WORDS BY NADENE BUDDEN
IMAGES BY MATTHEW WADDINGHAM
God it feels good to be back.
After months of live music put on hold, throughout the room from the staff to the audience and the band on stage, there is a profound sense of gratitude. Everyone is thankful to be experiencing something as simple as sitting in a room and taking in a live performance. With The Cambridge Hotel now filling their weekends with double act evenings of live music, gigs like 3rd October’s Viragos and The Hamilton Alpine Club is double the value and, most importantly, double the fun.
Despite being a relatively new band, formed during early isolation days of Covid-19 between housemates, Viragos feels at home on stage. Vocalist India Seddon-Callaghan, formerly of India and The Journey To The East, is captivating and expressive, commanding the stage and interacting both the audience and the rest of the band. The rest of band managed to match her energy too, bassist Alex McWhirter particularly throwing some funky moves during songs complete with some bass face.
Though the songs lean more funk-rock, even the slowest song being at least mid-tempo, the set wasn’t without some serious notes. A spoken word piece shouted to the audience about reclaiming power inspires the audience, then wildly turns into a dance breakdown section including the classic running man from India (#bringitback). The whole room is quite literally jumping in their seats. As well as original songs, Viragos also added their own funky twist to other songs with covers of Crave You by Flight Facilities and Ball Park Music’s banger Trippin’ The Light Fantastic which was flame react approved via Instagram by Ball Park Music themselves.
If Viragos set the tone of the evening, The Hamilton Alpine Club dialled up that same energy to 11. I mean, a clap along in the first song? Groundbreaking. Vocalist Samara Jane, much like Viragos, fills the stage with kooky dance moves as she weaves and ducks throughout the brass and flute section. “March was when we played our last gig” she mentions in some downtime between songs, and it’s obvious everyone is happy to be back on stage.
Every song is met with a cheer from the audience, people once again bouncing on their seats with their arms in the air and feeling every beat of every song. From these ecstatic bursts of energy to moody and mysterious slower songs and even a rap section, the party continues with The Hamilton Alpine Club as the band plays songs from their debut self-titled and their latest EP, Opus Ego.
Every song is full of funk, with beautiful instrumental sections filled with an energy and passion at a level not really seen before. We’re all here for a good time, and not a single soul can keep still when they hear just a bass note from Viragos or The Hamilton Alpine Club.
The world may be in a weird place, but there is nothing but good vibes in the room on this night. As The Hamilton Alpine Club leaves the stage, the audience only begs for an encore to keep it going. It’s an outpouring of gratitude to everyone on stage and beyond who has worked to bring live music to our eyes and ears.