★★★★★ - Camden Fringe Review
Bandini and the Bandino’s is a night of immense pleasure. Set amongst a backdrop that feels like what Andy Warhol would do with a disused London tube station you are sure to be tickled by both musical and performative treats.
The evening’s menu begins with a tasty starter in the form of singer songwriter Meg Cavanaugh whose charm was topped only by her talent. On stage alone with just a guitar for company she offered up a raw and honest set. Her style floated between Bobby Gentry and a calmer Janis Joplin but it was in the song she’d written for Amy Winehouse that you saw her heart. It must also be noted that Miss Cavanaugh is very skilled at imitating a trumpet.
Our main dish Bandini enters like a drunk Leonardo DiCaprio if the Titanic was heading towards an Italian funk party and he holds this charisma throughout his performance with the help of a female force of backing vocalists called ‘The Voodoos’. We watch his tongue in cheek costume changes with glee and hear his to the side comments like ‘shall we take it to the bridge’ thinking James Brown would most definitely approve.
Bandini sits in the middle of his musicians like a baby safe in the womb of its mother. We are given percussionists, a saxophonist, a bassist and a guitarist in addition to ‘The Voodos’. Bandini is the focus but they are the support that makes him so easy to focus on. They are skilled performers and you feel safe in their company. The easiest way to describe their sound is to imagine what would happen if Tom Waits met Santana and they decided to jam.
Interludes such as Bandini’s reference to the “see it, say it, sort it” announcements frequently heard on the tube made the crowd chuckle with glee whilst highlighting how the question of what looks ‘right’ makes creativity roll its eyes. It was these pieces and interactions with the crowd that made the night a show, an event, rather than simply a gig. My personal favourite was when one of ‘The Voodos’ went on tinder and asked if the men she was swiping on were in the audience.
To say the evening was colourful would be an understatement. It was a delightful spectrum of music, humour, funk, soul and love. And you leave only wanting more.