Holly Throsby (29/03/2012)
Live at the Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane.
by Jo Michelmore
So I’m going to start this review at the end. The encore. Generally I’m a little awkward about the encore. Sometimes it’s fun, a bit of screaming and stamping but sometimes (often) it’s just annoying. We all know you’re coming back out, just get on with it. Holly Throsby at the Black Bear Lodge this week, provided one of my favourite encores of all time, the ‘anti encore’, where she didn’t leave the stage, explaining that the small venue had no band room so they’d have to just go stand in the toilets and wait to come back out if they were to exit stage right. They just stood there, giggled a little, everyone clapped and then they played the encore. So cute, so funny and best end to a gig.
The rest of the night was quite entertaining too. Holly’s band; The Hello Tigers, were, as usual, excellent. Consisting of a percussionist (but also sometimes keyboardist and accordion player) Bree van Reyk and bass player, mandolin extraordinaire and sometimes cellist, Jens Birchal, the two of them complimented and supported Holly’s soft, delicate vocal perfectly. Bree in particular provided such an interesting and beautiful backdrop to Holly’s sweet lyrics and voice. An unusual but awesome duet (“that’s like a song sung by two people”; as described by Holly) mid-way through the set with Jens on “Would You” was a pleasant surprise, his deep voice settling nicely into the song with Holly’s floaty voice sitting beautifully beside him. Perhaps one of the best things about seeing Holly Throsby live though, is her fun and quirky on stage banter and the sense of welcoming she gives her audience. This is one of the greatest things about live music, hearing the artist chat and joke and getting a glimpse into the personality that writes all your favourite songs. Holly Throsby never fails to deliver in this part of her performance. She tells terrible jokes and converses with audience members and gets all a bit weird and Stevie Nicks at times (that’s a giant compliment!) and makes it worthwhile leaving the house rather than just throwing a CD on at home. They played a diverse range of songs from all through her career, with Holly’s friendly and funny chatter filling in between songs all the way through. ‘Up With The Birds’, ‘Making A Fire’ and the crowd pleaser ‘Things Between People’ let us enjoy her beautiful song writing skills and pop quirkiness and left the (at times) strange and diverse crowd pleased. Of course, left until close to the end of the set, the Seeker Lover Keeper favourite, ‘Even Though I’m A Woman’ is such a strong song it even sounded amazing with just Holly’s voice and band able to give it all the attention it deserves.
Since the encore was the start of the review, where does one end it? Perhaps with a statement. There’s so much good music in the world and particularly such incredible songwriters everywhere. Some of them are huge stars filling giant stadiums and appearing on TV and everyone knows their names. Some are cute little girl singers and guitarists from Sydney, Australia, who get to wander freely through the crowd in the bar they are about to play in. The greatest part? Both are just as valid and important and as talented as each other. Live music in every form; tiny and huge, is amazing. You should go see some. Anything. You won’t regret it.