Chuva, fabulous One Note Samba, and Look of Love (all just perfect for the wonderful voice of Anje West). Day Tripper was one of many songs that gave Jamie Clark (guitar) and Dale Rabic (hammond organ) a chance to shine. And if I had to choose just one piece as a personal favourite it was probably Zanzibar (great scat singing)… But … then again… it could have been the final song of the night.  Mas Que Nada is used as a means of cynically disagreeing with someone (perhaps similar to ‘yeah, right’). A perfect choice for the last piece of the evening—leaving the audience humming away and wanting to dance a little samba.

Fortunately we could linger a little longer and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts. If you get in really quick, you may just be able to join them next weekend for The Clints Come Again. I’m sure it will be an entertaining evening: great hospitality and a program that includes the fabulous Laine Loxlea Danann. And if you missed To Sergio With Love, check out The View from Madeline’s Couch website for future dates. Or look out for them in next years Anywhere Festival program.

Pictured: To Sergio With Love. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Verdict: Always the best parties at Australian Modern. Great shows curated by fabulous and stylish hosts.

Audience tip: If it’s on at Brisbane Modern, then book it. You’ll have a fantastic evening.

Only four Brisbane Modern performances during Anywhere Festival 2018:  $35 Friday and Saturday nights (7:30pm). The Clints Come Again is on 25-26 May 2018 (tickets available at the Anywhere Festival website). To Sergio With Love ran on 18th-19th (details at the Anywhere Festival website).

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Saturday 19th May (7:30pm) performance.

Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.