Review: Mexrrissey at the Riverbank Palais

Words by Matthew Hayward

The links between the vibrant ranchera culture of Mexico and the maudlin songbook of one Steven Patrick Morrissey might seem on paper like strange bedfellows at first, however the pop culture clash of Mexrrissey proved to be a surprise crossover hit of this year's Adelaide Festival program.

Held in the lavish reconstruction of the Riverbank Palais, Mexrrissey burst onto the stage in a celebratory fashion. Introducing the band as a collection of the finest musicians curated by Mexico City DJ Camilo Lara; the group treated the crowd to an eclectic back catalogue of The Smiths and Morrissey's underrated solo works.

The band were effortlessly cool and engaging as they tore through a collection of Moz's finest songs including 'Novia En Coma (Girlfriend In A Coma)' and 'Cada Dia Es Domingo (Everyday Is Like Sunday)'. Humorously riffing off the language barrier between themselves and the audience, the band captured the irony and tongue in cheek pathos of the music and indulged in the goodwill shown to them by the audience to get into the spirit of the party.

Over the course of the evening Mexrrissey seamlessly reinterpreted the works of Manchester's last dandy, providing a fresh and joyous take of the bard's work whilst utilising the traditional instrumentation of the Mariachi. A music movement customarily based around emotive storytelling, it was strangely fitting to hear the band belt out the wounded masculinity of 'Estuvo Bien (Suedehead)' with gusto.

Without coming off as being too idealistic, the Adelaide Festival team should really be commended for their music choices this time round.  The unstoppable energy and mass appeal of Mexrrissey reminds us that pop music really can act as a universal language - especially when we're all in on the same joke.

This weekend is your last chance to party on Adelaide Festival's Riverbank Palais.

Tickets and info here.