Khancoban, Ruby for Lucy, Nic Dalton @ The Front, Lyneham (04/9/2010)

The Front made for the perfect snug and cozy retreat on an acerbic Saturday evening that was blemished with harsh and desolate weather. Under the warm and comforting lighting and gentle timber colours a swirling laid back fusion of blues and roots and everything in between was dished by Melbournian band Khancoban.

Splashing through puddles and heroically traversing through an almost neo-noir landscape peppered by the bitter wind, a healthy turn out took refuge in the heavenly warmth and tranquility of Lyneham’s favorite café for the night’s entre; the chilled out tunes of Nic Dalton. A soft, melodic and upbeat blend of rustic bluegrass, folk and rock, Dalton eased the minds of his audience (perhaps worrying that one’s car might fall victim to a rogue tree branch) and entertained with a light hearted set. Switching instruments provided a varied and interesting performance, ranging from the fragile yet beautiful chiming of the mandolin to the sustained drawl of a steel-stringed acoustic. A cheerful and bright Nic Dalton finished his performance to an appreciative and laid back audience, who gratefully thanked him for his music, sunk into the collage of couches and armchairs.

Sydney duo Ruby for Lucy promptly took to the stage (figuratively speaking) with a heart warming and intricate yet minimalist performance. The overlapping and tidal surging of the two guitars knitted a sparse web to which the breathy, waify vocals gracefully mingled throughout, resulting in a beautiful tapestry of aural patchwork. Taking a cheerful and relaxed approach to their music, the two members of Ruby for Lucy talked and regaled their audience with brief anecdotes that served as a warm and enjoyable segue between songs. Upbeat pop lyricism trickled through the duo’s performance; (“one day all the pretty girls who I went to school with fell down a hole”), which made for a light hearted but tonally beautiful performance.

Khancoban took where their opening acts left off with a comforting blend of soft and warm music that soothed the senses in spite of the vicious weather. Sharing their name with the sleepy town snuggled up in the mountains near the New South Wales/Victorian border, Khancoban’s blend of country-western tinged blues and roots smeared across an indie/shoegaze landscape, that conjured the colours and hues of the township’s landscape; the smoky greys and flaxen greens of eucalyptus and the mottled moss-spotted mosaic of granite. The gentle slipping and sliding of the lap-steel’s strings trickled across the bare-bones support of the drums and keys to install a rustic framework that seemed to counteract the frantic gushes of wind outside. The ringing chords that chimed across this sonic portrait in addition to pensive vocals furthered the synergistic effect that was brushed across the walls of the room. An enraptured audience accompanied Khancoban on this journey that unfortunately ended too soon.

Although the wind still threw its adolescent tantrum after the final notes faded into its obstinate howling, the beautiful music on display provided the privileged few who gathered at the Front the perfect antidote to such unwelcome weather.