FRINGEWORLD 2017 – Peter Combe and the Clicketty Cane Band (4.5 stars)
Review by Laura Money
Well Perth, Peter Combe is back with your yearly dose of nostalgia! For one night only, Combe entertained a bunch of Gen Y adults in a tent in the middle of Northbridge. You don’t get closer to your childhood than an all-tent sing-a-long! It is a strange sight – all these grown men and women singing along to Juicy Juicy Greengrass with gusto, extolling the virtues of Spaghetti Bolognese and asking Dad if he left his bag in Baghdad.
I cannot overstate how important Peter Combe’s music is to a whole generation of 30 somethings but believe me, the whole room was filled with such warmth and love for the iconic singer, it literally brought people together. Combe’s unique brand of children’s entertainment truly stands the test of time, as he even threw in a new track off of his latest album to trial – apparently we all passed the audition. As a children’s entertainer it’s hard to see past the silly lyrics and basic tunes, but Combe is more than a kid’s entertainer – he is a true musician. As an adult, I can appreciate just how good the music is – the band is exceptional, yet it’s easy to be great when the material is so rocking.
Of course, Combe was accompanied by The Clicketty Cane Band – the most awesome name ever, by the way! They are true musicians, with an immense amount of talent between them – three are Perth locals so keep your ear to the ground. Combe also brought over his good friend and offsider, pianist Phil. Their banter was hilarious and his complimentary vocals harmonised well with Combe’s, especially in a charming rendition of Here Comes the Sun.
There is an attitude that children’s music is boring, but listening with 30-year-old ears, I realised that there really was no-one like Combe around in the 90s. His songs really were and still are amazing to listen to. It has been well over 20 years since I heard most of these songs, yet I found myself grinning from ear to ear singing Jack and the Beanstalk, The Silly Postman and Newspaper Mama. There were some wonderfully touching moments as Combe sang a song dedicated to his son, and Spangle Road from his operetta Frederick WhatsHisName & his TwoLegged Six String Guitar, a song I was surprised to hear was a popular choice for bridal waltz these days.
This highlights just how much of an impact Combe has been in Australia, not just for children. It is a testament to him to see so many people so heavily influenced by his virtues – be they from a strong environmental theme, a reverence for the planet earth and the solar system, or just favourite foods like toffee apples or peanut butter. All I know is that many millenials got their musical education from listening to Combe’s version of Chopsticks rather than playing it themselves, and we are eternally grateful.