Sunday, June 12, 2005

Magic in Here

The Go-Betweens @ Southpaw 6/11/05
First off, before I go on about the Go-Betweens performance, let me say once again that it's such a pleasure going to a great club like Southpaw, especially after having to endure Tonic the night before. It has a really great, welcoming atmosphere, great beer on tap (including all the varieties of Brooklyn Lager; my favorite is the Brooklyn Weisse beer; mmmm beer, I say, Homer Simpson style), good sightlines, much improved sound (the first time I went there, about a year ago to see Clinic, the sound was utterly horrible, but every time I've been there since, they've really upped the ante in that department) and a really friendly staff, not to mention the fact that they constantly book quality national touring and local acts.

Last night's sold-out Go-Betweens show was no exception. Having never seen them before and knowing that they hadn't played in the New York area for almost 5 years, I was really looking forward to this show and fortunately, they didn't disappoint. Showcasing a 4-piece lineup featuring Adele Pickvance on bass (she had a keyboard next to her but I didn't see her touch it during the entire set) and drummer Glen Thompson, they sounded less like the orchestrated and sometimes produced (though not overproduced generally) classic lineups of the late '80s and more like their original incarnation as a proto indie-pop 3-piece in the late '70s and early '80s. They played for about an hour and 45 minutes and the set was a mix of new and old songs. From their excellent new album Oceans Apart, a few of my favorites were played ("Darlinghurst Nights" and "This Night's for You" among them, though no "Born to a Family"; darn) and there was also a fair amount of songs played from their 2000 reunion album The Friends of Rachel Worth ("Surfing Magazines" and the opener "Magic in Here" were highlights).

Digging deep into the back catalogue, the highlights were "Cattle and Cane" (from 1982's Before Hollywood) "Draining the Pool for You" (from 1984's Spring Hill Fair) "Spring Rain" (from 1986's excellent Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express), "Bye Bye Pride" (from 1987's very spotty but occasionally brilliant Tallulah) and 3 songs from their masterpiece, 1988's 16 Lovers Lane ("Streets of Your Town", "Was There Anything I Could Do?" and "Dive For Your Memory"). They also played a few oddities like the Robert Forster solo single "Baby Stones" and the excellent "This Girl, Black Girl", though they also ignored classics like "The House that Jack Kerouac Built", "Bachelor Kisses", "The Wrong Road", "In the Core of the Flame", "Right Here", "That Way", "Part Company" and many others (personally I would've loved to hear "You Can't Say No Forever" and "Quiet Heart"). However, with such a vast catalog, they were bound to skip a few fan favorites since they can only play so many songs, though they did managed to play a long main set with 2 full encores. Of the 2 main songwriters (Robert Forster and Grant McLellan), Robert is clearly the showman at the front and center of the stage with Grant almost looking on (though the amount of songs each writes and then sings is about equal with perhaps a slight advantage going to Robert).

Oh and thanks again to Jeff for giving me a ride to the nearest subway stop. You're a sweetheart. It's like having my own post-show personal driver. :-) Of course I would've gotten home sooner had I not taken the 4 the opposite direction by accident before I realized the error I'd made and (when I was already in Crown Heights) promptly got back on a Manhattan-bound 4 train.

As an addendum to this post, here are some pictures of the show, used by permission (thanks Rob). Check out the rest of the site for some more Go-Betweens photos (including some from a 1984 show in Ohio) as well as others of XTC (from the early '80s) and other artists as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home