Andy Bull, Adrian Deutsch @ The Toff, Melbourne (12/09/09)
After shows in both Sydney and Adelaide, Andy Bull’s national tour for his debut album, We’re Too Young, arrived in Melbourne for a sold out show at The Toff in Town. The successful year that was 2008 for Andy Bull, included support slots for Duffy, Joss Stone, Donavon Frankenreiter and Little Red, as well as being signed to Island Records late last year. Known for his upbeat melodic pop tunes and his unique voice, 23 year old singer, songwriter and piano player, Andy Bull, has managed to cement his place within the Australian music industry, gaining much support and respect along the way.
Adrian Deutsch opened the show with his alternative-country-pop fusion, performing the first few tracks The Village and The Arms of America solo. The effectiveness of playing these with just voice and guitar was evident as it demanded the audience’s attention from the very beginning. His experiences gained throughout his time with Sydney band Red Riders was noticeable through the set, with Adrian comfortably conversing with the crowd and ensuring a balanced set. Even at one point, asking the crowd if we were – “okay with a ballad’. The mix of more rock tracks accompanied by a band and slower songs in Sweet Indifference and Easy Life gave the audience an insight into the diversity of his forthcoming debut album, Help You!. Ending with better known track, The Partisan and album track Help You, Adrian set the atmosphere perfectly and it was clear why he would have been the choice for this support.
When the time had come for Andy Bull to ascend the stage, the room was now packed with people, even including underground music nobility such as, Melbourne wunderkinds Little Red and Dash & Will. Andy’s form of – “blue eyed soul’ mixed with a jazz and melodic pop feel has its foundations in the piano. In an industry dominated by guitars, Andy’s approach shines a light on a genre which is sometimes overlooked and an area that he is currently redefining. Backed by a band which included a horn section, Andy opened the set quite appropriately, with album opener, We’re Too Young displaying both his singing ability and piano skills from the very beginning, demanding attention and receiving it, from a very eager audience.
His performance followed on with a better known single, Young Man which had the audience members singing along. Andy constantly conversed with the audience, laughing and joking around, ensuring all felt involved throughout the show. Andy explained to the audience, the meaning behind some of his songs, particularly for upbeat album track, She’s A Ghost, which he told us the origins of the track lay in a previous relationship which ended with the girl in question continuing to haunt both his thoughts and his dreams. Andy is to be credited on this aspect of his show, particularly because this exploration of songs seems to have been lost in the live shows of today.
Following the course of the album, Small Town Girl, Andy’s most successful and best known single, was one of the highlights of the night, with the crowd participation at its highest. This did not mean, however, that any other songs were received in a less eager manner.
He continued with One Thing You Should Know and short track Girls, both displaying the diversity present throughout his music. The band then briefly left the stage for what was to be another highlight of the evening, a couple of songs sung with just Andy and the piano. My, My, My, a brand new song which Andy explained was about his late father, the man who is almost solely responsible for Andy’s passion and desire for music. With any luck, this song which received such an emotional and positive response from the crowd will appear on his next album.
In order to – “cover his back’, Andy let the crowd choose one of three covers for him to perform. MGMT’s Electric Feel was victorious, and his more jazz style version of this dance song, did not disappoint. In continuing with the album, Do You Recall and Go Outside had audience members up and dancing with their driving piano lines and charging drums. Slower track Grown Folks and new song Rich Man finished off a set which was as equally diverse as it was brilliant. Andy had hoped to play more songs but unfortunately due to venue restrictions, had to prematurely end the set. Despite this, Andy provided an excellent evening of music which it was obviously enjoyed by all.
Andy Bull’s obvious talent for music is something so rarely found in the music industry. Both his singing and song writing talents, alongside his piano skills are so rarely found. His charisma and stage presence also contribute to making the live experience of Andy Bull one which is both uniquely refreshing, and enjoyable for those in the audience. From the success of his debut album and the energy and raw emotion which go into his live shows, it is incredibly easy to realise why this 23 year old is such an asset to the Australian music industry and to music in general.