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Steve Kilbey and Rick Maymi, Perth 2010 Print E-mail
Monday, 15 March 2010

A really nice review by carlosrockets for Faster Louder in Australia. The show (Oxford Hotel in Perth, March 14th 2010) featured Steve and friend Rick Maymi, mentioned frequently in Steve's blog.

There was a degree of trepidation upon entering the Oxford Hotel’s beer garden for the first time. The uncomfortably high humidity of the day, combined with the musician’s backline positioned around a cornered area, no stage and a bare minimum vocal PA system as well as a swarm, -small, but a swarm nonetheless, of bees hovering near the water feature conspired to keep this reviewer and friend on our toes until show time. In an hour or so, Steven Kilbey and band would be treading the brick paving to belt out a collection of choice songs from a back catalogue that could defy logic by means of its size and diversity.

Finally, as the sun gave a last burst of orange glow, there was an inaudible hush as the band took their places, Kilbey strapped on his trusty Guild 12-string, a quick tune-up and it began…

The dulcet, delicate strumming of the intro to Providence (a track Kilbey co-wrote with the Go-Betweens’ Grant Mc Lennan under the name Jack Frost in the 90s) began to permeate every inch of the garden anaesthetising the bees with ease. As each band member joined in, the sound swelled in velocity, adding unique warmth to a space that was already well-sorted in the temperature department. The spawn of three 12 string guitars playing varied counterpoints off each other (a trademark sound of the Church) shimmered and pulsed with Kilbey’s vocals resonating with the same confidence and delivery as seen at The Church’s Quarry Amphitheatre shows last December. That there was only a vocal PA system in use was quickly forgotten. What was coming through was aural bliss.

With the scene now set things began swinging as a startling rendition of Unguarded Moment followed. Often considered the quintessential Church song that’s not Under the Milky Way, the audience was treated to a bare-boned variant minus the defining Peter Koppes luscious lead riffs and MWP Rickenbacker jangle work that has been branded into listeners’ subconscious since its release in the early 80’s. What this proves is that it is a wonderfully penned song that allows a predominantly acoustic reworking whilst maintaining the essence and presence of the original.

As the set progressed, Kilbey dipped further into his bag of magic and pulled out a stellar array of surprises. Songs such as Nothing Inside from his solo record Unearthed, Don’t Look Back from The Church’s The Blurred Crusade and Buffalo from Hologram of Baal were particular standouts. All tracks benefited from the two acoustic guitars and Ricky Maymi, the eloquently attired Brian Jonestown Massacre affiliate, on 12-string electric, adding a subtle overdriven bite to proceedings whist clocking in for feedback and E-bow duties when required. Following the show, Maymi stood at the exit personally thanking individuals for attending and chatting amiably to anyone who approached him. This sort of thing that has rarely been seen since Pavement’s first drummer did it during their first Australian tour in ’92. Maymi was cool in a real way, not in a highbrow-faux-cool kind of way.

Kilbey was as engaging as he was at The Quarry, his lightening fast quips and banter amongst his band mates and to the audience, coupled with an almost patentable dry sense of humour maintained a personable, intimate atmosphere with the small and loyal crowd in attendance.

This show once again proves the unique musical and creative force that is Steve Kilbey. It’s crystal clear that he’s nowhere near done with us yet

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