Last night I was reminded why I am so passionate about music. I saw Tim Draxl perform live at the Supper Club on Oxford Street. Music for me is all about emotions and last night was such an emotional experience.
Tim told us that he performs in Sydney every four years for some reason, just like the Olympics. A quick mental calculation and I worked out that I had seen him each time.
The first time was in 2001 when Tim was a mere 19 years old. He had just released his second album of cabaret and had been hailed as some kind of teen prodigy. He had a voice that could melt icebergs and could dance up a storm. It was a highly entertaining evening and I was hooked. I was fortunate to meet Tim after the show and found him to be charming.
The next time was in 2005 at Bar Me in Kings Cross, a very small venue in a basement. Vocally Tim had developed and it was an excellent show but you couldn’t help but feel that it really wasn’t what Tim wanted to be doing. He had already started acting and was making no secret that acting was his main love. His five record deal with Sony had stalled at two. Not long after the Bar Me season, Tim moved to LA to pursue his acting.
Flash forward to last night. Tim is back in Australia for a short visit. He is still living in LA and has completed four films which should see release over the next 12 months. Thankfully, Tim still gets the urge to sing which is why he put this show together. Called “Under The Influence”, it is a show that allows Tim to share his professional and personal influences throughout his life.
Tim sang a lot of jazz standards but some more contempory stuff as well. I didn’t recognise a lot of the songs but I knew the names of the singers – Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Billie Holliday, Mel Torme, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan to name a few.
Tim was truly comfortable with the material, no doubt because all of his choices were all very personal for him. He inhabited every song and allowed us, his audience, to experience the emotions. I was tingly with goosebumps throughout the whole evening and had to keep blinking back the tears. Tim’s voice has really matured and he’s not afraid to take a few risks with his singing. No doubt, his ability to perform and connect with an audience has been sharpened by his acting experience.
A highlight of the evening was “My Funny Valentine” which was just simply the best version I had ever heard. “Over The Rainbow” which has been sung to tweeness by so many others, plumbed new emotional depths in Tim’s hands (or should I say voice).
Despite the title of the show, Tim only sang one song about alcohol, the song “Lilac Wine” (which I could have sworn was called “I Like Wine” – thank god for Google) which he discovered through Jeff Buckley even though it had been round since the 50s. A great performance.
Tim also turned in a great performance of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”, which was how I knew I was going to feel once the show finished. Tim took his breath and our breath away with the scat song “Come On Home” by Lambert, Henricks and Ross, a jazz vocal trio. Although the song was designed for three voices, Tim was able to sing it by himself. No mean feat.
An “Under The Influence” album would be simply brilliant if we could just get Tim back into a recording studio but acting is where he wants to be at the moment. I’m sure that some time in the future, Tim will find a way to balance acting and singing, possibly combining the two. During the show, Tim mentioned that he would love to play Chet Baker in a movie. Leonardo Dicaprio owns the rights to Chet’s story so Leo, if you’re reading this, Tim Draxl is ready and willing to act and sing as Chet Baker.
Although last night was meant to be the last show of a seven show season, an extra show has been added tomorrow night (Monday 24 August 2009). If you see this in time, tickets can be booked here.