30 July 2009

Dead Men Tell A Thousand Tales

Dead Men Tell A Thousand Tales
Mikelangelo and The Black Sea Gentlemen
Sunday 26 July 2009
Toff in Town


If I ever go all Big Love and choose a polyandrous lifestyle, it will be with Mikelangelo and The Black Sea Gentlemen. In the meantime, the Gentlemen have been sharing their irresistible dark love around our townships in Dead Men Tell A Thousand Tales.

A night with the Gentlemen is rarely forgotten, as they continue to seduce the most hardened of souls with their deft combination of musical finesse, magic realism and perfectly coiffed hair. This new collection of tales and songs visits some shadowy places as the Gents taunt and defy death, but Mikelangelo loves his audience (and his Gentlemen) far too much to let us dwell too long in the darkness – and, anyway, he doesn’t like the attention to wander too far from his own humble magnificence.

It's been nine years since Mikelangelo began his collection of suave gentlemen musicians. His criteria being that they too had fled a Baltic nation, owned at least a fedora, a cravat and a fine suit – slightly less flashy than his own – and were sustained by a mix of testosterone, hope and a belief that originality will overcome populist and mundane offerings. (If Matt Preston were a musician, he surely would have joined the troupe.)

The early days found them crooning on street corners and any bar that offered them free shandies, but the Gentlemen now spend many months away from our shores, as distant entertainment venues demand they leave their antipodean home to present their exquisite musical offerings to the world, for there can be no other quintet of guitar, accordion, violin, clarinet and double bass that could ever be their equal.

If you missed the current tour, you could don your finest livery and follow them to the UK, or buy a copy of their new CD also called 'Dead Men Tell A Thousand Tales'. It is their most thematically complete recording that brings a complexity and maturity to the music that necessarily takes second place to the theatrics of the live show – and Mikelangelo promises that each shiny disk contains a perfect imprint of their five souls.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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