May 23, 2009

Dead Letter Chorus @ Notes, Newtown

The newest music venue in Sydney is Notes, in Newtown. Very close to the Enmore Theatre, it is also another venue that offers you a table for dinner to enjoy the music. Firstly, the venue works. The food, mostly meat or seafood platters, is very good and the venue is intimate and well staffed. From the outside the venue looks nondescript, but they have made good use of the space inside. Although I hope the next time I go there there is a more polite and respectful audience. The chatter was unbelievable and at times down right rude. Please leave the talk at the door next time.

Anyway, the music. What better then the sounds of Dead Letter Chorus. This band is consistently great live. They play with a verve and passsion that never seems to lessen in impact. Starting with "Magnolia Farm", the band was on its game from the start. Early on they gave us a different and great version of "Fred Astaire", but it was "11th Dream About Aeroplanes" that really set the night alight. I mean this is a powerful song anyway, but tonight strings were attached. Literally. We had a cello and violin in play and they worked beautifully. Especially in the second half of the song. I also loved "Silly Little Man/Kill The King", but it was a new song that worked wonders. "My Father is a Drunk and My Mother is Dead" was as dark as the title suggests. Starting with a stark guitar solo from Cam Potts it evolved into a robust and dark tale that powered live. Another welcome layer to the band that augurs well for the future. If "Sally In Red" was a great finish to the set, then the encore was thunderously good. Cam and Gabby returned alone to play the Dylan classic "I Shall Be Released". Thankfully the room remained hushed as these two singers showed off the power and beauty in their voices. The band rejoined to power through "The Peaceful Sleep Of Death" and the epic "Fathers And Daughters", where various friends joined on stage to sing the ending, including Richie Cuthbert. A great way to end the night, which was also the last Sydney show for bassist Andrew Rose. He is leaving the band to pursue a DJ career. He will be missed I am sure, but this band will no doubt power on and entertain many more audiences.

The two supports were entertaining and fun. Melbourne act Skipping Girl Vinegar were very charming and personable. Their brand of folk/rock was not very original, but they were a lot of fun. Sydney band Deep Sea Arcade were extremely impressive though. Some great guitar work combined with persuasive vocals to leave a big impression. They write great melodies and I am going to keep a keen eye on them.

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