Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

SD has spent part of the past week in the com­pany (well, along with a few hun­dred oth­ers) of two artists who have over­come se­ri­ous set­backs in their lives to con­tinue with their ca­reers. Both of them were per­form­ing at Syd­ney Fes­ti­val and, while en­tirely dif­fer­ent in style, had in com­mon a strong spirit and be­guil­ing stage pres­ence. The first was Cal­i­for­nia-based singer-song­writer John Murry, whose de­but al­bum from last year,

con­sid­ered a tri­umph by crit­ics across the globe, doc­u­ments in part the artist’s bat­tle with heroin, one that al­most cost him his life as well as his mar­riage. Mis­sis­sippi-born and raised Murry wears his tur­bu­lent his­tory (he has been clean for five years) on his sleeve, but while the sub­ject mat­ter of his songs was of­ten bleak his per­for­mance was starkly beau­ti­ful. Hope­fully he will re­turn here with a band at some point to give a fuller read­ing of his ma­te­rial. The other per­former was Glas­gow’s vet­eran pop crafts­man Ed­wyn Collins, he of 80s out­fit Orange Juice and of a hand­ful of solo al­bums and the hit sin­gle

Collins suf­fered two strokes that, as with Murry, al­most cost him his life sev­eral years ago. He had to learn to talk again and also had to re-learn his vast cat­a­logue of ma­te­rial be­fore re­turn­ing to per­form­ing 18 months ago. One could not help but be moved as the singer, clearly still suf­fer­ing phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions af­ter his ill­ness, ploughed through Orange Juice favourites such as and

and the best of his solo ma­te­rial, more than ably as­sisted by James Wal­bourne (gui­tar, vo­cals) and Car­wyn El­lis (gui­tar, key­boards, vo­cals) from Lon­don Mis­sis­sippi, one of the Bri­tish bands Collins has pro­duced at his Lon­don stu­dio. While Collins’s vo­cals weren’t al­ways up to the mark, his courage, cheery coun­te­nance and great tunes earned him a wor­thy stand­ing ova­tion. The Syd­ney Fes­ti­val ends tomorrow. STILL in Syd­ney, SD has seen a lot of great shows at Syd­ney En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre over the years. It is an iconic venue that has played host to the big­gest stars, from David Bowie to Pink, dur­ing its 31 years as part of the na­tional tour­ing cir­cuit. One has al­ways felt, how­ever, that the name of the venue was a lit­tle lack­ing, too prac­ti­cal per­haps, too ob­vi­ous, to fully em­brace and con­vey the sig­nif­i­cance of the great per­for­mances that have graced and will con­tinue to grace its hal­lowed stage. What joy filled the SD of­fice this week, then, to dis­cover that the venue must no longer hide its en­chant­ing light un­der a bushel due to the per­func­tory na­ture of its nomen­cla­ture. No longer must one’s ex­cite­ment at the prospect of see­ing one’s he­roes at this Hay­mar­ket haven of rock, pop and bas­ket­ball be tem­pered by the uned­i­fy­ing na­ture of its ti­tle. Hence­forth, Syd­ney cit­i­zens, let us step forth one and all and glory in the in­spired and in­spi­ra­tional rechris­ten­ing of one of the na­tion’s most wel­com­ing gigs, the Qan­tas Credit Union Arena. I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’m go­ing to get a lit­tle teary at the very men­tion of it from now on. IF you’re in Mel­bourne tomorrow it would be worth check­ing out the an­nounce­ment of the Aus­tralian Mu­sic Prize short­list. A free con­cert fea­tur­ing Her­mi­tude, Beaches, Dialec­trix, Kirin J. Cal­li­nan and Jen Clo­her will be part of the pro­gram at Sid­ney Myer Mu­sic Bowl (6pm8pm), hosted by Ella Hooper and Tim (Urth­boy) Levin­son. The longlist of 43 will be whit­tled down to nine, with the win­ner of the $30,000 prize to be an­nounced in Syd­ney on March 5.

Ed­wyn Collins

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.