The Ukelele Project’s clear love of making music is deeply refreshing, although, of course, the ukulele would perhaps be the least appropriate instrument to play reluctantly.
This four-piece band performs covers of all sorts of songs, from classical music to pop, on the little instrument whose popularity has rocketed in the last decade. Although one of the two girls was missing when I saw them, three musicians were needed to produce a wall of happy sounds. The lead singers are excellent, and they produce some lovely harmonies on cover versions that are more than simple copies.
The playlist varied from Erik Satie to Radiohead to a Beatles medley. They are well aware of their competition, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and purposefully avoid covering the same material as them, except one Talking Heads song that they love so much that they can’t resist performing it. As they beam smiles at the audience their happiness is infectious, and it helps that they are all very young and good-looking.
They sometimes seem nervous during patter between songs, while tiny instruments need to be tuned, but they have no need to be, as the audience shows their appreciation when asked for occasional participation in Minnie the Moocher, and in one of my favourite John Mayer songs.
The Ukulele Project puts on a great show with an eclectic mix of music. Be warned, though: ome of the seating has almost no legroom, but there are plenty of spaces you can move a chair to.
Underbelly, 5-29 Aug (not 16), 12.45pm