Friday, March 9, 2012

Bonnie Palace Oldham

I remember seeing Bonnie Price Billy in New Zealand almost ten years ago. My lasting memory from that gig was a man walking out during his set and yelling "play some real fucking music" (I assume he meant a blues jam). It was one of a few moments I was having around that time that led me to moving to Australia where I was hoping that they would be used to different kinds of music and therefore not act like a 12 year old punching back at something they don't understand.

Not so.

I was a little bit surprised (and scared because I was taking photos) at how minimal the stage at The National Theatre was when we arrived. It was a LARGE stage, with a drum kit, two amps, some leads and mics right in the middle, everything else was black... but this allowed the lighting man to do his thing - such a great venue to listen and watch music in.

There are (a lot of) people who can play music, but few I would actually call musicians. Bonnie Price Billy, or Will Oldham (Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Music) is a musician. He used the natural sound of the theater so well, singing away from the mic - and also unplugging his guitar totally for the last couple of songs with all three singers standing at the front of the stage not singing through the mic.

The intimate setting that Will and band provided allowed people to converse with him between songs - one man from Complainland, I mean England piped up and asked him why he had to sing so many songs with God as a subject. He liked his old stuff so much, but why did he have to sing songs that he (the man in the audience) didn't like at this show. No one really needed to answer that - it was obvious that this guy was a total tool who for some reason thought that he should have some influence over someones artistic output. Maybe he sings songs with God as a subject because... he... shit, I dunno... wants to? it's one thing to have this opinion but it's another thing to voice this opinion at a show bringing the tone down of what was a great performance. Obviously this guy could not comprehend music of this nature so his reaction was to hit out. Congratulations.


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Shot for the AU review

See the whole set here.

Some video?

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