Calling all Amy Winehouse fans. Clear your calendars this Saturday night (December 10th). Tribute band “Amy – I Go Back To Black” will be back in town, showcasing the late-great diva’s work at Konex. Headed by singer Marilia Camposs and guitarist Robin Banerjee, the eleven strong band, ten gents and Marilia — replicates Amy’s 2006 set up to a T. Having seen this band before, I can assure you they’re not one to miss.
Last time they were in town, I popped down to the jazz venue, Bebop club to see the group perform, and grabbed Robin for a chat afterwards.
Heading down the stairs at Bebop I’m greeted by a rouge themed basement, bustling with dining couples, bow-tied waiting staff and tables awash with bottles of wine. Tonight’s show marks a 10 year anniversary since Amy’s “Back to Black” album christened the charts.
The show features hit after hit coming from the energy-packed group. Featuring an array of instruments, exciting melodic riffs and Marilia’s vocal range, the place soon plays host to a sea of smiling faces and bobbing heads, dutifully mouthing lyrics. Marilia having the occasional quick chat with the audience, even grabs one lucky woman to hop on stage and join a rendition of “Valerie”. The classic hits continue with a few other saucy covers thrown in, showing off the bands’ repertoire. One cover in particular, the 1966 hit “Sunny” originally by Bobby Hebb gives each member their moment in the spotlight.
The time seems to vanish and a hailing “Monkey Man” cover (originally by Toots and the Maytals but spectacularly covered by Amy) seems to be the band’s last. A few merry spectators leave their chairs, being taken over by that insatiable urge to boogie. The band leaves after a loud applause, but persistent clapping draws them back on stage for that three track encore. The crowning glory? “The Girl from Ipanema” a track covered by Amy in 2011, however Marilia gives it that authentic twist, opting for traditional Brazilian-Portuguese lyrics. The show ends with excited fans eagerly waiting for some snaps with the band, who cater to all demands. The club slaps “Back To Black” on the speakers to see off a contented crowd.
My chat with Robin:
How have you found it here, how have you found the Argentine public to receive Amy’s music, do they know it well?
Well, it’s my second time in Argentina. But it’s my first proper time doing concerts, and it’s been really successful. Just a different vibe from each crowd. We’ve done ten concerts, four in Buenos Aires and six around Argentina.
The public know Amy’s songs, like Back to Black that’s on now, all the classics like “Rehab” and some songs from the first album like “Stronger Than Me” . They all seem to know them and appreciate them, the fans have come out and they know their stuff.
In terms of the audience, have you seen a big age range?
Yeah there is, I’m very surprised it’s like 18 to 60, a real mix of people. We’ve also been doing a mix of venues, like Groove near Plaza Italia which is more of a younger crowd and then we’ve done Konex which is a mixed and older crowd. It kind of speaks volumes for Amy’s music, that she wrote songs that appeal to everyone really.
I really liked individuality of “The Girl from Ipanema” being sang in Portuguese
Yeah Marilia our singer, she’s fantastic. She’s from Sao Paulo but lives in Argentina. We’re lucky to have her singing, she can also sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
I noticed Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”) and Marvin Gaye (“Heard It Through The Grapevine”) making an appearance. Were these covers catered towards Amy’s influences?
Yeah with one of the two songs, she sung a version of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” with Paul Weller, so we based that on that. With the “Sunny” song I thought it would be nice to just feature all the instruments for just like thirty-seconds each. It’s a simple song that everyone can have a blow over with all that jazz.
How have you found performing here compared to England? (Robin being from London)
Actually it’s very similar. Quality music seems to be universal. Amy’s music was probably one of the biggest exports around, she’s a cult figure in lots of different countries. We’re lucky really to be able to play to such appreciative audiences.
The group will be kicking off at 8PM at Konex. You can grab a ticket here.