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Jack Frost concert review by Boston Globe Print E-mail
Friday, 22 March 1991

The Boston Globe

March 22, 1991

Concert Review


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Low-budget but impressive US debut of Jack Frost


By Jim Sullivan

Globe Staff


JACK FROST

At: Nightstage, Wednesday night


CAMBRIDGE - Put the leader of one popular alternative Australian band, the Church, together with a co-leader of one superb, but under-appreciated and now defunct, alternative Australian band, the Go-Betweens, and you?ve got Jack Frost. Meet the Church?s Steve Kilbey, the king of side projects, and Grant McLennan, a man who?s proud of his 12-year tenure in the Go-Betweens but allows, ?I feel liberated - although I have to stress I wasn?t in a prison.?


Jack Frost, which made its US debut Wednesday at Nightstage, began as a lark. Kilbey and McLennan met in New York and decided to write together with no designs on releasing a recording. Kilbey?s label, Arista, thought differently and last month released Jack Frost?s eponymous effort. Arista thought right. It?s not as hard-rocking or densely psychedelic as the Church?s latest work, but it is an impressive mix of restless, engaging, moody pop-rock - electric music with an acoustic underpinning. It?s not a surprising concoction given McLennan?s warmth and craftsmanlike folk-rock stylings and Kilbey?s darker-tinged impressionism.


For this short (four date), low-budget US jaunt, Kilbey and McLennan are traveling with just their acoustic guitars, and, in the songs, playing it pretty seriously. There?s gentleness and strength in their highly rhythmic music, and they seem to use songs as vehicles to exorcise ghosts and demons - sentiments like ?Didn?t know someone could be so lonesome/Didn?t know a heart could be tied up and held for ransom? linger. One of the best was ?Thought That I Was Over You,? where the singer spies his ex and her new beau and takes us through that pain, though by the end he still wishes the new couple well. And, actually, Jack Frost sprays some optimism amid the emotional minefields; the opening, ?Providence,? surged with a yearning spirit, and during McLennan?s solo encore he sang, quite believably, ?Whatever I have is yours, and it?s right here.? Kilbey, for his solo encore, chose to goof it up, mixing ?Crimson & Clover? and ?Sweet Jane,? cutting the Church?s hit ?Under the Milky Way? with a line from ?All Along the Watchtower.?


Transcribed by Mike Fulmer

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