Mark Seymour Live: 12 August 2006

A detailed review of Mark Seymour’s Northcote Social Club gig from the 12th of August 2006.

Author: Blind Beatroot (The Vagrants) at

Date: 12 Nov. 2000

Original URL:


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When I found out that I was going to review Mark Seymour I got a strange sensation of duality. I really like vintage ‘Talking to a Stranger’ Hunters and Collectors and thus really wanted to go. On the other hand I have a dreadful fear that so many people now want to play acoustic because they are not drawing the crowd numbers to play with a full band and the show then suffers.

But of course, ‘Mark Seymour is known for his great acoustic shows’ I told myself. I have seen Hunters play and seen Mark play solo a few times acoustically and he plays well – yet I still get that feeling of ominous dread of having to write a review about a weak show. Let’s hope there is still spark in the dynamic front man and he hasn’t mellowed too much!!!

Well, things got very scary early on; when the support act, front man for The Models Sean Kelly, announced that he had not played for a year…. A little sweat on my brow… His first song started with promise as a Spaghetti Western style slide piece. Then the song went nowhere and just hung there like a bad smell. Oh no, it was going to happen “solo-itis”. By the end of the first song he had already lost a crowd who were actually quite keen. He had a lovely upright bass player by the name of Rosie Weston that saved his ass live. She kept a great groove going while Sean did some decidedly unrehearsed noodling and everyone went to get a beer. He later fixed his foot pedal problems, perked up and did tunes that people warmed to like “Mama Don’t Let Your Baby’s Grow Up To Be Cowboys”, “The Man that Gravity Defied” and “Big on Love”. But I think I speak for everyone when we were glad he did ” Thank you good night”

Mark Seymour comes out to a room full of solid supporters some new, but mostly old, and looks out with that patented icy look. You think he wants to head butt you, and he is a bit unnerving actually. I think he is just an intense sort of bloke, and not that big, but that bottle of VB was just a little too close to make any stupid remarks and find out.

Good news came early: Mark has an electric guitarist with him. On the second song a bass guitar joins in, I am feeling extremely optimistic now. The subbies kick in ‘The River Runs Dry’ is being sung with passion. No signs of growing old and sedate.

‘Tears of Joy’ confirms that he is there to get fired up, and the drummer joins in with percussion and the night is building quickly. You can already see the tattoo on Marks right arm thru a sweat soaked white shirt. The drums kick in and the night is on fire.

As expected, people were singing along from just about the first word. This leads to that awful bogan habit of screaming out which song they want to hear next. As if he forgot to write a set list and they are really helping him out!

One of the issues that Seymour just needed to get off his chest was that the Labour party couldn’t win with Kim Beasley at the helm, that the legislation regarding immigration was racist and Australians needed to remember they were supposed to be tolerant. This to me is why you get on stage, to let people know who you are. See more of his rants at

Unfortunately he also got on the soapbox and told everyone that he is a Collingwood supporter (he said it runs in the family). I wonder if they can identify that gene in your DNA and prevent it, or if they can at least make your insurance premiums higher.

The band was so tight, that Mark really came out of the concentrated mind set of “playing” the music and just sang. This is where he excels, as front man of a band, and he was electric. Shrugging off minor problems like starting a song with the capo on the wrong fret, screaming bogans, and a loss by Collingwood to put on an inspired show.

A fitting and an inspired choice of cover came in the form of a Simon and Garfunkel song ‘Richard Cory’ which is a personal favorite. It fit right into his labour philosophy and the Irish heritage and other songs including “When the Bridge Came Down”.

If you are looking to see an older and established artist that is still in his prime get down to the next Mark Seymour show. This is a man that still loves performing. Unlike some other elder statesmen, he has a pulse, and uses his experience to fantastic result. He doesn’t have “solo-itis”, hasn’t lost his intensity, and with his new band delivers a night of sing along classic hits done in a great new way.