Aug 12-20 (21.20)
The Other Guys is a show that grabs the torch that should be a Fringe show, thrusts it in the air with the poise of one of those Olympic posters & says, ‘lets do this, guys, lets have some proper fun.’ Four youngish gentlemen, friends from their academic years apparently, have forged a feisty star turn based upon the songs of high-pitched warbler, Franki Valli, who with his band ‘The Four Seasons‘ have sold an incredible amount of records since their inception in 1960. That’s not to say me & the wife were fans, we’ve always found Valli’s voice a bit whiney, a bit lost baby goat in the woodsey, but a little dickie bird told us to check out the show, so we did.
Of course at the end we were dancing, as was the rest of the relatively small & cozy room. Because of the size of the auditorium, the show’s quality was in fact enhanced; there was a great intimacy, for example we were sat right behind the bass player & the keyboardist, the latter fellow directing the music with consummate ease. The band are in house, & accompany other acts at C Venues. They told us they’d only had one full practice with The Other Guys, but you couldn’t tell, it all sounded great, & it was nice to see the singers occasionally sweep by the band & give little winks of appreciation. They were actually pulling this one off.
The Other Guys did more than pull it off – they have created something that transcended Valli’s own work, an amazing blend of pop tunes – mainly Valli’s, but some modern – & choreographized chemistry coming from four great mates dancing to old tunes together in their student bedrooms. For Valli fans, all the classics were there – Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What a Night – & it was exhilarating to see the crowd singing along, & swaying in lines, & standing together at the end in one happy, clapping, gospelesque clanjamfrie.
The Other Guys is steeped in the halycon days of vocal harmonies, when in the days before wah-wahs & keyboards, the only way to improve a group’s sound was through the human voice. Roll on seven decades & luckily there are purists still out there who are capable of four-part rock & roll harmonies, & it is sheer serendipity to stumble across them. As we were leaving, a couple of young fiances turned up asking if The Other Guys could play at their wedding in St Andrews. ‘We’re only together for Edinburgh,‘ replied the bass-player, & I urge anyone who is up for being entertained this August to catch their ephemeral orgy of honest, incandescent brilliance while you can. Time is running out, fast!
Reviewer : Damo