Sympathetic Stupid

Friday, January 27, 2006

Three Gigs And A Politics

Last week's list of interesting and remarkable voices (Oliver Mann, Jimmy Clinkerfield, CocoRosie) was finished off with Antony and the Johnsons at Hamer Hall. I'm told he's Elton John for the new millennium, and as the charismatic, lyrical entertainer dominating the room from behind the piano the similarities are obvious. (A nice surprise to find that Antony's talkative and likeable on stage.) But where Elton's performances are bombastic, theatrical and hook-driven, Antony's are a subdued sea of emotion. He and his gang of six never strayed too far from the record, but despite being at the end of a year of touring, gave a good, professional performance, to a full house of about 2400.

As for CocoRosie, Elanor's the one to listen to on that.

Khancoban have taken off again for 006, with a pair of gigs last week. First up was a double set at The Retreat, with a fairly disinterested audience fixated mostly on their parmas and important conversations about a three-bedroom in the Brickworks compared to a two-bedroom in Collingwood. So it was a tough room not especially conducive to the Khancoban brand of quiet alt-folk. They played everything, as expected in a long two sets, even throwing in a couple of covers - of Echo and the Bunnymen and Tom Waits (with Andrew and Jason doing some pretty impressive backing vocals). But, honestly, there aren't quite enough killers in the catalogue at this point to sustain interest for two whole sets. But a little more variety and a little more 'bop', to replace a couple of the more anonymous tracks, is all that's required.

The next night was Australia Day Eve at the Old Bar, with Clinkerfield. This was better for being shorter and more refined, and there was a more respectful atmosphere (also more drunk people), despite the uniformly poor sound quality. My highlight, unsurprisingly, was the epic crescendo of Such A Big Sky, but the whole set worked well.

Then a monster set from Clinkerfield, complete with cello. Almost two hours, containing all your favourites, including a block of (I think) three covers in the middle, the best of which was Matty's rendition of Daydream Believer with the whole venue singing along. It was fucking hot, though.

The politics? Elanor (again) said it better than I could, so this should be read.