Wednesday, May 14, 2003


"This is a song about...renting a car, filling it with the most expensive petrol you can find, filling it with curry and driving norrrth as fahr as you can.." "This is a song about coming home and finding all your mates dead..." "...from the haaaaarrt..."

So went the in between song chatter of some time Bad Seed, Warren Ellis, leading Melbourne's Dirty Three into the Bush on Monday night. It added an edge to the band which on disc drip melancholia, but perhaps miss drama and some helping of warmth and humanity in their languid music. Apart from adding illumination before each song Ellis dances around the stage half Joe Cocker, half Ian Anderson - a backwards question mark in a black cardigan and floppy black hair, spitting as he danced - bringing forth from his violin wails of beauty and longing. Behind him Jim White is probably the most loose limbed drummer you'll find anywhere. He drips rhythm.

On record, the trio (Mick Turner, guitarist and illustrator for all their album covers, completes the lineup) whilst not stale, certainly come across more flat than they are live. On stage Turner's chord strumming and note picking keeps that fine balance between anarchy and reality, but he's much less up front than when recorded. Guest bassist ("What song d'ya wanna play, Maaarty?") added a bit of depth.

The set went all too quickly, not helped by the atrocious antics of Cat Power, the highly touted supporting act. Cat came on worse for wear. "I'm high on crack and I don't even know it." Yes, dear and your "Don't get mad, Don't get mad." mumblings make us believe that you are on crack. She struggled to get through a number. Even when she managed to recall the sweet noises she makes on disc, she would stumble and finish in mid-tune. After overstaying her welcome (being told her time was up twice), the house lights came up and she was ushered off stage. Cat has been described as "difficult" and "boho". I thought she was just a waste of time. The drugs don't work.

Meanwhile, we forgot about our game of "how many Australian bands can you name" that occupied us beforehand and enjoyed the emotion filled sounds of the Dirty Three. They held it together.

:: Posted by pete @ 13:17