You know that sometimes you are wary of revisiting something you immensely enjoyed in case it's not the same the second time around. Well, I wondered about that before but I was enamoured after and for strangely similar reasons. At the first gig by The Thin White Ukes, I was quietly sitting listening to perceptive lyrics in admiration while sunk in a very satisfying interpretation by the band. Given this is Bowie played by 3 mandolins, you could be excused for skepticism, but I found it the same second time around. Perhaps this time even more aware of lyrics, of emotional depth, of intellectual playfulness and evident empathy. I think it was Hello Spaceboy , track 4, set 1, a tune I don't think I'd ever heard before, that rekindled this. Suffice to say this band has a great time playing the original lines on the most improbable of instruments (ukes, of course, not the drums) and laying down harmonies that were sweet and correct and rich and sourced from the originals. Michael confirmed it from the stage: that they play music of Bowie on "instruments seemingly ill-suited to the purpose". As for playing other than Bowie, he introduced a self-penned track written on the bus about admiring Bowie but had a second take. The TWUs played 2 sets, of 9 then 11 tunes, all from Bowie. There were old standards, some funkies, a few that were unrecognised by me (Hello Spaceboy, Everyone says "Hi"). Everyone says "Hi" just confirmed my chats in the break about Bowie and his empathy. The stylophone reappeared in Moonage daydream for a bigger solo this time (wow! jazz! Stylophone!). The band's joy and humour and interactions were there in this intimate space with a very supportive and Bowie-aware audience. The final tunes was The man who sold the world. Bowie spoke of himself often. I'd just caught a snippet of a show on ABCRN recently which spoke of Bowie being lucky to fall on great backing musos. Yes, but. He seems so much more. Given all this I can't think of him as other than a star of considerable depth. One chatter had studied Bowie and called him a genius of the C20th including from all musics. More to think of there, but suffice to say I was not disappointed by my revisit and my admiration for the Duke himself just grows, along with the Ukes, the band that portrays his so well if so implausibly.
The Thin White Ukes play the music of David Bowie, the Thin White Duke. TWUs performed at Smiths. They comprise Michael Dwyer, Better France and Robert Stephen (ukes, vocals) with Ashley Davies (drums).
PS. I just checked how prolific was Bowie. Bowiebible.com lists 469 songs. Just to compare: beatlesbible.com lists 342; bobdylanfandom.com suggests 456 songs; jonimitchell.com suggests 212.