Fringe review: Phil Stack

Audiences will most likely know Phil Stack as the bassist for Australian pop rock band Thirsty Merc, but he has stepped out from that success to command a stage of his own. ★★★ ½

Mar 06, 2021, updated Mar 07, 2021

It’s an intimate show in the Garden of Unearthly Delights’ Spiegeltent, and it feels every bit as though the audience is being let in on an undiscovered secret.

Phil Stack opens the performance in the way he intends to go on, with a powerful and commanding demonstration of his skills on the double bass. His introduction features merely his instrument and his own voice, and they both arrive with formidable intent.

The audience is treated to tunes from Stack’s first EP since he was 18 – he’s now 43. “I wanted to wait until I was absolutely ready,” he laughs, although he acknowledges life has been crazy in many of those intervening years. The songs he plays from Colourful, Noisy are a little bit soulful with a touch of rock and whole lot of jazz.

It would have been more than enough to hear Stack’s soulful musings solo for the hour, but he’s joined on stage by homegrown talent James Muller.

Muller, a much-lauded jazz guitarist and teacher at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, is the perfect complement to Stack. He’s a regular at live music haunts around town and has performed around the world.

The onstage chemistry between the two is a thing to marvel at as they get lost in the unadulterated joy of their music.

The instruments are pared back – just the double bass, Stack’s piano and Muller’s guitar – but it’s a brilliant show of raw talent.

To finish, Stack borrows a song from the great John Lennon and his choice couldn’t be more appropriate as he belts out the lyrics to “Nobody Told Me”.

Phil Stack performed in the Garden of Unearthly Delights for one night only.

Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews  here.

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