Jan 11, 2009

Bill Callahan @ Famous Spiegeltent

Ferocious. Powerful. Dramatic. Dark. Not normally the adjectives for a Bill Callahan show. But Sunday night at the Famous Spiegeltent they were surely appropriate. Bill is here for a slew of shows for the Sydney Festival and he was great. Just great. But different. Previously he has appeared as the stoic, quietly spoken soft man. Songs of quiet power. Well, he is still stoic. Bill is not a talker. But his music was direct and powerful, a statement. A strong statement. Delivered with the surety of a master.

He opened with a few older numbers. "River Guard" was long and languid, whilst Bathysphere was storming and loud. Then "Vessel In Vain" blew me away. It twisted and turned, it was layered and textured. Fantastic. Then he played a couple of 'Bill' songs including the toe tapping "Diamond Dancer". Then he gave us two unreleased songs (titles are guessed at). "I Did Not Let Go" was long and complex, dark and deliberate. Then "Gone Billie" was even better. Trust me, the new album is going to be good. These songs also highlighted the powers of his impressive players. Jim White, Mick Turner. Well, we know how could they are. White, in particular, is a marvel. Surely an icon amongst Australian drummers. I have never seen a better one. His drumming is taut, forceful and so very textured. Every drum roll and kick is perfectly delivered. Bill then moved into overdrive, with a slew of classics. The greatness of "Say Valley Maker" was only bettered by the epic closer in "Let Me See The Colts". It was not only Bill the great singer, but Bill the jam band man. Surely, a night to be reckoned with.

Set List
River Guard
Our Anniversary
Vessel In Vain
Diamond Dancer
I Did Not Let Go (new song)
Gone Billie (new song)
Say Valley Maker
In The Pines
Rock Bottom Riser
Let Me See The Colts


  • At January 12, 2009 , Blogger Ben said...

    And he looks like he could do with a hair cut. I like that.

  • At January 13, 2009 , Anonymous Richie said...

    His new look is a bit of a surprise - has he been auditioning for Fleet Foxes or something? Really looking forward to his new record, thanks for the gig report.


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