22 May 2016

Review: After the Flood by Mikelangelo & the BSG

After the Flood
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
7 May 2016

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen. Photo by  Tim Chmielewski  

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen may have formed in Canberra 15 years ago, but their histories and song lines reach back in time and across continents.

After the Flood is their fourth album. Influenced by a residency in Cooma with Big hART, they tell their stories about coming to Australia from Europe in the 1950s, living in Cooma and working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Today, Cooma is a stop before the snow fields, but there’s still the avenue of 27 flags representing the nationalities of the people who worked on the scheme. And it’s not difficult to imagine a town of 24-hour music and dance that balanced the back-breaking, life-risking work of tunneling through the mountains and bringing power to a nation. And I know why the best road-trip pie I’ve had was in Cooma.

The gentlemen, who share lead vocals on this album, find the hearts and souls of the migrants and refugees who made a home in mountains so far from where they were born. And they bring the music that travelled with them to find a new space for their extraordinary blend of polka, waltz, ballad, and rock and roll that always has room for an accordion or musical saw.

In Melbourne, the album launched in the lavish gold time-warp of the Thornbury Theatre; a venue that could have been built and decorated by the gentlemen in another time line.

Always in character, but never distanced from their audience, their mix of cabaret and theatre is a genre that’s owned and defined by this group.

While After the Flood brings a time and place to visceral life, the tour has a second act with the favourite songs that won the lust and wonder of their dedicated fans and unleashes the unpredictable passion of the magnificent Mikelangelo.

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