Welcome new showband trio

Tanner Wareham (centre) with drummer George Ogollo and bassist Reece Cook. They perform their Bob Dylan tribute show at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban, this and next weekend (July 29 to 21, then July 26 to 28).

 

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Stage: Bob Dylan Tribute Show – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban
(July 19 to 21, then July 26 to 28)

REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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IT IS always exciting to welcome new acts to the Durban entertainment scene and in giving local musician Tanner Wareham and his band their first step into the realm of theatrical entertainment, Rhumbelow Theatre entertainment co-ordinator Roland Stansell has tapped into a winner that I hope we see more of.

Opening night jitters in May, at the Rhumbelow Theatre’s branch at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof, may have seen the trio coming across as slightly shy, a bit nervous, during the early part of their Bob Dylan tribute show. However, this is a fine team which, during the charming informality of its performance, remains musically strong and competent throughout the show.

A lot more relaxed by the second half of its May opening night performance, the team offers only casual patter, just enough, preferring to instead let the songs do the talking.

The show is now being performed at the Umbilo branch of the Rhumbelow Theatre at 8pm this Friday and Saturday (July 19 and 20) and 2pm on Sunday, and again at these times next weekend, July 26 to 28.

Bob Dylan has written some amazing songs in his time but for many, me included, he was a really awful vocalist and his songs are much better performed by others.

To this end, young Tanner has a mellifluous voice that does justice to the hits and lesser-known moments from the Dylan repertoire. Tanner has other commendable talents, too – he is a fine lead and acoustic guitarist, also handles harmonica and loop machine, and is adept on keyboards.

A classically trained and versatile musician with a beguiling voice, he is a former Kearsney College pupil and University of Stellenbosch student. He recently performed on the main stage at the Splashy Fen Music Festival and, in April, appeared as opening act for Watershed at their Ballito Beats concert.

Tanner Wareham with drummer George Ogollo (right) and bassist Reece Cook (left).

For the Dylan tribute, he is well backed by blond Reece Cook on bass and guitar, and Kenyan George Ogollo on subtle drums and occasional bass.

If I have any criticism it is that Tanner has a tendency to close his eyes a lot when singing and a habit of pressing his tongue to his top lip while playing. Work on that, add more audience eye contact and he makes for a very pleasant musical package.

All the Bob biggies are in this show – from the opening Shelter From the Storm and Blowing in the Wind through to Tambourine Man and All Along the Watchtower, which closes the first half.

The second half opens with the catchy Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, then reaches a high with the hits Just Like a Woman and Knocking on Heaven’s Door, with Tanner performing solo, with harmonica and guitar, for Times They Are A-changing.

I really enjoyed the lesser known Ballad of a Thin Man, which is darker Dylan, performed with Tanner at the keyboard. However this leads to another suggestion which I hope might already have been realised and sorted out by now – the keyboard faces to the side of the stage which might be a technical necessity of sorts, but which is most unfortunate. A slight move of the instrument to allow the audience to see Tanner’s face would be an obvious and much better idea.

Also featuring the toe-tapping Subterranean Homesick Blues, Maggie’s Farm, Hurricane and an encore piece that lends a nice African slant to the classic Like a Rolling Stone, the show is well worth seeing. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.


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