60 Four: In Concert

60 Four: In Concert
Adelaide Fringe Festival. Norwood Concert Hall plus 8 other statewide venues. March 11th to April 9th, 2022

One hundred and forty five minutes are simply not enough! I confess to seeing these exciting young performers in 2020, and at that time, their showmanship and finely honed harmonies were wonderful. How could this be made even better? By adding a spectacular nine-piece backing band (for all performances, except for those in Kangaroo Island and Victor Harbor), this already sensational group delivers a Las Vegas-worthy performance, jam packed with Rat-pack glamour and Jersey Boys style allure, performance and charisma.

The Fringe Festival underlines the power of opportunity to perform, and the story of this group very closely mirrors the internationally acclaimed and successful Australian group Human Nature. Both groups met at school, and were nurtured to ‘find their voice’, and find their voices 60 Four have. I mention Human Nature because they too saw the power of beautiful harmony, and the 60 Four have this in spades. Ben Francis, who also directs the group, Kyle Charles Hall, choreographer extraordinaire, Lachlan Williams whose smile lights up every second on stage and new recruit Finnegan Green have developed a world class Fringe headlining act by harnessing their dedication, talent, hard work and dazzlingly positive approach to performance.

They are supremely comfortable, almost intuitive with their stage presence and persona. Every move, even placing microphones, is strategically planned as part of seamless carefully planned and disciplined performance. The audience is the focus and these four young men (I am not being patronizing, their ages range from 20 to Hall - the elder statesman - at 24), have honed every move for maximum impact. They work very ‘down stage’, almost in touching distance of the audience and present like seasoned international, professional cabaret performers. Their teamwork is faultless. Not one of them is ever ‘not present in the moment’ and their audience contact is captivating. OK, there are lots of superlatives here, but it is so exciting to see such high quality performance and emerging top flight artists at affordable prices. They perform with the energy of well-trained athletes, effortlessly using tailored choreography that matches the song type and often, as with Elvis and Chubby Checker, the original performer.

This concert presented 37 songs, cleverly linked and often very upbeat versions of well-known classics, refreshed by a new arrangement. This was particularly evident with the much revered Simon and Garfunkel song,“Sounds of Silence”, featuring Hall on acoustic guitar. Having said that, the songs are presented in a way that harnesses the individual strengths of each member whilst never deviating from the power of their combined harmonies. Whilst the songs of the 60’s are the main stars, other favourites, including Queen join the parade. The Beatles, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Beach Boys, The Bee Gees, The Monkees, Elvis, Johnny O Keefe and many more are presented using a unique 60 Four arrangement, style and choreography.

Backing this group is a fabulous nine piece band. Every musician is a star in their own right, and all are acknowledged several times and given a chance to feature and shine. It is wonderful to watch the band, who when not playing became backing movers and performers. Their joy and involvement was a delight, making the performance feel very much a complete package delivered with commitment by all performers. All of the band are noteworthy, but Marco Callisto (who moves swiftly between piano and keyboard throughout the show), and Emma Simpson-Smith did impressive work with the band arrangements.

It is very apparent that these four young men also have a clear focus on gratitude for their audience, co-performers and supporters. Their program is full of acknowledgements and thank you messages, including a full page of named photos for their young, very talented band, and several times during the performance, they spoke openly about their gratitude for the opportunity, in these challenging times, to perform. It must be said that some very good parenting work has been done along the way. For me, this was relevant because I felt a real connection to these earnest young performers and it underlined their generosity as people and performers in times when younger people often suffer criticism.

Whilst their Adelaide season has ended, and their country tour begins, this is a group to watch for the future. Originally the best of South Australia, there is no doubt that this talented quartet is on the brink of belonging to the world. And it couldn’t happen to nicer people.

Jude Hines

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.