An emotional beat

Rhonda Dredge

Gigs at the Curtin Hotel in Carlton feel special with the threat of closure on the horizon.

Rambal released an album in 2021 and they were having their first Melbourne appearance since then.

The band got straight into the music without any preamble after the support act finished.

Previous gigs at the Curtin have been poignant, what with the lockdown blues and the shutdown fight.

But this one was pure, unadulterated, classy funk/jazz with refined vocals.

Singer Nardia Brancatisane was pitch perfect, even better on the album Hold Your Fire.

All of the songs were original, quite amazing since they sounded familiar.

Some magic moments were reserved for the live performance, such as the sweet, more contemporary voices of guitarist Justin Yap and the back-up vocalist.

The band was formed by Justin Yap whose light, emotional blues guitar was appealing, and he seemed to own the songs.

The Curtin is a great venue for hearing new bands who choose the pub for the Melbourne leg of their tours.

The pub does special deals and offers free tickets to subscribers.

It’s a laidback establishment without the heavy-duty bouncer contingent of other venues like the Corner Hotel.

The crowd drifted in in dribs and drabs with a casual approach to décor beloved by the live music scene fan, including the obligatory sticky carpet.

While the voice of Nardia could have been a little too slick for some, her driving presence got the ball rolling after the instrumentals of The Winfield Experiment.

The combination of bands posed questions about the role of vocals. Should they dominate or be part of the sound?

The Rambal sound connects back to the funk of the ‘70s, particularly Allen Stone.

The trumpet was also very cool and restrained.

Winfield lacked a little something and were best in their Latin numbers which gave the sound an emotional beat.

Rambal with The Winfield Experiment, The Curtin Hotel, June 18. •


Photo credit: zebfernandez

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