It was rock and roll heaven last night at the Perth Town Hall – under the soaring wooden ceilings songwriter, singer, dancer, showman, Movin’ Melvin Brown brought the legendary father of rock n roll Chuck Berry to life. In a satiny red suit he tap danced and soft shoe shuffled across the stage before launching into a rousing rendition of Memphis to get the show underway.
He followed up with one of his own compositions, Missy, but one definitely in the Berry tradition, before getting the audience up on their feet for Sweet Little Sixteen. Interspersing the songs with a few stories of his and Chuck’s life enlivened by his characteristic “heh-heh-heh” chuckle Movin’ Melvin turned on one of the best of this year’s Fringe shows.
Reelin’ and Rockin’, Maybelline and You Never Can Tell (C’est La Vie) led into a rip snorting version of My Ding a Ling (I remember when Chuck’s version – quite amazingly this was his only Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 – was banned on radio) and then another highlight – Promised Land – at this stage I lost my wife who was galloping off to the front of the hall along with half the audience to dance.
A Melvin song, Three Ladies and the Chuck classic Johnny B Goode brought the performance to a rocking conclusion, before an encore had all the audience up dancing to one more of his own songs – When We Used to Dance – and this could easily have been recorded by the master such was the rhythm and beat. A great night.
One more show tonight will bring this visit to the Fringe to an end, get along if you can, but make sure when he returns – and he is a regular visitor to Australia and Perth – that you make Movin’ Melvin Brown a must see.