I’ve never seen Sideshow Annie live before and I’ve never been to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney…but here I am experiencing both for the first time.
On entry to the hotel..it’s not much different to many other ones anywhere across our continent! Off to the right was the stage area for tonight’s performance and it was suitably dressed for what is to be a belated Halloween celebration…gruesome dolls, missing hands, witches legs under the drum kit, black curtaining…you know the kind of stuff I mean.
What I know in advance is that Sideshow Annie are a home grown talent from the region who perform both originals and covers. This will be their last show in Katoomba until mid 2019 due to expanding horizons and increasing popularity.
What I wasn’t aware of is that this gig would be 4hrs in length starting at 9pm and finishing at 1am…Really??… I’ve not known any groups to perform for that length of time – I wondered if they could pull it off!
Sideshow Annie have taken the stage and the spotlight shines on Gillian Reynolds the lead singer – she looks pasty due to her death makeup but there is nothing pasty in the first note she lets out – what a powerhouse!! Add to this her extraordinary outfit in ‘Steam Punk’ flavour for which she is noted and the identity is formed in my mind.
The band is tight and the riffs performed by Eliot Reynolds (Gillian’s husband) and Wayne Edmunds are surreal and effortless. Matt Skelton on the drums is providing resounding beats and demonstrating skillful rhythm capabilities. James Roy is providing the bottom end on bass guitar and embellishes the tracks with flair.
Gillian continues through each set and engages with the punters by hopping off the stage at key interval moments and dancing with them. This is appreciated by individuals and they respond with applause and shouts of excitement. This fuels Eliot’s desire to let rip with the smoke machine again…it’s all good and really adds to the atmosphere!
Seems the boys are masterful singers too with Eliot taking over a couple of songs in the third set and all the boys providing backing vocals to Gillian’s lead on other tracks.
Throughout the night we are treated to originals such as ‘Big Black Dog’ and ‘Little Gypsy’ from their own repertoire and then great covers – just to name a few – ‘Knockin’ on Heavens Door’ (Bob Dylan), ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ (The Rolling Stones) and ‘The Boys Light Up’ (Australian Crawl).
Between sets Gillian moved around the room talking with punters and discussing their queries with them and also just having a bit of general fun. She has an infectious smile and you can’t help but smile back.
When I had my chance to talk with her I learned that she used to work for Triple J in the days when Myf Warhurst was a radio host there and that Sideshow Annie had just released the album ‘Big Black Dog’ earlier this year (Cue another interview).
The last set for the night arrives and I’m amazed at the strength and power still evident in Gillian’s vocals – How does she do that?? It’s 12.15pm and the set length is 25mins or so..the band are still tight as well. The night ends.
Would I recommend seeing Sideshow Annie to you? – “Hell Yes”!
The show was spot on, the crowd engaged, the performers strong and the music..especially the originals was edgy. The gig on the whole was true to their own eccentric fusion of rock styles. I’ll not be missing out on seeing them again next time we are in the same locality.
Here’s a taste of the night for you to enjoy…..