Two roaring fireplaces at either end of the Hoben lounge made for a warm and inviting atmosphere where a great crowd gathered to spend an evening with the Kalamadudes. The audience chattered over hot chocolate and cookies waiting for the show to being. The Dudes donned their classiest attire and opened the performance with Peter Gabriel's “Book of Love”.
Like the song says, the book of love is where music comes from, but some of it's really dumb. While A Capella might not be dumb, the appeal is not in the music. The Dudes do a good job of not taking themselves too seriously, which makes them easy to like. They are relaxed and laughing between songs, talking with the audience and amongst themselves.
An Evening with the Dudes was part college Friday night part high class night out. The venue, the Hoben first floor lounge had poor acoustics but completely fit the theme on the bill. From the elegant arched windows to the elaborate matching trim of the floor and ceiling, one might have confused it with a room from Versailles.
The Kalamadudes rendition of “Your Song” felt forced and emotional, as did the Bon Iver interlude, in the otherwise relaxed atmosphere. Again the theatrical elements of their performance was the saving grace of a painfully ordinary cover. The crowd, prompted by the Dudes, clapped in time, for the most part, with the music, contributing to the already lively atmosphere.
Things got better when the Dudes had the opportunity to loosen up with Sugar Ray's “Every Morning”. They seemed much more relaxed and in their element dancing to 90's feel good hits than they did standing awkwardly parroting emotional ballads. The high energy songs compliment their quirky humor and light hearted attitude.
When they sang the Coldplay hit “Yellow” the performance hit its climax. It was exactly the right song for them to sing. It fit the theme, and more importantly it fit the performers. It sounded natural, fluid and would have been the high note to end on.
Unfortunately the Dudes chose to give an unrequested encore, which was far less impressive. Things had been getting progressively better until the end where the Dudes dropped the ball. For a night that was supposed to be filled with elegance it couldn’t have ended more awkwardly.