WORKSHOP X COLAB (WORKSHOP’S 3RD BIRTHDAY) @ Ellington Jazz Club gets 9/10

Workshop X Colab (Workshop’s third birthday) @ Ellington Jazz Club
Tuesday, September 3, 2019


The Ellington Jazz club yet again has not disappointed, stepping from the cold drizzly Tuesday night in Perth and into a warm cosy melting pot of music; filled to the brim with atmosphere as the stage and the audience were inseparable.

The night was opened by an acoustic set with Katherine Curnow (KC), the event founder/creator to celebrate three years of running this special monthly evening. The opening 30 minutes was a soft and organic duet of KC and Cian Caton with some rich acoustic backing from Jarrod Van Dort pulling us into the early 90s flare with songs like I Wanna Be Down by Brandy Norwood and being swiftly blindsided by modern gems like Focus by H.E.R which was enhanced by sweet vocals of Quentin Thony as he stepped on stage and softly harmonised with the atmosphere. This set was soft and alluring, pulling everyone into a vibe of creativity.

Once the foundations were set KC introduced the audience to the third birthday and the evening opened up to its unique form of operations. The crowd being a part of the show, that is! With key feature collaborators MACSHANE and Kruger James, who run a similar event called Colab at the Moon Café, it begun and the blend of jazz instrumentalists, R&B heavenly vocals and Australian hip hop all collided to form a powerful flow of music throughout the room. Looking around one could not help but notice the expression of excitement and smiles across everyone’s face; only differed by the people singing along to the familiar choruses which held everything and everyone together.

Charlie Moon Meader took the stage to unleash a loud version of California Love which was reshaped by MACSHANE and Kruger James to be Perth focused, pulling up soft puns of Perth business hours, expensive parking and are beautiful summer weather.  As jazz is the essence of this event, Josiah Padmanabham shredded on the keys and took the spotlight with a mean solo. Alex Reid on the drums held a complex beat whilst Ezekiel Padmanabham and Jarrad Van Dort were holding together wavy rifts and sneaking in those uplifting tremolos and solos.

Then the audience was then blessed by Simone Spittle, opening her set with encouragement as she mentioned it was her first time performing at the venue. The nerves were soon shaken off as she embodied the music and her version of Killing Me Softly echoed through the room. Then only eight bars in… there was darkness. Disaster had struck. The electricity was out along the whole street. A ambiguous voice from the back shouted “The whole street is out, even Macdonalds.” A sombre wave flooded through the room, but this was uplifted by the almost gapless continuation of unplugged music. Josiah stepped away from the electric keys and over towards the grand Piano, simultaneously Jarrod laid the electric guitar to rest and unveiled an acoustic. “Killing me softly with his song, I heard he sang a good song…” started to form a collective voice throughout the entire room. Candles were strung along the bar, the music went on. Unplugged, raw and unreal! As part of this audience there was a sense of awe – one would assume in most Perth music venues a power outage would lead to an early night; quite the contrary on this occasion. Now it was a real birthday party with candles and all. The audience were a part of this event and that is what made it different.

Sarah Pelican took to the stage with KC and Cian to cover some Lauryn Hill’s Doo-Wop (That Thing). Skillfully presenting their abilities to not only sing so brilliantly but also rap with some serious pace. Pure fire. Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You was picked up and absolutely owned by Mary Emme as one could feel her whole heart flowing through the lyrics. She moved to each note as the words fell from her lips.

Hyclass, Natalie May and the man who goes by the name of ‘Servo Flowers‘ intrinsically flowed to perform an elegant rendition of Unaware by Allen Stone with deep undertones from Hyclass. After this piece you literally wanted to get a flower and give them to the first person you see.

This event was like stepping into a concentrated live set of Like a Version with artists coming together and bringing their bag load of skills to display and collaborate off one another. The night went from soft beginnings and unfolded into what no one could expect. Pure magic of the Perth scene in full force. For a person keen on music and entering the scene or a veteran in their own art this is truly the melting pot you have always been looking for. So very flavoursome. Huge props to Katherine Curnow, bringing this ball of energy back from her 10 years living in London. She saw a need and now three years in, the show is just beginning. A big win for Perth music. This is what I like to call organic music as it swirls to highs and lows and everyone can enjoy the ride.

All in all Workshop, happy birthday. Katherine Curnow has created such an incredible scene and everyone there is a part of it through and through. From hip hop artists, WAAPA students, music appreciators to proud parents – for anyone who has not been to this event it is time to feel the energy because even when the power is out it is lit. It felt so special to be a witness to such a beautiful evening.


Photos by Ettridge