Mark Seymour Live: 4-6 November 2004

True Believers webmaster Stuart mingles with celebrities and fellow obsessed fans and beer soaked nutters during another weekend of local fun around Brisbane.

Author: Stuart Fenech

Date: 7 November 2004.

 

Article Text

I had the pleasure of attending three Mark Seymour gigs from the 4th to the 6th of November in Brisbane. Despite less than amicable weather, we even managed to stumble our way up to Mooloolaba for a gig. Thanks in particular to John O’Brien for the company and remembering the musings I had forgotten. I hope you enjoy my musings over the three nights of gigs.

 

Thursday 4 November 2004

Downtown Gillhooleys, Brisbane (city)

01. 43 In The Shade

02. When The River Runs Dry

03. In The Kitchen Of A Perfect Home

04. Lorelei

05. Ghost Of Vainglory

06. Shoulder To Cry On

07. True Tears Of Joy

08. Try Not To Try

09. Made Man

10. Holy Grail

11. Ballad Of The One Eyed Man

12. Last Ditch Cabaret

13. Ready To Go

14. Home Again

15. On My Way Home

[encore break]

16. Waratah Street

17. What’s A Few Men?

18. Throw Your Arms Around Me

[encore break]

19. The Patriot Game

20. Richard Cory

21. Long Way Down

22. Parting Glass
Mark’s Brisbane gigs came as a surprise to local fans. It was only five months ago that Mark was last in town, and before that it had been around three years. Just as surprising was that Mark made a return to Downtown Gillhooleys, which last time had problems with audience chatter being amplified and making it difficult to play.

Rod Davies was playing with Mark this time, which is always a good thing. Rod’s backing vocals and second acoustic guitar is an excellent complement for Mark’s intense delivery. Downtown Gillhooley’s is a very small value that could at most hold around 300 people. The crowd was only of 100 to 200 people, but very much a Mark crowd. We were lazy and say on chairs rather than stand up or sit on the floor, which was what happened last time.

I was very impressed by the variety of songs that people called out. More songs from Mark’s solo career were called out than Hunters and Collectors songs, which may be a first. Songs called out included “King Without A Clue”, “Moment Of Doubt”, “Paradise Downunder”, “Blue Morning” and “The Patriot Game”. I do not think “Moment Of Doubt” has even been played live. We succeeded in getting “Made Man” played. The set list generally was similar to last time Mark played in Brisbane.

Before the Ballad Of The One Eyed Man, Mark asked Rob to turn his guitar volume up, and then after the song down again. The audience stirred Rob up with “fire him” and similar jibes, Rob responding “it’s a thankless job”. Mark then noted that Rob was “mourning the decline of western civilisation”. Earlier in the day it was made official that George Bush had won the American election.

A couple more references to our current political climate were thrown in. Before “Ready To Go”, Mark introduced the song as being about an issue that we no longer care about in our “great country”, a reference to Indigenous issues. Mark noted the name “Whatever Country” as a possible album title, to which a female audience member did a great dismissive ‘whatever’.

Mark promoted True Believers and my running of it, which was unexpected, as Mark had never before plugged the site during a gig. Mark told about the site being a “great resource” going back to the early 1980’s. I got two applauses from the audience, which was an unusual experience. My ego silently basked in my D-grade celebrity status.

Mark was in a great mood on the night, and the gig was the most light hearted one I have attended. There was a big, slightly intoxicated fan called Glenn near the front who provided some entertainment. He jokingly called out “Hunnas” to help Mark feel at home after Mark referred to the previous nights ‘football crowd’. Glenn at some point requested Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”, and when he sang a line or two from this song people told him to ‘shut up’. Some people called for the ‘bouncers’ and Mark commented that the man was the bouncer.  Mark likened the scene to the Muppets and joked about ego. Glenn also asked about “Blind Eye”, which he said Mark had promised to learn for the next tour, to which Mark replied “I have betrayed many people in my time”. There were plenty of hecklers on the night, but none of it was noticeably unkind.

Unusually, Mark came back for two encores. Most of the noise to get him back for the second encore was a group of around eight of us who were sitting together at the front. Mark clearly was not finished after the first encore, because he had not sung “Parting Glass”. At some point a chant of “Davies” flared up, which was unusual.

Having a couple of drinks and a little tired, I noticed Rob give Mark a (alcohol) shot after the gig while Mark was conversing with the punters. I opened a door with a threatening “Do Not Enter” message on it, which was clearly for the band, and called “Rob, are you getting stuck into the sambucca again?”, reminded of Sydney gigs in 2002. Rob replied “sure, would you like one?” to which I replied “yes thanks, mate”, as a security guard pulled me back and cautioned me seriously. Rob then instantly appears and hands me a sambucca shot. It was amusing at the time.

A good piece of gossip is that there was an attempt to reform Hunters and Collectors recently, not by the band or anyone with which I have contact. It is unlikely to happen, though a reunion is not completely off the cards. There seems to have been a slightly softening on this topic over the last two years, but I do not press the issue, because enough people do already.

 

Friday 5 November 2004

Brannigan’s Tavern, Broadbeach (Gold Coast)

01. 43 In The Shade

02. When The River Runs Dry

03. In The Kitchen Of A Perfect Home

04. Lorelei

05. The Ghost Of Vainglory

06. A Shoulder To Cry On

07. True Tears Of Joy

08. Try Not To Try

09. Made Man

10. Holy Grail

11. The Ballad Of The One Eyed Man

12. Last Ditch Cabaret

13. Ready To Go

14. Home Again

15. On My Way Home

[encore break]

16. Waratah Street

17. Throw Your Arms Around Me

[encore break]

18. Eye Of The Needle

19. Long Way Down
The weather this evening could almost remind the boys of their home town of Melbourne, if it was not for the stinking humidity. It rained, often quite heavily, as we made our way down to Broadbeach, which is the next suburb south of Surfer’s Paradise in the Gold Coast. It took Mark, Rod and Rob a full two hours to get there, while for us, travelling from about half way, it did not take much longer than usual (about 80 minutes).

Brannigan’s Tavern was another small venue with a small five meter by five meter dance floor in front of the stage. Behind the dance floor were tables and chairs, and beyond this area down a couple of stairs was a bar and a few pool tables. A video jukebox, impressively, had most of the Mark Seymour video’s available – “Last Ditch Cabaret”, “The Ghost Of Vainglory”, “Don’t You Know Me?” and even “43 In The Shade”. I played three songs including “43 In The Shade”, which was an excellent semi twisted video clip with the suburban theme.

The support act was Nick Waters, who was clearly a local and a regular at Brannigan’s Tavern. Nick played for around an hour and the crowd was mostly friendly. Nick spoke about respect for Mark’s songwriting and flogged his CD’s for $10.

The crowd was the most subdued Gold Coast crowd I have seen to date. There was an usual number of younger people in their early 20’s, like the group I was in. Mark and Rod could not see a thing because they had lights in their eyes. The crowd got up and danced madly to “Holy Grail” and “Throw Your Arms Around Me”, but was restrained at most other times. At the start, one friend was clearly told to “f*ck off” by a woman who was sitting down and did not want her view obstructed. Most people were eventually standing anyway, but the madness of expecting an entire dance floor to be empty for a person sitting to see the stage is indeed strange.

When Mark claimed that “On My Way” was going to be the last song, the audience finally got talkative. There were shouts of “I thought there were two sets” and a lot of “no”. The calling to get Mark back for the first encore was very good, but not as great for the second encore. When Mark left for the third time without playing “Parting Glass”, a few of us were surprised and tried to make noise to get him back, but this did not work. This gig is the first Mark Seymour solo gig I have attended where he has not played “Parting Glass”. It was sorely missed.

Highlights of the night included “Shoulder To Cry On”, “Lorelei” and “Eye Of The Needle”, which was not played last night. The performance of “Made Man” with Mark and Rod is memorable and must be officially released at some point. Mark mentioned that he was humbled by the request for “Made Man” from last night’s gig. Mark mentioned the previous night that wherever we are getting our music from, it must not be commercial radio. Here, he also lamented to lack of general support for his “Embedded” album.

Unlike previous Brisbane gigs, Mark has been selling “Embedded” and signing items after these gigs. Tonight’s was always going to be amusing, because for some reason this venue had posters about Mark’s gig absolutely everywhere. Mark faced an insurmountable line of people with posters for signing, and I even finally got my hands on one of the great “Embedded” posters.

For tonight’s gossip, I asked Mark about this upcoming live CD. It turns out that there is no live CD in the immediate future and that this is a rumour we accidentally created. As it turns out, gigs are being recorded from time to time for future use, but no live album planned. Mark is currently recording an acoustic album. Mark has finished recording the “Through My Eyes” soundtrack, on the Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton story, which should be in stores soon.

 

Saturday 6 November 2004

The Surf Club, Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast)

01. 43 In The Shade

02. When The River Runs Dry

03. In The Kitchen Of A Perfect Home

04. Lorelei

05. The Ghost Of Vainglory

06. Shoulder To Cry On

07. True Tears Of Joy

08. Try Not To Try

09. Made Man

10. Holy Grail

11. The Ballad Of The One Eyed Man

12. Last Ditch Cabaret

13. Ready To Go

14. Home Again

15. On My Way Home

[encore break]

16. Throw Your Arms Around Me
The Surf Club was located a whole one minute walk from where my wife and I stayed for our honeymoon in 2002, and close to Underwater World. The venue was impressive, modern and located right on the beach with a good view of the surf. In the heart of Mooloolaba, there were plenty of fine, reasonable priced places to eat and a great view, making it seem unfortunate to only be there for one evening.

A certain degree of confusion still surrounds this gig. By my count, this was my 11th Mark Seymour gig, and definitely the strangest one I have attended. It starts off serenely enough, with an excellent support act in Asa Broomhall, who’s guitar playing was impressive. Most of the audience has not paid and just strolled on in, as was the case with fellow traveller John and myself.

Mark and Rod start off with “43 In The Shade” and a small number of mostly women come out the front and dance. They even manage to dance to “Made Man”, which provokes Mark to note that north of the border, people seem to want to dance, and that he has never seen people dance to that song. Mark and was blinded by lights most of the time and could only see was by placing his hands to stop the light.

A number of chairs and tables get in the way of people standing. This is an object of some annoyance to some people standing, and during “Holy Grail” I got rid of my chair. My reward was a cusped hand conveniently meeting my buttocks. I am not a very good looking man, but there was an unusual tanked middle aged woman component. These were probably the same people telling “take off your shirt” to Mark. For those interested, Mark wore a white bonds shirt and dark jeans on all three nights.

Mark has not been having luck with the lyrics to “Last Ditch Cabaret”, which he again missed slightly tonight, as was the case Thursday night. Mark introduced the song with a run down of his much unloved Melbourne casino on the banks of the Yarra. “In The Kitchen Of A Perfect Home” was said to be about events on the Gold Coast around 1993 and was dedicated to the young home buyers struggling up the ladder of opportunity. “Ready To Go” was noted to be about Australia’s dark history.

Mark thanked the audience and departed after “On My Way Home”, which got a rather average call back from the audience for an encore. Mark and Rod returned for “Throw Your Arms Around Me” before departing for good. This was very strange given the previous two nights, and fewer songs than usual had been played. We tried to rouse interest in another encore, but the crowd was not interested and we stood out as bizarre in the otherwise mainly apathetic crowd.

As suspected, this was not the plan. The set list included “Long Way Down”, “What’s A Few Men?”, “Parting Glass” and a couple more songs that were not played. As it turns out, there was some frustration with the equipment being incapable of handling the large room, having to be set so high that at the front there was noticeable distortion while at the back the sound was faint. The large 400 or so person crowd was somewhat disinterested, with the obvious exception of around 40 people near the front. The environment was not suited to the acoustic performance.

Mark sold out of “Embedded” discs so was not selling CD’s and talking to people after the show. Rob sent me ‘back stage’, where they had a nice room with food and alcohol. Rod Davies, Mark and Asa were there, inviting and handed me a VB. I got stuck into the fruit on a platter there, which bizarrely had been mixed with various cheeses, and if you accidentally got a piece of food with a bit of exotic cheese on it, the result was hideous.

Backstage discussion was about a variety of issues, starting with the night’s performance troubles mentioned earlier. Mark is likely to do high school teaching full time next year, while continuing with music on the side, because music is not keeping him busy enough. Mark, Rod and Rob had an amusing run in with a McDonalds on the outskirts of my home town Beenleigh the previous night, which left them shaken by the stoned and generally bizarre locals. We discussed the significant impact of JJJ on the Australian music industry.

Mark’s upcoming acoustic CD is due for release far sooner than expected, in February, and will be along the lines of the acoustic series featuring Mick Thomas and the Black Sorrows that is currently available. The disc will include acoustic versions of “The Slab” and “Head Above Water”. I noted that an acoustic “Head Above Water” sounded like a strange concept, to which Mark explained that it has him singing the “na na na, na na na” of the electric guitar. I asked about “Lorelei” being on the disc and Mark noted that he had recorded it but it sounded uninteresting. The instrumentation on the album will only include acoustic guitars and the occasional shaker or tambourine. Rod mentioned the possibility of them simply recording a live version together for it. There is a chance that the unreleased “Good Old Boys Stuff” will be on the album.

At around 12.20am, I made my way from the band room to find that everyone had been kicked out the Surf Club. The place was bare and the doors were closed. Carrying one third full bottle of sambucca (what the band did not drink), I approached someone behind the bar and asked them how to get out. Puzzled, she asked “who are you?”, and somewhat confused, I mutter “I’m with the band”. I think got strange instructions on a back way out of the venue. Then it was the long drive home, which ended up failed because of floods where I live. Thanks John for the place on the couch and brilliant 4am entertainment from your roommates and their friends.

 

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