JackFrost@continental.cafe.au


It was a lot of fun ! Steve and Grant were clearly enjoying themselves, though Steve seemed preoccupied with tonight's change of Federal government (the left wing labour party has just lost HUGELY to the Liberal/National coalition). Lyrics to a few of the songs were changed to mention politicians and Steve treated us to his John Howard (the new Prime Minister) impression. Grant and Steve made fun of each other too, with Grant winning ;-)

The venue was full and the crowd were all very attentive, except for one smegging table of eight people that must've thought they were at a wedding reception and talked all damn night. "Guys, there's a pub next door. Go sit in there next time, OK ?"

Appearances

Steve's gone for the Messiah look :) Long and slightly straggly hair, just past shoulder length and a beard that's growing where it wants to, not just the GAF "line beard". He was wearing the purple shirt that seems to be at most of his performances and blue jeans. Grant wore a greenish t-shirt and jeans - I think. His hair was very closely cropped - almost bald and he has no beard, unlike the publicity shots going around.

Grant's a big bloke - he wore a t-shirt and jeans and seemed more lively than Steve. I'm not familiar with his solo or Go-Betweens work so I guess I can't say much more about him.

Song List

  1. Didn't Know Where I Was
  2. Pony Express
  3. Every Hour God Sends - Had to restart this song twice due to tuning problems
  4. Number 11 - Scrambled lyrics to this ! Both Grant & Steve took lines from random verses, perhaps it was a "performance experiment"
  5. Running From The Body - Grant said that he didn't realize when they recorded it that so many Hollywood directors would make movies about it's subject: serial killers. "Maybe a tape got out, or something, 'cos now there's all these films about people with machine guns going about and killing people."
  6. Thought That I Was Over You - For tablature people, I notice each of them was playing slightly different chords
  7. A Go-Betweens song called Bye Bye Pride
  8. Ramble
  9. Jack Frost Blues - This is such a cool song, full of sinister military-type figures.
  10. Aviatrix - Grant introduced this as being about Amelia Earhart and Sammy Davis Jnr.
  11. Everything Takes Forever - New lyrics and slightly different melody. "You can sing with abandon, you can sing with release. The outro had many Australian and Melbourne references thrown in - big applause from the crowd at the end.
  12. Providence
  13. Civil War Lament

I think they were only on stage for an hour. Steve apologised and said these were the only songs they knew :) On the second night Grant did the encore by himself, strongly performing three excellent songs (whose titles escape me :-( ). Steve later told me Grant had lost the coin toss !

Banter

Steve introduced them as being "Jack Frost - which is made up of the members of various supergroups"

Steve started the ball rolling by saying to Grant before the first song "There's a really great story about this next song, but Grant tells it best." Which put Grant on the spot of course...."Which one is it ?" he asked.

Grant retaliated by saying that Steve's autobiography was titled "My Life In A Turkish Prison" and Chapter 1 was called "Priest = Aura"

Steve said "Number Eleven" was about a plane crash he and Grant were in, and in which Grant died. But he was on stage tonight due to contractual obligations.

While Steve was tuning his 12 string Grant said that it was rare to see Steve playing 12 string since he usually played bass. "It's an honour for you," he concluded, "to hear him tune."

Grant said that Sydney was a den of evil and debauchery, something that we clean-living folk in Melbourne wouldn't know about and pointed to Steve saying "This is what you'll end up like if you live in Sydney for too long !"

Steve said it'd be a good idea to have a "worm" for musicians. This is an Australian reference - the televised debates between Keating and Howard had a moving graph indicating whether the studio audience felt positive or negative about what each candidate was saying. This moving graph looked like a worm crawling across the screen and most people felt it was a bit of a gimmick. Anyway Steve said the audience should all have dials to indicate if they were enjoying the song or not, and they could watch the "worm" on the monitors. "Oh shit we'd better finish the song - the worms' going through the floor !"

Summary

Good show, but I'd like to have heard more harmony. They only did a little bit and it really sounded professional and "whole" when it was used. The show was very enjoyable especially since they seem to relate so well on stage. But it was a bit short - perhaps each of them could have done a song or two from their respective "supergroups".


Meeting Bruce

After the show Matthew & Monica Green and myself sat down and had a brief chat with Bruce Butler, the manager of The Church. Basically things are looking great ! Bruce describes himself as a fan of the band, was hesitant to tell me any anecdotes about managing the band (but clearly had a LOT to tell), and when asked how he became the manager of The Church, made lots of comments like "I drew the short straw / I was the only one who'd take them etc..." It was all in fun, but I guess the Church must really have a reputation as being tough to manage.

He refused Steve's initial request to manage the band, but eventually agreed when Marty phoned him and asked if he'd manage. Bruce already managed the bands of the other Kilbey brothers and he was swayed by Marty asking even though he didn't know Bruce personally - his reputation as being a fair and honest manager preceded him (he literally wrote the book on it !) :-)

* The opening track on the new album, "Welcome" will list a bunch of people that Steve thinks are ridiculous. Look for our Glorious Premier Mr Jeff Kennet. I think a lot of non-Aussies will be getting a lesson in Antipodean politics from this song.

* The song list sent to me (which I sent to you) has been changed. SADS is off the album and will be a b-side. There are six songs that will be released as b-sides.

* Steve wants (at the moment) to put a four or five piece band together and tour the capital cities. The good ol' days ! The whole rock band thing, with himself, Marty, Peter and Tim Powles (ex-Venetians drummer) could be coming soon to an Australian capital city near you !

* Other things being discussed include a possible EMI boxed set, a reissue of all the old church albums with extra tracks and a digital remaster and general cleanup for crystal clear sound. I'm glad they're doing this, but I hope it ain't too expensive.

* Marty and Brix Smith of "The Fall" have recorded 13 songs and will sign to a label who's name escapes me..... But anyway that's a definite collaboration there.

* Marty is still not married - he and Zoe are waiting until after their baby is born :)

* Marty is moving his studio from Sweden to London. The main problem is moving his record collection, which lines the walls of the recording studio - they (15 000 of them) form the sound-proofing, and are also the reason for some bands wanting to record there ! They just want to roam through the huge collection.

Well, that's all I remember for now. Bruce said he's happy to take questions from anyone, so his address is psy@peg.apc.org

Meeting Steve

I had a brief chat with Steve after the second performance (not reviewed) and his mood had changed :( He said that this performance may be his last - he's tired of touring and doesn't want to do it again. But I get the impression that he changes his mind a lot, so I wouldn't get too despondent.

Review and photographs by Brian Smith (who also has a homepage :-) )


Note: These photographs didn't quite turn out as I'd hoped. I had a quick attempt at retouching them but didn't get very far. I'd be very grateful if someone who is good at this sort of thing would maybe take a shot at it. Let me know if you've done so and I'll make them available. I've done nothing but sharpen these photos, and make the background's a nice flat black colour.

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