Comedy fest review: Hairy Soul Man

by Chelsea Hughes

Hairy Soul ManKai Smythe, a Melbourne-based musician, comedian and performer is Hairy Soul Man, a peacock of a performer full of swagger and confidence. Backed by a 7-piece band made up of local talent plus his core crew from Melbourne, Hairy Soul Man is a show that perfectly combines high-calibre musicianship with well-crafted comedy.

I went on opening night, and it’s a damn shame the audience wasn’t bigger because shows like this would flourish with a large crowd, especially in Bodega. The amount of energy being produced by the performers should be matched by the audience, which is nearly impossible with a crowd of 20 people. I say ‘nearly’ because by the end of this wonderful show, Kai had us out of our seats dancing and cheering so loudly it felt like a packed out venue. Ooooh he’s that good. Kai did a great job to connect with the intimate audience, leaving the stage to talk us between songs and dancing with us on the dancefloor.

The show includes entirely original songs (and jokes!), covering a very wide range of topics, from heartbreak to genitals to the tax code. That’s right. Sometimes the songs went on a bit longer than I preferred, but the crowd were certainly digging it, so perhaps that says more about my attention span than about the songs being too long.

At the conclusion of this show, the crowd simply refused to leave. It was amazing. No one left. We all just stood there wanting more. Eventually he returned to the stage and sang an encore. Then after reassuring us there were no more songs to sing, we very reluctantly got up to leave hoping he might have been keeping a few more up his sleeve, but no dice.

I don’t typically listen to soul music so had my reservations about whether I’d enjoy this show. I was seduced, and you should be too. Hairy Soul Man has one more night in Wellington – tonight! The show is also on next week in Auckland at the Comedy Chamber from 15-17 May.

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