Lord Mayor's City Hall Concerts - Brisbane Festival

‘Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concerts’ // Brisbane Festival

‘Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concerts’ (featuring ‘Cigany Weaver’) was scintillating. 

One of the most exciting things about the Brisbane Festival is the sheer number of different live performances available to local audiences. The city explodes in a riot of colour and sound and it seems that everywhere you turn something different is happening. Depending on the time and place, there’s guaranteed to be something to whet your appetite. 

Even on a sneaky Tuesday at noon during the Festival our grand old City Hall is bursting with live music for the ‘Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concerts’. Performed by some of our most exciting homegrown talents, on this particular day, gypsy-jazz group ‘Cigany Weaver’ took the surprisingly large audience on a guided tour through some of the classic movie music throughout history. The numbers vary, but all had been adapted to have the groups iconic Jazz Manouche, swing, Romani sound flow through them. 

The bands recognisable sound is openly inspired by guitarist Django Reindhart and his partnership with jazz violinist Stephane Grapalli. There is a richness and vibrancy amongst the music that the six-piece outfit create – and they have a history, not just of toe-tapping originals, but also of covering classic songs. A history reflected on their recently released, self-titled album, which features ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ alongside a host of their own work, all garnished with their signature sizzling sounds. 

It was this style that they brought to bear on City Hall, filling the auditorium with the kind of music that brought smiles to every face, and one that had heads nodding along wherever you looked. There was a wonderful nostalgia about the performance, not just in the familiarity of the tunes – although with numbers like ‘I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts’ from ‘Ghostbusters’ (aptly dedicated to the band’s namesake Sigourney Weaver), some of the music fit just like an old blanket.

As a band, ‘Cigany Weaver’ work together to make their music a holistic and rounded experience. The light banter between the members, their easy switch between styles and their astonishing musical voices, all combine to maintain a solid core sound. It is as apt to find them on the main stage in City Hall as it would be to find them playing at an unannounced gig in a secret room in the back of a bar. Their presence is just as comfortable as it is intimate. 

‘Cigany Weaver’ is made up of six members – Jo Davie’s sweet vocals, which float lightly across the tight rhythms and harmonies provided by Liam Butler (Double Bass), Rory Dollard (Guitar), Conor McDonald (Guitar), Kym Ambrose (Percussion), and of course the often haunting and cunningly sharp Violin, played by Gareth Mewes. The sextet works together with the ease of years, but the passion and the freshness that they bring to their music is captivating. Putting such an experience into words feels somehow elusive and inadequate. 

With incredible acts like ‘Cigany Weaver’ playing throughout the festival (sadly this is their only gig of this nature), Brisbane audiences should avail themselves of the wonderful variety on offer. There really is something for everyone, no matter what your taste, and with productions like the ‘Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concerts’ on offer for free, there’s no excuse for not getting amongst it. 

‘Cigany Weaver’ performed in the ‘Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concert Series’ as part of the 2019 Brisbane Festival. For more information on the Festival visit Brisbane Festival’s Website. To keep up to date with Cigany Weaver and their next performances go to Cigany Weaver’s Website.

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