Curtis Eller brings high-energy banjo playing to The Adelphi

Published: Thursday 31st August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Curtis Eller’s American Circus is coming to The New Adelphi Club this evening. We spoke with the eccentric banjo player to find out more.

Born in Detroit, Curtis began his show business career as a juggler and acrobat. He then fast became ‘New York’s angriest yodelling banjo player’ after a career-transforming show at one of the local bars. He rose to fame, appearing in beer halls, burlesque clubs and underground theatres. He is now a celebrated banjo player, songwriter and rock and roll singer.

“I’ve been playing the banjo pretty much all of my life,” Curtis recalls.

Over the years, there have been several line-ups of Curtis Eller’s American Circus and they are always looking out for new artists to join their vibrant ensemble. The current members include Bradley Blackwell and Kai West on bass, Matthew Rheeston on drums and Charlie Tophill providing harmony vocals. Meanwhile, Curtis offers distinctive lead vocals and his renowned banjo.

“At the Adelphi, we’ll have a five-piece rock and roll band. Our saxophone player is a new addition to the group,” Curtis tells us.

Eller reflects heavily on American politics and history in his songwriting and has no problem commenting on controversial affairs past and present.

“Lyrically, there are a lot of historical references,” he expands.

During the show, you will be able to hear Curtis singing about Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Joe Louis and some Civil War generals. In the meantime, the group’s recent release, “How to Make it in Hollywood”, is an eclectic mix of glittery show tunes, tear-jerking ballads and a bit of good old-fashioned rock and roll.

Sound-wise, Eller draws heavy influence from the early twentieth century, including the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Nevertheless, there is also a heavy dosage of rock and folk thrown in there, giving the music a contemporary and fresh feel.

“People who have seen us before will know that it’s quite a physically aggressive show. We do a lot of leaping about,” he explains.

The New Adelphi is the perfect venue for this unconventional collective. The iconic club has been hosting internationally-acclaimed bandd as well as local talent for over three decades. It is self-dubbed as The Underground Music Capital of Hull, a great fit for Curtis Eller’s magical, high-energy performance.

The Hull venue is certainly one of the more typical spots that Curtis and his band have performed. They have also appeared at a number of funerals, horse races and alongside strippers, contortionists and glass eaters.

This time they will share a stage with local talent The Dyr Sister, a multi-instrumentalist who performs enchanting and ethereal folk songs. Sally Currie is a one-woman band who hops between a number of intriguing genres, including trip hop and dubstep. Beforehand, Sarah Shiels and her band will bring rich blues vocals and psychedelic folk to warm up the Adelphi audience as part of an epic event.

Curtis Eller’s American Circus performs at The New Adelphi Club this evening. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are £10 in advance. For more information, please visit The New Adelphi Club website.

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Published: Thursday 31st August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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