Saturday, 20 August 2011

Brief encounters

The promo came through from the Prince Bandroom a couple of weeks ago - Tex Perkins was doing a free gig with his Band of Gold to launch is latest album.  I'd be in that!  I had followed Tex Perkins since his days in The Cruel Sea when I'd swooned to his sexy swagger, the the Beasts of Bourbon and Tex, Don and Charlie and more recently in his incarnation as Johnny Cash in his show "The Man in Black".   I had high hopes for the evening.

My friend and I popped into the Malaysian restaurant near the venue for a quick seafood laksa and made a detour via a convenience store before heading in to the venue.  We were the only people in the store - she was selecting chewing gum - and the bell at the front door tinkled and a tall, solitary, black clad man strode in.  If we had been in a western saloon the piano player would have stopped playing.  I turned to see this arrival and noticed it was Tex himself. 

Knowing how to control myself with musical idols after the whole k.d. lang debacle of the mid noughties (that's another story), I calmly stated:  "We're going to see your show this evening."

He was gracious and normal and laughed and said thanks and then said he'd never get on stage if he didn't have a shave first.  I said he should get that sorted because we were looking forward to the show and hoped he would have a good one. 

Then he asked me if I was sorted to get into the show.  I was, but I had the feeling if I wasn't he would have sorted me out.  So to speak.  

My friend finished her chewing gum transaction.

We left.

I love encounters like these.  To be confronted by a man you've swooned over from your twenties and beyond, under the convenience store fluorescent lighting and discover he's humble, charming and human is wonderful.

Sadly, I didn't enjoy the gig so much. The stage was set with a chandelier and granny lamps and vases of flowers.  It started with a duet version of Kris Kristofferson's song "Help me make it through the Night" which sizzled with sexual tension and chemistry between Tex and Rachael Tidd (she played June Carter Cash in "The Man in Black").   And that was the highlight.

From there the tempo never changed except to slow down a notch and add a bit more slide guitar.  The drummer didn't break a sweat.  The band looked bored and Tex and Rachael looked like they had their own thing going on.  They were playing for themselves and had forgotten to let their audience in.  Afterwards we speculated whether there was heightened vulnerability for the rock god now singing the sensitive country songs of the broken hearted man - or the man who was just out looking for a woman.  Somehow I don't buy it.  As a musician, who are you playing for if not for your audience?  If the pulse of the gig was to be low key and loungeroom-ish, then we were in the wrong venue.  Standing up for hours on end while everything is at the same tempo and the word "lonely" appears in every song is enough to defeat even the most dedicated fan.

I did not expect that the highlight of the evening would be buying gum and disposable razors with a friend and a rock god in a convenience store in St Kilda.

No comments:

Post a Comment