Jamie MacDowell And Tom Thum Brisbane Review @ Wonderland Festival

  • Written by  Luisa Ryan
  • Friday, 01 December 2017 15:35
Published in Arts News  
Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum, performing as part of Wonderland Festival Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum, performing as part of Wonderland Festival Image © Chelone Wolf
These guys are undoubtedly the best of friends, and it shines through clearly in this bright, relaxed, cheerful and sometimes touching collaboration. They are so wonderful to watch that by the end of the night, you want to mosey in on their bromance and be their best bud too.

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum are a surprising musical duo. Jamie is laid back, soulful, and just makes singing look so damn easy. He hits every note effortlessly, with long hair, a backwards cap and baggy pants to complete the look. Tom, in contrast, is a one-man whirlwind of energy, spewing out an entire high-energy nightclub, in the best possible way.

But somehow, their styles work beautifully together. Tom lays the beat for Jamie’s songs, provides contrast and epic instrumental solos within Jamie’s fun, thoughtful and sometimes delicate lyrics. In turn, Jamie provides a backdrop for Tom’s unbelievable, crazy-talented, how-does-he-do-that sound effects that go way beyond mere effects to be a genre in their own right.

The songs themselves are lovely. Particularly poignant is ‘Brother’, sung as a solo performance by Jamie. Against the backdrop of the historic same-sex marriage vote, ‘Brother’ tells the story of Jamie’s friend, who he encouraged to come out to her family. Her family reacts – in Jamie’s words – poorly, and Jamie offers to be her brother from then on. It brought a tear to the eye. Similarly is Tom’s interpretations of ‘Grandmother’s Hands’, dedicated to his own, supportive grandmother. This genuine approach makes the show special.

The personal touch runs throughout the performance in the form of their banter. They demonstrate their instruments to the audience, they have a guest performer with a tambourine solo – and somehow make that work – and laugh together when they stuff a song up. They just seem to really get along and enjoy each other’s company. Their enjoyment is truly infectious and makes for a really great night out. The audience left smiling.

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