David McCormack, Edward Guglielmino and The Show @ The Troubadour, Brisbane (17/4/10)
Buffalo Brown opened the night with a heart-felt homage to all things Bob Dylan. Lead singer John Brown all but emulated his obvious hero in all elements, with a honky-tonk piano rounding out the driving acoustic feel. While generally upbeat, the songs meander and thread along a typical blues rock vibe, indicative of the spontaneous concept-style song-writing spouted in their bio. But it’s the slower, more maudlin set closers which spark a deeper interest and hark back to the smokey blues rooms and gin joints of yesteryear.
Taking a break from the duet work, Texas Tea’s Kate Jacobson braved the stage with a thin acoustic guitar and her almost Tammy Wynette twang which seemed to waft like cigar exhalations over the seated gathering. With a fresh album under wing to promote (a vinyl, no less!), Texas Tea numbers featured heavily, a highlight being Billy from The Junkship Recordings. Things seemed a little off-kilter, however, with almost ad nauseum apologies for the slower songs grating slightly towards the finale: a Patsy Cline cover.
Edward Guglielmino continued staking his claim as the natural successor of the quirky, clever guitar-pop crown for which Brisbane has become famous. He’s got the book smart looks, the enigmatic obfuscation of his bio, the delicious pop hooks with hints of piss-taking, and now with the band The Show he has one of the sexiest promo postcards on the all important cafe counter marketplace. It was the delicious pop hooks, however, which relegated the rest of the attributes to mere side shows as he rumbled through at times chaotic, seemingly unrehearsed music-as-art song craft which glimpsed just enough beauty to send a heart a-fluttering. From a muffled drum intro, the appreciative mix of AM radio pop and crunched up yacht-rock was simply divine – Caught In A Landslide’s dreamy guitar twang was a highlight.
If Guglielmino really was gunning for that quirky and clever crown, then it was David McCormack who should have graciously handed it over while he basked in his 10-album career by rolling in his oodles of accolades and critical acclaim. Alas for Guglielmino, David decided to release his 5-star magnum opus Little Murders and has begun re-taking the indie music world by storm one summery pop hit at a time. With just a guitar, a microphone and his trademark mock-naive persona, McCormack snorted at rock n roll tradition and kicked off the gig with old-school Alone from Custard’s Wahooti Fandango before going anywhere near his new material. Under My Thumb and Hide Me Out were interesting in the stripped back arrangement, but they did miss the heart-meltingly sweet pop sheen which highlighted these songs like beacons in the full band mode. “Stripped back arrangement” was somewhat of a misnomer in this sense, however, as it implied an element of intentional reinvention; it was clearly not the case as the theatrical band leader drew undue attention and focus on the missing keyboard solos which generally lifted these numbers. Multiple times, in fact, until the running gag of the night became missing keyboardist Cam and his seemingly integral input to the live shows.
Half a dozen songs in stripped back mode wandered by before brother *Dylan McCormack *and Nick Naughton (both scene stalwarts and members of Gentle Ben and His Sensitive Side) added bass and drums respectively to the mix. By this stage, a local wedding party had joined the cramped Troubadour innards to witness a best-of run through peppered with new stuff, old stuff and newer old stuff – namely The Titanics’ Millionaire Adventurer Balloonist and The Polaroid’s Ex Boyfriend. A monumental and almost schizophrenic end of set run saw Caboolture Speed Lab and A.V.O. get trumped by Ben Corbett (Gentle Ben himself) running on stage for a garaged-up version of The Go Between’s Was There Anything I Could Do?
As if he need to, an encore of Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us) and a beautiful version of White Town’s 1997 hit (and only one, at that) I Could Never Be Your Woman, cemented Mr McCormack’s rightful position as king of all indie pop within these hallowed streets; and for some time to come. Sorry Ed.