Date: December 13, 2008
Venue: The Old Museum, Brisbane
Acts: The Gin Club, Clinkerfield, The Aerial Maps, Texas Tea, Jacob S Harris
Built in 1891 to enable the city of Brisbane to host a world exposition, but named after it’s decades-long stint as the city’s museum, The Old Museum tonight plays host to The Gin Club’s Christmas bash. The Ginners have assembled no less than four support slots, and an early start means I miss Jacob S Harris, who performed so well at the Globe just last month.
In fact, I only just catch the start of the Texas Tea set. The local duo are in fine fettle, even if the rarified concert hall atmosphere lends an irritating touch of reverb to their mellow country tune. Many of the tunes are drawn from Junkship, which is all to the good. I’m a little disappointed that they skip the dirge-like Ferry Song, but a remarkable rendition of the Ronny Shannon-penned, Aretha Franklin-performed Never Loved A Man more than makes up for it.
The Aerial Maps appears soon after with a totally different spin. The tunes are minimalistic, repetitive things that waver between cute guitar folksiness and dark synth moodiness. But the tunes are really a vehicle and mood heightener for the poetry of nominal frontman Adam Gibson. And it works astonishingly well. Gibson’s delivery is impeccably paced; the phrasing, pauses and intonation drawing the audience in while he crafts stories that hook into the essence of being Australian. Some people have been saying “next Paul Kelly”, and that’s one of the comparisons that popped into my head after about five minutes. On The Punt, in particular, brings me as close to tears as anything has in years. Live, it’s that enthralling. Go check them out.
Clinkerfield on the other hand, despite an energetic stage act, just don’t grab me at all. This seems a shame, because there’s certainly a lot of passion and endeavour coming from their hyperactive frontman.
Local yokels The Gin Club come out of the blocks with a bang: some of the most powerful tunes from the highly regarded Junk appear within the first half a dozen songs of the set. I had hoped we would be graced with delightful shanty Abigail this evening, but it never appeared. Still, Already Gone, Ten Paces, Gas Guzzler and Company Calls are all great as the band-members swap instruments back and forth with mind-boggling regularity. By this time, the crowd is pressed close against the stage, and things get rowdy as the night draws to a close. Santa makes an appearance to hand out gift, we get both Wylde Bitch and Drugflowers, then the band returns to encore with a singalong version of Older Women, Younger Men. Super night. Absolutely super.