Sam Buckingham is another singer-cum-hero, using her music to try and make the world a better place. Her mission? Orangutans, and to do all within her power to help save these creatures and their natural habitats. Sam’s passion for these creatures has led her to plan a month long stint working in a wildlife centre in Borneo next year. Sam is using a Wednesday residency at the Excelsior hotel in order to raise awareness for the cause and raise funds for her trip, as well as put on a decent show for the punters who are supporting her.
The night kicked off with Renny Field. A likeable, if somewhat unpolished live act. His catchy, country songs covered topics from girls to office jobs to the cricket, and got the audience bopping along. The decision to become a fulltime muso was a recent one for Renny, and this was somewhat obvious through some clunky transitions and sometimes awkward stage manner. But his material was far from lacking, and this will certainly carry him through until he finds his feet on stage.
The second support was Rubi & Jude, a cute little twosome who you either love or hate. Their songs come across as either gentle, melodic lullabies, or boring and too slow. They aren’t an act for everyone, and like Renny Field there were some moments when they didn’t seem quite at ease on stage. But their beautifully crafted lyrics and soothing sounds assured even the most discerning listener that these guys are good at what they do.
Then it was time for the lady of the hour and Sam Buckingham took to the stage. Sam has slotted herself beautifully into the ever expanding niche of indie-folk-pop; a genre almost impossible to define, but instantly recognizable. Sam immediately captivated the audience with her sweet love songs and cute pop ballads, reminiscent of other Australian female indie vocalists who have recently found favor, every now and then there was Kate Miller-Heidke-esque squeak, or a Lenka-like twang, which helped remind the listener about all the amazing talent Australia has, of which Sam Buckingham is definitely a part. The highlight of the night was Sam’s country version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” complete with piano accordion and tambourine.
Overall it was a fun night despite a few haphazard moments onstage caused by untuned guitars, misbehaving melodicas and forgotten lyrics, but all the artists managed to incorporate these gracefully into their sets to create a sense that is was simply a room full of friends. And the negatives certainly paled into comparison to the talent present and the cause they were there to support.