The Drinkwater Brothers

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The Drinkwater Brothers

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, February 23, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

The Drinkwater Brothers

The Drinkwater Brothers (Matt and John) have done it again; they show up at a classic venue and rocked the socks off of a packed house. Their hard work has paid off, and while their latest venture into the musical scene was very similar to their first stop at The Duplex, they did build on their previous performance. This time they applied their adroit study of music to the foundations of rock. By linking their songs together as the foundations of contemporary rock, they were able to create a clear theme for their show. Although the boyish charm didn’t land with all their jests, the theme guided their banter. Overall, their set list was strong and the jokes strong enough.

Matt pulled out a number of instruments during the evening, expanding his portfolio of tricks. He handled the cajón, piano, and drums along with taking lead vocals for a few songs, including a performance of the classic Led Zeppelin hit, “Stairway to Heaven.” John sported a clean-cut look and a few new songs. The highlight of these was the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” I can’t get enough of the lines, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste.” The duo played these back to back to represent the classic rock era’ similarly, they combined Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” (sung by John) and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” (sung by Matt) to represent the sowing of the seeds of rock. This stellar quartet of songs, they performed each well save possibly for John’s attempts at recreating Presley’s knee moves. Those could use work.

Also highlighting the show were the return performances of special guests, Sammy Quinn, Sophia Tzougros, and Bailey Claffey. While Matt played either the piano or drums and John strummed the guitar, the three singers each sang their own medley, the arrangements of which left a little to be desired. Probably the eeriest and most stirring, however, was Quinn’s performance of “Woodstock” (Joni Mitchell) for the first half of her medley.

A clever tribute to Mitchell, it showed off Quinn’s unique sound. Tzougros later got the blood pumping with her choice of “Barracuda” by the band Heart, which continued to represent rock’s female component. Claffey finished off the show with stunning clarity, especially in her high notes, for a Fleetwood Mac medley of “Rhiannon” and “Dreams,” mesmerizing us with the line, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining.”

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see