May 29, 2010

Richmond Fontaine @ Notes Newtown

Checked shirt, jeans, an acoustic. He sung American. Sung the stories of highways, the down and out, the bad luck, the grit and sinew. Willy Vlautin is a story teller. His songs speak volumes for the American experience and Friday night he brought a slice of his world to the inner west of Sydney. Willy Vlautin was in Sydney as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival. In fact I was lucky enough to meet him last Saturday and what a pleasure it was. A genuinely nice man, humble and gracious. An author of three novels he is probably better known as the lead singer in the veteran Portland band Richmond Fontaine. At Notes we got half of that venerable band. Willy on the vocals and acoustic and Dan Eccles on lead guitar. Eccles is a purely wonderful player, ringing all sorts of magnificent sounds from his axe. But it was Willy who took the most attention.

Vlautin has a voice of enormous character, full of life experience and containing a smoky flavour. The flavour of motels and casinos in Reno. Of warehouses and freeways. Racetracks and laundromats. Fortunately for long term fans he delivered us a great spread of his band's material and I was happy that he played every song that I was very keen to hear. This included the storming "43" and the world weary "Welhorn Yards". Then we had the greatness that is "The Boyfriends" (Dan managed to substitute quite ably his guitar for the horn section) and the emotion packed "Lost In This World". But the pinnacle was definitely the intense and hard driving "I Fell Into Painting Houses In Phoenix, Arizona". This also featured Eccles bringing down the house on harmonica. I also loved that Willy included the three 'Postcard' snippets that brought further character to an already great night. A night that little America came to big Sydney. A wonderful and rewarding experience.

Set List
Welhorn Yards
Always On The Ride
Out Of State
The Boyfriends
(Postcard From California)
Casino Lights
(Postcard Written With A Broken Hand)
Barely Losing
The Longer You Wait
The Warehouse Life
$87 and a Guilty Conscience That Gets Worse The Longer I Go
Lost In This World
I Fell Into Painting Houses In Phoenix, Arizona
Moving Back Home #1
The Kid From Belmont Street

Post To Wire
(Postcard Postmarked Phoenix, AZ)
Western Skyline


  • At May 30, 2010 , Anonymous Marco said...

    Hey man, I can't exactly remember how I found this blog, but if my memory serves me right it was when I googled CHUCK and Frightened Rabbit together.

    Anyway I'm just leaving this comment as a tap on the back sir. This blog is awesome and we share similar tastes in music.

    Marco (UK)

  • At June 02, 2010 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Hey Marco,

    Thanks a lot for the nice words!


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