The Showhawk Duo consists of guitar players Mikhail Asanovic and Jake Wright. They started out busking, but appearing on Nick Grimshaw’s Breakfast Show on BBC Radio1, on BBC Radio Bristol, and doing a set for the LAD Bible led to them playing at music festivals including Bestival, Glastonbury (Main Stage), Isle of Wight, and Secret Garden Party.
Starting in 2015, Showhawk has toured the UK, often selling out shows, including on the Edinburgh Fringe. They have played in Singapore, Seychelles, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and had a residency at Pacha in Ibiza. While the duo specialise in covers of dance music, The Music Man followers are sure to love Bohemian Rhapsody at 16.00.
What a version of the Queen classic! The Showhawk Duo not only play the guitar parts, but they somehow evoke Freddie Mercury’s phrasing on their instruments, without singing a word. Such is their skill, that the entire set is a delight, even for those with no interest in electronic music. The Showhawk Duo does not play popular trance tracks or modern house, they reimagine them in a way that transcends the distinction between acoustic and electronic music. They are an act that breaks boundaries.
A particularly interesting track is Showhawks’ cover of DJ Tiesto’s 1990s trance take on Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings (at 7.42). The way Mikhail Asanovic plays his guitar parts brings out the classical music origins of DJ Tiesto’s dance track while Jake Wright’s more rhythmic approach gets the audience clapping along. Conceivably, music fans who are partial to neither trance nor classical music might appreciate Showhawks’ innovative version.
In general, Jake Wright, seated on the viewer’s right in the Showhawk video above, holds down the rhythm, often tapping the body of his acoustic guitar and using it as a percussion instrument. Mikhail Asanovic tends to play the more intricate parts, having studied at The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Both guitarists frequently tap their feet as they play. They clearly enjoy playing together, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Just look at the audience. Many of the listeners look as if they would run a mile from rave music, but they happily nod and sometimes even clap along.
As they say in the video, Showhawk delights in taking the listener by surprise by playing unusual versions of songs that one would not expect to form part of a guitar duo’s repertoire. Do yourself a favour and set aside any prejudices you might have against electronic music or guitar duos. The music of Showhawk is unexpectedly beguiling and despite being, in the words of sun13banjo, an “unassuming couple of lads who you could pass on the street almost without noticing,” Jake Wright and Mikhail Asanovic are consummate musicians and entertainers who have grown a large, diverse, and loyal following.
The full tracklist of the Showhawk TEDxKlagenfurt set is Insomnia originally by Faithless (01:53), Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation (03:30), Darude’s Sandstorm (04:20), DJ Tiesto’s take on Adagio for strings (07:42), The Jack Holiday remix of Robert Miles’s Children (10:47), ATB’s 9pm Till I Come (12:45) and, finally, the stunning, crowd-pleasing reconfiguration of Bohemian Rhapsody (16:00).