Sunday, 9 February 2014

Gig Review - Halfway




Halfway
Supported by Paddy McHugh and The Goldminers 
and Silent Feature Era
Live @ the Old Museum, Brisbane (8/2/2014)
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders


The Old Museum building is old, for Brisbane standards. Built in 1891, it's seen through years of the demolishing of so many of it's friends in this little hometown of mine. It's seen it's surrounds change and grow and move, all the while housing music and performance and history inside it's own walls. Oh the things those walls have seen, the things they would say, the stories they could tell, if those walls could talk.




They would tell the stories of so many, but most recently last Saturday night, of a big room and a bunch of people at a bar, clamouring for beverages in a warm room on a late summer night, while a band played on a stage at one end of the four walls and the punters gathered at the other. Silent Feature Era are a four piece who have been hanging around these parts for a few years now and after seeing them for the first time on Saturday night, I'm hoping they hang around for a few years more. While most of the room stood back (as usual at these type of things), it didn't stop the four piece from rocking hard and giving all, smashing through a set that not only introduced themselves to the room, but made sure it would remember them, with the guitar rock of 'All The Kings Men' and the fairytale, melancholy sounds of 'Supersomeone' echoing across the museum for all it's ghosts to hear.




Those ghosts wouldn't have much time to rest as the ageing walls kept filling and while the ghosts were woken by Silent Feature Era, it was Paddy McHugh and his Goldminers who left the building with tales to tell. There is something spine tingling about the honesty in Paddy's songs, all of them with that Australian-country-rock-bluesy-folksy feel that many attempt, but only special writers and artists can play as genuinely as the performance this old building saw on Saturday night. Every tale introduced with a little tale of it's own, Paddy is clearly a guy who has seen a lot of life and how awesome he has the talent to show the rest of us so much of that. The tale of 'Dan O'Halloran' was tragic and tear jerking, 'Brunswick St' was honest and accurate, 'The Snowmen' was incredibly depressing yet somehow uplifting with it's sing-a-long ending, but it was really the very beginning that was the most breathtaking part of the whole set, something I've not seen before and something probably rare even in a building so old. For his very first song, Paddy McHugh took to the stage on his own, with beer in hand and sang a little folk song, all of his own, no instruments other than his voice and while it took some audience members a little while to realise the set had started, those of us lucky enough to keep our eyes on the stage were treated to an awesome talent and one I look forward to seeing, maybe inside these walls again, soon.




The walls of that beautiful building would have already been bursting with tales and pride when Halfway took to the stage, but the thing about buildings like that is that there's no end to the music they can echo, no end to the tales they can tell. The stories they will tell of Halfway will be filled with words like honesty and heartbreak, rock and devotion, country and beauty. They will talk of the night that eight guys took to a stage and took an audience to places all over the world and all over this country, telling genuine stories of adoration and deception, long days and longer nights, friends and loves and the land they live in and like. Opening with 'Dropout', 'Honey I Like You' and 'Hard Life Loving You' as their latest album Any Old Love does, they powered through the album exactly as it should be heard, track by track the journeys were had, the experience just like it should be heard as an album is heard, so every time I hit play on the their fourth album I'll be dragged back to those fabulous walls of the Old Museum to re-live it all again.




The six songs we were treated to for an encore were as impressive as any time I've seen them, the crowd and the walls bursting with applause for 'Factory Floor' and the energy not contained within those walls for the audience favourite 'Patience Back'. Those walls of the Old Museum, over the last 120 years, they have many tales to tell, all of them interesting, all of them important. They have tales of theatre, of education, of gatherings of souls, of tears and smiles, of depression and success and love and loss. Now they have stories of Halfway; full of music and sincerity and these stories are ones I'm genuinely so happy to be a part of.

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