On Sunday the 7th of October, the well renowned Ukulele Death Squad graced Elder Hall in Adelaide, supported by local Adelaide act LA Stripped, as well as Ukulele Russ, who travelled all the way from Fairbanks in Alaska. The show was certainly one the crowd (and I) won’t forget any time soon, and left all feeling blessed to witness their show and anticipating their return back to Adelaide in coming months as part of the Not Afraid single tour as the group further embarks on their nation-wide tour for now one gig at a time.
The super mellow afternoon show was kicked off by LA Stripped, an Aussie bloke dressed in a rather questionable glam get-up. He played well known, rocky tunes, although on a ukulele, and in almost a comical fashion at times, often plugged into and played through a distortion pedal as he entertained the very mixed crowd before him, consisting of just about all age groups from 10-80 and above it seemed, this bloke really built up a strong anticipation for the acts that followed, with a great mixed bag of tribute and cover songs from across the ages that surely everyone (or their parents) could recognise.
Ukulele Russ was up next, a super talented musician who travelled all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska, with just his ukulele and trusty loop pedal, along with an array of cool gadgets to build his sound. During his set he incorporated beat boxing, electric bass ukulele, a bunch of groovy effects pedals, and a vocal processor. He performed some humorous songs about why single player toilet paper should be eradicated, what to do if you see a bear, and demonstrated the beauty of auto tune in a hilarious rendition of ‘Believe’ by Cher. Although he was alone on a big stage, all attention was drawn to him, and he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand responding to everything he did. The audience was completely absorbed in his well-executed performance, and anticipation grew even more for the headline act, Ukulele Death Squad.
After a quick intermission, Ukulele Death Squad hit the stage, wowing the crowd with high energy music and performance. They interacted with the crowd well, telling jokes and stories between songs, and even incorporated some wonderful burlesque dancers, who entertained the crowd with their cheeky dances. At one point, the band left the stage and the Bass player performed a traditional Irish song solo, blowing the crowd away with his remarkable, mournful voice. The band was extremely energetic on stage, and by the halfway point of the show, had already broken several ukulele strings, and a violin bow. They were joined on stage by Ashlee Randell of the Coconut Kids, who played trombone in between blowing the roof off the house with her amazing voice. Their performance was cheeky, charming, and very entertaining, and when they finished, they were called out for an encore by the crowd, and they played two more songs.
Overall, the performances by all acts were astounding and very entertaining. The venue was clean and tidy, the staff were great, and there was a wide range of merchandise available at reasonable prices, including ukuleles. I would highly recommend going to see Ukulele Death Squad next time they play in Adelaide.