Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sir David & Lady Clare Keep It Unreal

Time for a break for all things Stooges and Dolls. The Barmaid and I caught Dave Graney and Clare Moore last Friday-week, at the Spanish Club in Sydney. The occasion was the local launch of their fine album, "Keepin' It Unreal" (on Reverberation).

I lost touch with Sir David's output in the late-ish '90s - his breakthrough album "Night of the Wolverine" and the follow-up, "You Wanna Be There But You Don't Wanna Travel" (the Big Rock Production Album) were played to death in these parts - but I've since caught up. "The Soft and Sexy Sound" always had some of the most biting songs Dave's written. "The Devil Drives" deserved more attention than I gave it and even the re-configured band of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" works a treat, in retrospect.

Dave's songwriting is every bit as good as it was when he was in the thrall of a major label, but he's framing it in all sorts of ways other than your stock-standard, rock band guitar-and-keys. The latest configuration is Dave on acoustic guitar, Stu Thomas on big, thick bass and Clare on vibraphones and harmonies. It's languid, sometimes laid-back and pretty fetching when the trio re-interprets the expansive Graney back catalogue. Is it rock and roll? I'm not sure what the fuck is, but I do know that Dave's unique phrasing and always intriguing lyrics inevitably makes it a weird and wonderful ride, no matter what musical kaliedoscope it's being channelled through.

There were some rock and roll moments when the gig was shifted from the band room (which apparently had an issue with its entertainment license) and the Spanish guitar player of 11 years residency was displaced - only to be called back to fill in when Stu Thomas' flight from Melbourne was delayed. He got there in the end. The band lost its door deal - it's a bit hard to charge diners in a restaurant - so bemused tourists and punters there for the show got more than tapas and sangria for the price of their meal. It was all good.

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