Code Red @ Canberra’s Hellenic Club

Walking into the Hellenic Club in Woden, Canberra is always so awe inspiring because of its Greek background. There are high ceilings, marble look staircases and flooring, gold statues on pillars and yet the mood is more that of a vibrant services club with no airs and graces required or expected.

Entering the entertainment area tonight was surprising as there were bums on seats everywhere you looked…. many more than I’d seen here on previous occasions!  Luckily a family moved on and I was able to get a good seat with a great view of tonight’s band – Code Red.

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There’s time to get a drink and settle into position whilst watching the lighting technician adjust the bars and make sure everything was perfect. At this time, I also perused the crowd noting that the median age would have been perhaps around the 40-year-old mark. That’s as expected given that Code Red are a cover band with a repertoire covering decades of music from both Australian and overseas artists.

On stage the band members  prepare themselves for the performance. I’d done a little research to find out about the band before I came tonight – Megan Gannon – Vocals, Jodie Notjust – Vocals, Mark Smith – Guitar/Vocals, Gav Kelly – Drums and there’s someone familiar on stage tonight, the bass player Andrew Rickard (Carnival Road) who as an associate member is filling in the for the night in Simon Gregor’s abscence.

The show begins with a song from the late Aretha Franklin – Chain … I immediately find myself singing along as though I was part of the band in front of me…that seems to me to be a good start to the evening albeit bad for those sitting beside me…Lol

Next up a rendition of Neil Diamond’s mega hit Sweet Caroline and with that the dance floor is filled and the seats with bums laid bare. Everyone’s up and there are myriads of dance styles on display. There’s a few punters who are trying multitasking by dancing and singing at the same time. The band are tight, the vocals clear and precise and the lighting is adding to the ‘party effect’.

The night continues with a set list including Lover Lover (Sonia Dada), Echo Beach (Martha & The Muffins), Wicked Game (Chris Isaacs), Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison), Copperhead Road (Steve Earle), Lonely Boy (Black Keys), Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash) and many more.

Between songs there is only time for a breath or two from those on the dance floor and their appreciation and want for more is displayed by clapping and whistling. Even the tiredest of punters just couldn’t seem to quell the enjoyment they were having long enough to take a load off their feet and instead finding some sort of stamina from within to continue.

Vocally the performances are solid and mixing it up between three lead singers         (Gannon, Notjust & Smith) provides good light and shade to the dynamics of the song. Harmonies are great and in turn audience participation is the flow on effect – there are no fancy flourishes or height altitudes to match – this is just good solid clean old school rock and everyone’s digging it!

Instrumentally, again no real over the top flourishes to distract you from the hits of yesteryear or that take over the power of the vocals…that’s not to say that we didn’t see some great solo guitar riffs, but they were appropriately placed and not overdone.

Whilst they were the entertainment professionals on the night Code Red also remembered to let the punters take the lead on occasion and provided a fantastic all-round experience for those there on the night. I’d have no problems recommending these guys for a party or function that wanted a fun and memorable night.

Code Red obviously have their hand on the pulse with their fan base – this was truly a great, fun night of  revisiting those songs of which some of us grew up on and they were delivered with a quality measured performance.

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