Melbourne Recital Centre, August 2019
Is it just me or is it harder to access new music? Yes, there are exhaustive playlists on Spotify, but sometimes finding the gem you can latch on to is like finding a clear-headed teenager at a Byron Bay Sunday market. Two avenues that filled the void for a while disappeared in a puff of smoke. One of these was the wonderful array of videos that played at the local gym. New favourites were quickly jotted down and eventually made their way to my playlists. Then came a world event that will not be named here that made an excursion to the gym as popular as a ballet performance at a heavy metal concert.
The other source was the wonderful Chit Chat introducing popular and obscure tunes on Max Recommends on MusicMAX, a segment and channel now consigned to history. I believe this is where I was first introduced to I Got Burned by The Bamboos, with Tim Rogers. Before this I had been exposed to The Bamboos and found them consistently listenable without having that one memorable track. Without being a You Am I follower, my appreciation of Tim Rogers started when a musician friend gave me a copy of one of his solo albums as a birthday present.
Graduating from the beer barns of the 1980s to seeing established acts at the more sterile Melbourne Tennis Centre, I was of the view it was time to re-visit a live event. Trying to find a gig that was not dominated by teenagers, I was taken aback that even the middle of the road, Pete Murray, had a line of under-dressed and overly loud youth lining up for his act at The Forum in Melbourne.
Like a bolt of lightning from the heavens, the supplements in the weekend papers had an advertisement for The Bamboos with special guests at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Finally, an act and venue that will surely attract a suitable demographic mix. Assuming that Tim Rogers was one of the special guests and knowing his passion for the North Melbourne Football Club, I used this tenuous link to convince a North Melbourne supporting friend and his son to join me.
The Melbourne Recital Centre is a wonderful complex that had a foyer similar to other theatre venues. Foyers are always great for people watching. The mix of people more than met my aspirations. There were the young and beautiful, the well-dressed theatre set, fashionable tatty-clothed university students and the young and old musicians in either all-black or multi-coloured ensembles. Shuffling to our seats I was fairly confident that this crowd would stay glued to their seats without the need to cause a scene through yelling ‘sit down in front’.
Although a lover of music, my technical knowledge is negligible, but The Bamboos performance appeared to be music in its purest form. Their reputation enhanced by the guest artists they attract. Perhaps it is just me, but Megan Washington always reminds of a slightly nerdy Anne Hathaway. Her performance matched my first introduction to her through the wonderful Spicks And Specks program. Thankfully my mate’s son could explain Urthboy’s back catalogue. An enjoyable ride through a genre that is not generally in my wheelhouse. After the break the appearance of the sitar playing Kumar Shone was as surprising as running into your parents at a nightclub. A special shout out to The Bamboos regular vocalist, Kylie Auldist, a wonderful performer who almost appears to be in shock to be the central figure on stage.
It was getting towards the end of the show when Tim Rogers made his normal, charismatic entrance. Wearing that trademark smirk conveying an image that he is the keeper of a secret joke or had just imbibed in one too many drinks, Tim and the band soon launched into a slightly re-worked version of I Got Burned. Throwing protocol to the wind I even joined the exhibitionists in standing and swaying in something akin to dancing.
Hopefully artists of all persuasions will soon be able to bow and accept applause in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues*.
Stereo Story #613
*The next Stereo Stories gig is set for Sunday afternoon, 14 November, at The Memo Music Hall, St Kilda. Details and tickets via The Memo website.