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Posts Tagged ‘australian music’

While you face accusations of disloyalty – of being a plastic fan – when leaving a stadium early when your team is being hammered with only minutes to go there are faintly justifiable excuses: the result isn’t going to change; avoiding the traffic; getting back to the baby-sitter.

But is there any justification for leaving a gig early? Bruce couldn’t think of one on Friday night:

“That’s right, guys. He’s saved all his worst songs for last,” he suggested to the trickle of people abandoning ship midway through the encore.

Still, it was a mere bagatelle for in those previous two hours the Aussie Bob Dylan had delivered a masterful run through his back catalogue. Initial fears that the $80 tickets had bought an evening of muffled sound in the Palais’ upper deck proved unfounded once the fug of Nothing On My Mind cleared and the band’s sound crystallised.

Set among the opulence of the old theatre, Paul Kelly’s restrained set up – the only nod to extravagance the rug on which he alternately meandered, swung his guitar and indulged in bouts of dad-dancing – allowed the music to take centre stage.

“We’re going all over the place tonight,” he annouced early on.

With a canon that switched from some of Australia’s best loved pop songs to moments of tender country heartbreak, it’s a promise he can easily keep. Dumb Things is dropped early in the set, encouraging the first audience roar of the night and much foot-tapping, before the pace slows for When I First Met Your Ma.

What is soon apparent is not just the quality of the songwriting, but the strength of his voice; often employed simply as a spoken word tool, it’s in a live arena – especially one of this scale – that his power to soar is revealed. Complemented by a tight band and his impeccable harmonica skills the music switches from gentle picking through blues and gospel to iconic singles such as Before Too Long and To Her Door. His innate humility even allows Kelly to get away with the likes of You’re 39, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine, a song one could easily imagine being sung – and massacred – by Chris De Burgh.

There are two moments of pure spine-tingling magic, when the stage is cleared to allow perfect, stripped down renditions of If I Could Start Today Again and, in particular, They Thought I Was Asleep. Not a sound was heard from the spellbound sellout crowd through either.

Running them close was Everything’s Turned To White, the story of the fishermen and the dead woman’s body. Written from a woman’s perspective, here it was also sung by a woman, with Kelly’s co-vocalist’s powerful rendition allowing Bruce to overlook the fact it looked like she had just wandered in from an early 80s aerobics class for roly-polys.

There was no room for From Little Things, Big Things Grow (so thanks to Kev Carmody for performing it at the Corner two weeks earlier) but Leaps and Bounds made an unexpected appearance in the first encore before Winter Coat brought the second encore to an epic close. Throughout there was a feeling of timelessness; by never following, mimicking or succumbing to trends he remains always outside of them.

All that remained was for the final encore and From St Kilda To King’s Cross. Bruce, Fran and friends had even braved the cold for a bottle of wine outside on the (finally constructed) promenade before heading to the Palais purely in preparation for this moment. But it never came. The lights went up, Kelly was gone and it was up to Fran to perform the song herself as she left the theatre.

It was a shame, but it’s OK: he probably wanted to avoid the traffic or had a babysitter on overtime.

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Rather belatedly, an explanation of why G’day, G’day is called G’day, G’day.

Shortly after touching down at Tullamarine, Bruce and Fran were introduced to this delightful number by Slim Dusty, the late Aussie legend whose hefty back catalogue Bruce had to endure while mustering cattle outside Alice Springs back in the day.

As a potted introduction to the traditional ideals of Aussie-ness it’s as good as any…

Isn’t it great to be an Aussie
Takin’ a walk along the street
Lookin’ in shops or buyin’ a paper
Stoppin’ and havin’ a yarn with people that you meet.

Down at the pub or at a party
Whenever you’re stuck for what to say
If you wanna be dinky-di, why don’t you give it a try
Look ’em right in the eye and say ‘G’day’.”

Now to get to work on the Slim Dusty / Shady mash-up…

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The real Hoods

The real Hoods

 

Thoroughness, efficiency and politeness are not traits commonly associated with hip hop artists. So, to the Hilltop Hoods, Bruce doffs his cap.

Having once had a chuckle at their expense and suffered a barrage of bewildered indignation from their fans, including fellow Adelaidian Mickey D (“What!?! Are you slagging the Hilltop Hoods? Right, sit down and listen to this…”), he has now been contacted by their manager.

Apparently, the image used last time out was not the Hoods, but Bliss and Eso; a lesson in not placing too much faith in Google…

Given Bruce likened the Hoods to Vanilla Ice, he could have expected some abuse. Instead this:

“Thanks for the prompt reply & there’s no need for an apology as it was a simple mistake (not made by you, for that matter) that has caused a domino effect across the web…

Thanks for your cooperation & let’s hope we can swing you across to the ‘dark side’ & get you into Aussie Hip Hop & more in particlular, Hilltop Hoods music.”

Not only that, within 24 hours another fan had pointed out the error and also sang the praises of the Hoods and Bliss and Eso.

So, Hilltop Hoods – Aussie hip hoppers, gentlemen and inspirers of deep devotion – Bruce stands corrected. What A Great Night! still makes him laugh, though, and not necessarily for the right reasons, but perhaps the ‘dark side’ has moved a step closer.

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