Mark Seymour Live: 28-31 July 2005
True Believers webmaster Stuart ventures out into the Brisbane wilderness in search of good music and walks away impressed.
Author: Stuart Fenech
Date: 1 August 2005.
Along with an assortment of friends and even family, I was lucky enough to find my way to three Mark Seymour and James Reyne gigs over the last weekend. The only gig I did not attend over the weekend was the one at Gilhooley’s Surfers, interestingly the second closest to where I live of the four gigs. I had never seen James Reyne live before, but had heard rave reviews of the Mark and James gigs from fans who had already enjoyed earlier parts of the tour.
The concerts exceeded my very high expectations. Sales were excellent, all three gigs were packed and two were definitely sold out. Both Mark and James played for about an hour each before playing a few classic tunes together. The final section with Mark and James was spectacular, with three acoustic guitars, one bass guitar, one drummer and many voices creating a stunning wall of sound.
James was first on Thursday at Chermside and Saturday at Mooloolaba, while Mark was first at Surfers on Friday and Loganholme on Sunday. The Mark component of the set list was fairly constant over the three nights:
Thursday 28 July; Saturday 30 July; Sunday 31 July 2005
Chermside Gillhooleys; Mooloolaba Surf Club; Loganholme Gilhooleys
01. When The River Runs Dry
02. Head Above Water
03. In The Kitchen Of A Perfect Home *
04. True Tears Of Joy
05. Do You See What I See?
06. Ready To Go
07. Good Old Boys Stuff
08. Holy Grail
09. What’s A Few Men?
10. Shoulder To Cry On
11. The Slab
12. Throw Your Arms Around Me
13. Psychokiller [Talking Heads]
14. April Sun In Cuba [Dragon]
15. The Nips Are Getting Bigger [Mental As Anything]
16. Helpless [Neil Young]
* On Sunday, this was replaced by “The Ghost Of Vainglory”
James mixed his set list around a lot more, but unfortunately I do not know enough of his songs to give an accurate appraisal at this time. Every gig featured the Australian Crawl favourites “The Boys Light Up”, “Errol”, “Oh No Not You Again”, “Downhearted” and “Restless”. Other songs played at least once included “To Live’s To Fly”, “One More River”, “Any Day Above Ground”, “Slave” and “Hammerhead”.
My favourites in Mark’s set were “Ghost of Vainglory”, the surprisingly convincing “Head Above Water”, “Good Old Boys Stuff”, and rocking “Shoulder To Cry On”. I thought the band, comprised of Mark, Cameron and Tony, were brilliant. In James Reyne’s set, I most enjoyed “Hammerhead”, “To Live’s To Fly” and the classic “Downhearted”. Of the combined set, I was impressed by “April Sun In Cuba” and my absolute favourite of the weekend, “Psychokiller”. The biggest audience responses were predictably reserved for “Reckless”, “The Boys Light Up”, “Holy Grail” and “Throw Your Arms Around Me”.
Chermside packed in a very impressively sized crowd for a Friday night. I attended this gig with my friend Ben and his now ex-girlfriend. James spent a little time carefully moving a light that was in his eyes, worried about fire hazards, before explaining that it was alright as “Gilhooleys is a chain” and probably “has lots of money”. Mark arrived and started playing rather merry after dinner out with friends. A man to my left yells out “Last Ditch” obsessively and then eventually “Judas Sheep”.
Mark’s intoxication led to more bizarre comments than we usually enjoy. At one point Mark declared “oh no! I mentioned politics!” and “why do you keep on voting for the same person?”, referring to last years federal election result. Chermside, situated in Labor member Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, was actually one of the few places in Queensland that did not vote for Prime Minister John Howard. Mark dared the audience to ask who he would vote for next time, which led to cries of “your Mum” and “Peter Brock”. The next song, “Holy Grail”, ended up being devoted to Peter Brock.
Mark had a false start to “The Slab” and commented about the large number of mistakes he was making. When James appeared back on stage for the combined performance, Mark commented “I am very happy to see you back here, James”. At the end Mark and James stood at the door selling CD’s and signing souvenirs. I found out at the next gig that they were shifting about 100 CD’s a night.
The crowd at Mooloolaba was the most impressive of the weekend. When “Holy Grail” went off, two women even ended up on people’s shoulders, one of them unbuttoning her shirt (I am told). Mark told the crowd of his pleasure at the Western Bulldogs AFL team beating the Brisbane Lions, which resulting in cheering gradually moving to booing as the crowd realised what Mark had said. Mark mocked the management of the Surf Club for making us wait outside for ages before being able to get inside.
The Mooloolaba Surf Club remains a very interesting venue. It presents a significant challenge for an acoustic gig due to the amount of chatter and open space. For all it’s misgivings, I am a fan of the brilliant ventilation and the fact that you can see the band in front and the ocean to your right. I took along fellow obsessed fan John and my father to this gig.
The final weekend gig was only a ten minute drive from where I live, making it the closest Mark gig to where I live that I have ever attended. Loganholme is well on the way to the Gold Coast, and the last time Mark played anywhere near here was at Carindale in 2000, which is 15 minutes closer to the city. The venue was Loganholme Gilhooley’s, which was only build about eight months ago. Loganholme Gilhooley’s is currently my friends drinking location of choice, and hence I have seen their excellent advertising of the Mark and James gig for months.
I have never seen a crowd at Loganholme Gilhooley’s as sober as the one on Sunday night. Normally, by the time midnight clicks around at the local, there are not many coherent people. I did not know anyone in the crowd, which made it clear that every local music lover had come out of the woods. Without even a proper band room, things looked worrying at the start, but this gig ended up working very well.
Mark mused about his drummer Tony wearing Bali clothes but never having been to been to Bali. Mark introduced “What’s A Few Men?” with the words “this song is dedicated to all those people who continue to be sent overseas to fight other countries wars”, a not so subtle reference to the Iraq war. “Holy Grail” was introduced as being “about a short man, with a short man’s complex, who wore his white hat on the side” and “about the Western Bulldogs”. The crowd here were quicker to “boo” and yell out “Li-ons”.
Throughout the weekend soundman Rob Miles and the road crew did a fantastic job of keeping it all together. The job done at the completely unsuited Loganholme Gilhooley’s venue was particularly honourable. There were cables tied to the floor, a fair bit of communication from the performers to Rob at the back, but in the end it sounded fantastic and no one would have noticed. My wife spent some time fascinated watching Rob Miles live, due to difficulty seeing the front of the crowd. James claims that the gigs were being recorded but Rob was not recording any of the Brisbane concerts.
Fan John, my wife Leanne and I ended up backstage at the Sunday Loganholme gig. There was plenty of alcohol, the honourary sambuca and some fantastic fruit. If you have read this far, you definitely deserve the full gossip, so here it is…
(1) Hunters and Collectors reunion a “possibility” now rather than simply “no”.
(2) There is a mediocre Canadian record deal and Mark plans to go over there again soon.
(3) “Left Alive” received some airplay in Sweden.
(4) Mutations delays are apparently due to the art person at Liberation.
(5) Mark has been writing songs for a fourth solo studio album but has not started recording.
(6) Mark is writing a book on Hunters and Collectors.
I hope you enjoyed these reflections.
Until next time… cheers.