‘My Funny Valentine’ was exciting.
Josh Daveta and The Sequins’ latest concert, ‘My Funny Valentine’, was presented at Metro Arts’ New Benner Theatre. The lovely underground theatre was the perfect intimate setting for this production. A reimagining of today’s pop classics through the lens of jazz, Daveta and their band entertained audiences throughout the 65-minute cabaret performance.
From the moment Daveta stepped on stage, their energy and ease with the audience created a warm, cosy environment. Lighting effects were impactful in the small venue, with strobes, multi-coloured lights and spotlights underscoring the songs expertly and pulling focus at the perfect moments.
The three-piece band consisted of Gracie Mack on piano, Jotham Garrot on drums and Kendall Layt on bass. The threesome had a natural rapport and easily followed Daveta’s scatting and riffs. Mack was given a chance to show off her skills on the keys in extended piano instrumentals, as well as her vocals by accompanying Daveta in a couple of numbers. The stage was set as an old-fashioned lounge room: rugs, an armchair, gramophone and old radio added to the jazz club vibe. Haze machines and bubbles enhanced the ambience of the space.
Daveta encouraged interaction through the use of dialogue. Their conversational tone ingratiated themselves with the audience and added to the intimate and relaxed feel of the night.
The flow of Daveta’s movement on stage matched the fluidity of their voice. Their vocal gymnastics and ability to perform a variety of styles evidenced their talent. They easily transitioned from upbeat songs to ballads with expert command and control. The playlist consisted of the biggest hits from the biggest divas, from Beyonce to Lady Gaga. Undaunted, Daveta conquered them all.
The concert opened with a jazzy rendition of ‘Orange Coloured Sky’ which captured the audience’s attention and set the tone for the evening. Daveta’s interpretation of Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’ was dripping with unapologetic sass and sultriness. Their mashup of the old classic ‘Singing In The Rain’ and ‘Umbrella’ by Rhianna was cleverly orchestrated, keeping both of the songs’ integrity while blending them into a fun remix. Daveta also turned things up for the singles with ‘Thank You, Next’ by Ariana Grande and the iconic ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce, complete with choreography.
A highlight of the night was Daveta’s soulful rendition of Lorde’s ‘Royals’. This slow and almost mournful interpretation of the song brought a serious note to the night and enabled the audience to appreciate the rich, pure quality of Daveta’s voice. The stillness on stage was echoed in the audience as everyone sat still and paid attention to the powerhouse talent and sublime vocals that were being showcased before them.
As the show drew to a close, the audience was treated to a costume change and final jazz number, a classic and the title of the show, ‘My Funny Valentine’. The lighting and piano accompaniment underscored Daveta’s vocals and provided the perfect ending.
‘My Funny Valentine’ certainly achieved what it set out to do: modern pop songs with a jazz spin. Daveta managed to keep the integrity of the songs while giving them a whole new meaning as jazz numbers with soul and purpose. A wonderful performance for fans of pop and jazz alike, Daveta excelled in a show that was one of a kind.
‘My Funny Valentine’ performed for one night only at Metro Arts. For information on Josh Daveta’s upcoming shows visit Josh RH Daveta. Alternatively, head to Metro Arts’ website for upcoming shows.