Jan 21, 2012

A.A. Bondy @ Idolize Spiegeltent

Muted tones, rustic texture. Heart. Earnestness. Organic. Honest. Effective. Americana comes to Parramatta. With grace, charm and class. There is no doubt that Friday night in the company of A.A. Bondy exceeded all of my expectations to become what will undoubtedly be one of the shows of 2012.

Firstly it was a trip to Prince Alfred Park in Parramatta and a first visit to the Idolize Spiegeltent as part of the Sydney Festival. I think it's great that events like this are brought to the geographical heart of Sydney. May there be many more if they are of this quality. And quality it was. I have been a solid fan of New York (via Alabama) songwriter A.A. Bondy for quite a while. Through three albums he has delivered honest, touching, authentically great music culminating in 2011's wonderful "Believers". It was this album that most of the set was drawn from. In fact he played every song from that album.It was a little bit of a shaky start in that opener "The Heart Is Willing" suffered from a poor mix. The guitar was too loud and the vocals buried. But it settled from the majestic opening chords of "Skull and Bones". Stark and pared back this song floated through the small venue. "Surfer King" soon followed and was just as well received. These songs amply showed off Bondy's great strengths as a singer and writer. His voice is muted and under stated. His southern drawl held in check to let the emotion of the music shine through. His lyrics are quietly poetic too. Vignettes of broken lives and lives lived. When older tune "Mightiest Of Guns" came along and shone I knew this was a special night. Bondy is a great guitarist too, his fingers sliding up and down the fret, pulling power and subtlety with equal effect. Sometimes he would choke the life out of the instrument, sometimes he was as delicate as someone picking the teardrops from an eyelash. The band was in sync to, a nuanced drummer and two guitarists who knew how to fill in the gaps. To cement the night of Americana Bondy returned solo in the encore and performed a lilting rendition of "Killed Myself When I Was Young" and then followed with a moving Hank Williams cover, proving the singer to be a worthy addition to the great American tradition of singers like Oldham, Callahan and Molina. 

Set List
The Heart Is Willing
Down In The Fire (Lost Sea)
Skull and Bones
123 Dupuy Street
Surfer King
Mightiest Of Guns
A Slow Parade
The Twist
Rte 28/Believers
Scenes From A Circus
When The Devil's Loose

Killed Myself When I Was Young
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams cover)


  • At January 22, 2012 , Blogger Amy Nash said...

    Nice write-up. Wish I could have seen the show. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and A.A. Bondy put on a spectacular set here last November. Looking forward to having another opportunity to see him perform.

  • At April 01, 2012 , Blogger Slowparade said...

    I was at the same show and agree with everything you said. It was a special night and he won over the audience with talent and humour. He seemed humbled by the response and commented: "I'll remember this for as long as I'm above ground...and I'll remember it if I am mining too."


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