Mr Boogie Man Bar
Melbourne, 24 November, 2016
Russell Brand once described his friend, Amy Winehouse as an oddly dainty presence with a voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine.
The early and somewhat anticipated death of the doomed Amy Winehouse in 2011 has given birth to a veritable industry of tribute, all of which attempt to re-examine and deconstruct the essence of this immensely talented and fragile musical genius through a variety of media.
Déborrah Moogy Morgan is a dyed in the wool Winehouse fan and herself, a singer/songwriter of growing repute. Born in Brussels and currently based in Melbourne, Moogy (as she is affectionately known to her legion of fans) attempts to dissect the mesmerising appeal of Winehouse in song and narrative with a back line comprised of some of Australia’s finest musicians.
Originally conceived as a one off performance for last year’s Melbourne Festival, and finding herself with some time on her hands following her recent guest appearance with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Moogy has bowed to popular demand and will present encore performances of her Moogy presents Amy Winehouse show at a few select venues around Australia this summer.
Her warm up show at Mr Boogie Man in Abbotsford last Thursday was a well-attended and joyful celebration of Amy Winehouse’s considerable musical legacy and bolshy Camden charm featuring Davey Porter on percussion and Chris Wilson on piano.
Moogy, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amy Winehouse when made up in, back-combed barnet, thick mascara and transfer tattoos, was in fine voice replicating not only the nuances and inflections of Winehouse’s deeply expressive contralto vocal style, but also her posture and attitude. Frequently swigging from a Vodka bottle (containing water) she introduces each song with a story lifted from Amy Winehouse’s biography, each of which denote brief pauses on her dazzling trajectory to cultural prominence followed by her tragic decline into an abyss of addiction, destructive personal relationships and bulimia.
Her performance though is far from morbid and the emphasis is light hearted and firmly focussed on the visceral joy to be discovered in Amy Winehouse’s songs, however sad the subject matter which inspired her to write them.
Moogy says she considers Winehouse’s music and live performance to be two of the most important elements to be emphasised when re-examining a persona whose striking talent was eroded by tabloid tittle tattle and trivial drama.
It is unlikely we will see the likes of Amy Winehouse again, neither the rolling, wondrous resonance of her voice, nor the peculiar vulnerability she concealed beneath her mouthy Camden Town charm. Moogy’s Amy Winehouse brings us closer to this brilliant star now sadly burnt out over a distant horizon and does so in an engaging, memorable and competent performance.
Photos: Christopher Rimmer