My petrol gauge showed 'E' and if there was one for my stomach it would've shown the same as I made the sunset dash from my office to Gold St, Collingwood, for a mid-week house concert by Brendan Welch.
I arrived in time for snacks, thank goodness. Stacey and Simon hosted the event in the lounge room of their Victorian weatherboard. Brendan sat at their piano (with a squeaky pedal) for the evening.
The doors were thrown open to the courtyard, where I took up position between Brendan and the snack table by the side fence.
I'm used to having to get on tiptoes to see the stage, or dodge the elbows of blokes negotiating jugs through crowded rooms. Tonight my only obstacle was a creeping grape vine that kept on tickling my neck.
Welch's songs were quite beautifully melancholic. His baritone voice is rich - reminiscent of Matt Berninger from The National. I loved looking around the room and watching all the different reactions to the music. His lyrics are dreamy, oblique and Dylan-esque.
My favourite song of the evening was 'Think I Always Thought (I'd Fall In Love With You)'. Simple and heartfelt - it felt so true.
Four songs into his set, Brendan said it was about time for something a bit happier. A pause. He then noted there weren't really many songs in his repertoire that fit the bill.
Brendan Welch is very handy with a cover, playing a mesmerising version of 'Pagan Poetry' by Björk (his cover of Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own' is also well worth a listen... I never realised how heartbreaking it is!).
The performance was intimate and, despite Welch's quip to the contrary, anything but sombre. As soon as I got home I bought his first record (only just now re-released online). I'm really looking forward to the next one (due out later this year).
Stacey and Simon's home was a cosy setting and the people there were friends and strangers who, amid the hustle and bustle of life, were able to be part of something, even if just for a fleeting moment one summer evening, that was unique.
Photo's / video by Bonnie Moir.
Review by James Pattison.