Andy Callison Project @ Rosemount Hotel, Perth (30/7/2007)

Stopping for one last local gig before embarking on a tour of the US, The Andy Callison Project rocked the Rosemount Monday night, delighting true fans, and those paying attention with their flawless performance of the songs off their self produced, Black Fingernails, Red Wine album and a couple of oldies for good measure.

There was a feeling of bemused disbelief among many of the patrons as The Andy Callison Project took the stage and began with Beating Like a Drum, and thanking Eskimo Joe for the loan of the equipment. They looked like the Eskies, and sounded like them, but there was no merch, and no screaming underage fans. Three songs in however, there was no doubt that this was going to be a rare treat, and the crowd settled in to enjoy it.

A slight technical hitch was adeptly covered by a fascinating tale of how Kav Temperley was inspired to write Black Fingernails, Red Wine when visiting the filthy Rosemount toilets during a previous gig. Adeptly covered that is, until Joel Quartermain pointed out that the next song was in fact going to be London Bombs. Ever comfortable with the crowd, they made a few jokes, and launched into an exceptional rendition of aforementioned song. When they reached Fingernails on the setlist, he repeated the story minus gory details, much to the relief of the Rosemount cleaning staff.

There were plenty of scarves evident in the medium-sized crowd, who stood rapturously at the stage grateful to be able to see the Freo boys one last time before they go off to share their talents with the world. There wasn’t a lot of dancing, but the grins illustrated how glad everyone was to be a part of a privileged few who were able to see a massive band for a meager $15. If it weren’t for the price of the drinks, it might have been a private lounge-room show.

By far and away the stand-out track of the night was I’m So Tired, where Quartermain put down his guitar and showed off his multi-instrumental skills. Firstly by playing a keyboard duet with Lee Jones (Spencer Tracy, The Sleepy Jackson, Astronaut) from the wrong side of the keys, and then picking up a second set of drumsticks and joining Shaun Sibbes for an energetic and infinitely danceable drumming display.

Judging by the number of over 50s, the distinctive noses, and the fact that many of them watched attentively and appreciatively without feeling the need to clap and scream wildly; the band’s family and friends made up a good proportion of the audience as well.

At least one fan left disappointed after requesting at the top of her lungs that they “Play Sweater!” a request that was not obliged. It is not surprising; they have come a long way since that early release, both in performance and composition. Although the oldies will remain favourites for their earliest fans, it is likely that they will only ever be dredged up for the home crowds, while the overseas market is treated to a more mature selection.

They will be in the US for the next month and will doubtless be as well loved abroad, as they are at home.