2019 Fringe Festival Review: 1968: The Birth of Americana…?

Who: Mark Duffy and the Sundial Band

What: 1968: The Birth of Americana…?

When: 27th Feb, 6th and 7th March

Where: The Jade

Cost: $25, concession $20, tickets here

This show is billed as a music gig about 1968, a year that absolutely changed Western popular culture. From mass student protest, political assassinations, anti-war protest movements, Civil Rights and Women’s Lib movements, 1968 was a truly radical time to be in America (and Europe). It’s strange, then, how staid this show is. There was no music from women, or people of colour. I can accept that they were focusing on ‘Americana’ (including Canadian musicians), so crucial 1960s bands such as The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones had to be left out, and, depending on your definition of Americana (which seemed fairly fluid going from what was played), maybe some of the more explicitly political musicians can be excluded. But where’s Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Carole King, Nina Simone, Otis Redding (all of whom wrote and released music in ’68)? I love Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Band, James Taylor, and Crosby, Stills and Nash as much as the next ‘60s fan, but there’s some fairly large gaps in the playlist here.

The musicians were all excellent, especially because they claimed this was the first time they had played together. They all seemed to be having a great time on stage, and the audience equally seemed to be having fun. The general mood and atmosphere of the gig was warm and welcoming, and there was a laid-back sing-a-long vibe throughout. This is the sort of show that I’d take my folks to, and have a great family dinner. I just wish the set list wasn’t as disappointing.


Brydie Kosmina

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