Andy Bull, Wim @ The Annandale, Sydney (4/12/11)

The Andy Bull show at the Annandale Hotel proved to be near five hours of amazing music. Also performing on the day were Slow Down Honey, Mrs Bishop, Rufus and WIM. The Annandale Hotel was an amazing venue to host an amazing pick of Australian music; it’s old pub vibe supporting the traditional idea of pub music showing the best of what Australia has to offer.

Slow Down Honey came on at twelve-fifteen, the first opening to the day, and it was honestly a shame there were not more people there for their set. The six people in the band have enthusiasm in its drives and are all dedicated to the music. Playing songs such as Move Fast and Do It, a song about murdering your partner, they moved through their set while chatting and overall seeming happy and comfortable on stage. The just over thirty minute set deserved attention with catchy hooks and melodies; everyone who was there certainly enjoyed it.

Mrs Bishop has to be described as something close to folk-rock; their music has an ethereal quality to it but also a rock-like drum presence. On stage was simply a guitar, keyboard and drums with a laptop for pre-recorded tracks and percussion. A cover of The Hives Hate To Say I Told You So bought some cheers from the crowd and was a standout of the day. Their EP is out in March and is definitely worth checking out. Their single, Broken Wings (out in February), was a surprising counterpoint in the set with a strong drum track, a different tone than the rest of the set.

After a wait for technical difficulties, Rufus finally made it on stage. The band has made a name for itself for the unique way it handles music and that was very evident. The set was a mash of rock, techno and indie instruments and sounds. It is interesting to hear but a longer set would have been good to hear. The lead singer had a great voice but needed some more strength to the higher notes. The Annandale was up to about 30 people at this point and everyone looked to be having a good time listening to the band and enjoying songs such as Paris Collides and We Left, the closing track.

Up straight before Andy Bull, WIM came on stage. Immediately they proved themselves interesting as the guitarist began the show playing with a violin bow. This provides an echoing and haunting sound that proved a great opening. The acoustics of the hotel had every beat and bass line echoing and moving everyone in the place. Their songs were great and fun to hear but were better not sung in falsetto, the set also lacked any form of communication with the audience aside from attempts by the keyboardist. Their music is mellow with a reminiscent sound that you can’t help but be captured by though and it proved to be a pretty-good set.

On stage just after was the man of the day, Andy Bull. The crowd had been slowly growing and by the time Andy and his band were ready to start, there was about sixty people crowding around the bar. Sitting, standing and lying down the crowd was happy and ready for the band to begin and a cheer arose when he began. Moving through the first two songs nothing else seemed relevant but the band and music on stage. The voice of Andy Bull is mesmerising; and draws all attention in the room to the music being played.

A song that the band was happy to draw attention to and joke about was the single Dog which was played on triple j’s Hottest 100 at number sixty-eight. It is a great song and the skill of these guys is spot on. Bull’s absolute comfort on stage bought thought provoking and funny banter and a strong connection with the crowd. The whole band was joking with each other and with the people in the audience; another plus of the Annandale is the immediate connection between artist and listener, with no barrier and a bar set-up.

The fact the show was an all-ages event was bought up a few times in jest and We’re Too Young, a song off the same-named album, was dedicated to those in the crowd who for once, were not too young. An excellent cover in the set was Tears for Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World, which the band has performed for triple j’s Like A Version.

Overall the show was long and filled with amazing talent. Andy Bull was, of course, the stand out of the day and bought everything and more to the stage. The show maintained a fun and comfortable atmosphere that is only possible in a venue like the Annandale and really showed that Australia’s pub rock talent can still be found in the old venues.